If your child isn’t performing well in school, dyslexia isn’t usually the first reason that comes into a parent’s mind.

After all, they may appear healthy and normal on the outside. All we may see is them exhibiting a lack of interest and inability to focus in school. As parents, we may assume that these characteristics are due to laziness or being easily distracted. 

However, it’s important to note that learning difficulties such as dyslexia are a hidden handicap. Most of the time, a child may not exhibit any physical symptoms. 

As such, getting your child assessed for dyslexia may be a crucial first step to understanding why he or she is falling behind academically. 

Here’s a guide to seeking dyslexia assessment in Singapore, including why it's important, when it should be done, assessment services available and tips for helping your child cope at school. 

What is dyslexia and what are some signs to look out for?

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Dyslexia is a learning disability, and children with dyslexia face specific learning difficulties relating to reading skills and writing

Dyslexic children struggle with orthographic and phonological processing. This means that they are unable to form alphabet letters and letter sequences, and can’t link sounds to the letter symbols they represent. 

Children with dyslexia may also have problems with working memory - the ability to hold information mentally over short periods of time. This impacts their reading and written language, as working memory is what enables us to spell and connect ideas in written text.

Whilst dyslexia impacts each child differently, here are some general symptoms that you may want to look out for. 

  • Reading well below the expected level for their age or grade
  • The inability to sound out the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word
  • Difficulties in finding the right word or forming answers to questions
  • Difficulties remembering and understanding text passages
  • Making numerous spelling errors on essays and open-ended questions

When should I be seeking an assessment? 

Although dyslexia is a lifelong learning disability, early dyslexia testing can help ensure your child gets the support they need to cope well in school and beyond. 

According to most experts, children should be assessed for dyslexia as early as possible - preferably before they enter primary school. 

 In fact, children can be diagnosed with dyslexia well before they turn seven or eight, especially if they have struggled with the ability to read and spelling for an extended period.

With early assessment, parents can take advantage of  ‘neuroplasticity’ - the ability of the brain to alter and reorganize itself based on experience. Brain plasticity is especially prominent during the early years, so this ‘window period’ should be used to seek help for dyslexic children. 

If children are only assessed after entering primary school, they may already suffer negative consequences, including 

  • Falling behind in lessons
  • Low-esteem
  • Behavioral issues
  • Depression and anxiety 
  • Withdrawal from friends, parents and teachers.

Early assessment ensures support is provided as soon as possible. At the early stage, intervention is typically centered around building foundation skills for successful literacy learning.

Where can I get my child assessed for dyslexia? 

Assessment services are usually done in private clinics like Thomson Kids, which helps children with learning difficulties maximise their potential.  The assessment will be made by registered psychologists who are knowledgeable about the condition.  

The psychological assessment will involve standardised tests to help identify your child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Areas of assessment include:

  • Intelligence
  • Reading comprehension
  • Phonological skills
  • Writing
  • Math
  • Attention
  • Language. 

Detailed information will also be gathered about your child’s development, behaviour and learning, especially in school. After which, a psychological report will be produced, along with recommendations on suitable interventions.  

How children with dyslexia can be supported 

Whilst getting assessed is a good starting point, parents also need to work with psychologists, educational therapists and teachers to support children with dyslexia. 

At Thomson Kids, our team will work with you to address your child’s unique learning needs. We’ll help them learn and develop their listening, oracy, reading and writing skills.

This starts with highly experienced diagnostic clinicians who can properly assess your child. 

After which, the right regime of support and educational interventions will be administered according to your child’s needs. 

Your child will also be placed in a specialised teaching environment, with research-based teaching methods and curriculum developed by our expert team. We also use tried-and-tested approaches like the Orton Gillingham method - which educates kids on the connections between letters and sounds.

Find out more about Thomson Kids and our assessment services here

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