When talking with Singaporean parents, the conversation inevitably turns to the importance of education.

In fact, education is so highly valued in Singaporean culture that parents in Singapore spend twice the global average on their children’s education — according to research by HSBC.

This enormous focus on education impacts how learning challenges like dyslexia are viewed in Singapore.      

In this article, we share an overview of how dyslexia is viewed in Singapore before touching on how specialised teaching approaches help children with dyslexia overcome their learning difficulties. 


Dyslexia in Singapore     

As in many other countries, dyslexia isn’t widely understood in Singapore — even though up to 10% of Singaporeans have dyslexia. Children with dyslexia experience difficulty processing letters and the sounds of words, creating challenges with reading, spelling and written expression. But as dyslexia has nothing to do with a child’s intelligence, parents and teachers often mistakenly attribute dyslexia-related learning challenges to laziness. 

Another issue is that dyslexia is still stigmatised in Singapore, leading parents and children to avoid seeking a dyslexia diagnosis out of fear of discovering that their child requires specialised learning assistance. 

While dyslexia presents many struggles, it is far from being a disability and this condition can be more accurately viewed as a learning difference. After all, having dyslexia is linked to stronger causal reasoning and abstract thinking. And there are many successful people with dyslexia, such as former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, and director Steven Spielberg.

The problem is that children with dyslexia don’t outgrow their learning condition and without proper support, children with dyslexia typically end up falling behind their peers academically. Along with academic strain, this can lead to social and emotional difficulties like low self-esteem, anxiety and depression — as revealed by a study of Singaporean students with dyslexia

Another reason to intervene in your child’s learning is that the earlier children with dyslexia receive help, the more easily they can overcome their difficulties. This is because a child’s brain plasticity decreases as they mature, affecting how quickly they adapt to change. Brain plasticity has such a powerful impact on dyslexia-related learning outcomes that it takes four times as long to intervene in primary four grade as it does in late kindergarten.

How Singaporean Schools Approach Dyslexia

While the Singaporean education system has taken great strides to accommodate dyslexic learners, a recent doctoral thesis published by the University of London reveals that mainstream schools aren’t able to offer the support that children with dyslexia need to overcome their challenges. This is partly because most teachers don’t have the expertise to teach in a way that favours how people with dyslexia process information.

From getting an early dyslexia diagnosis to finding expert educational support, many Singaporean parents have to look beyond mainstream schools to help their children catch up, and keep up, with their peers. Fortunately, many specialised educational centres teach children with dyslexia. Unlike mainstream schools, these centres use tailored teaching materials and dyslexia-specific strategies such as the Orton-Gillingham Approach. These approaches are key to unlocking the learning potential of children with dyslexia.


How to Help Your Child Overcome Dyslexia

If you suspect your child might have dyslexia, then seek a professional diagnosis. Along with a diagnosis, dyslexia assessment providers can also offer guidance to help your child overcome their dyslexia-related learning challenges. 

In Singapore, parents can receive a dyslexia assessment from a Ministry of Education psychologist or from educational psychologists at private clinics and specialised learning centres. At Thomson Kids, we offer both accurate dyslexia assessments and effective instruction for children with dyslexia. 

Want to learn more about dyslexia in Singapore?

We’ve written a guide to help parents understand dyslexia and how early learning interventions impact the educational journey of children with dyslexia. In the Singaporean Parent’s Guide to Early Dyslexia Learning Interventions, we unpack:

  • The signs of dyslexia
  • How dyslexia diagnosis impact early learning 
  • Where to test your child for dyslexia
  • How specialised schools help children with dyslexia
  • Tips on talking to your child about dyslexia
Read it here.  
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