“Shane is my third child, so when I observed that he did not speak by age 2.5 years, could not point at anything, would not look me in the eyes or anyone else in our family, I found his behaviour weird. From age 2, he would always be lying down on his side and lining up trains in a straight line then staring at these trains from the corner of his eye. Such inappropriate play habits were a concern for me, but my biggest worry was "why can't my child say a word?"
I took Shane to see Ms Frances for consultation in May 2017 when he was two and a half years old. At that age, Shane would often have meltdowns in his behaviour in which I could not control him and he was unable to communicate with us family members, so it was a very frustrating experience for both parent and child. Ms Frances advised me to start early intervention programs for Shane to help and support his learning disability. It was apparent to me that my child didn't learn as a regular kid would, as he didn't respond to my efforts to teach him as I did with my older two kids. From the consultation, I was informed that Shane's behaviour was reasonable for one to suspect that he has ASD and/or ADHD. I needed help and was not shy to ask. I decided not to pursue ASD diagnosis then, but instead to just focus efforts on early intervention programs. We tried several EIP centres and special education childcare centres to find the appropriate learning environment for Shane. Ms Frances also recommended speech therapy as a key foundation for Shane's development. After lots of trial and error, switching EIP centres and speech therapists every few months, we finally found an EIP centre and speech therapist that suited Shane best - he had a rapport with his teachers and speech therapist, and they opened the doors to Shane's steadfast learning journey.
Ms Frances told me during our first consultation that a child's brain absorbs a tremendous amount during age 3-6, so "let's not waste time" - that was the best advice to encourage me to just focus on getting learning support for Shane and give him time to develop at his own pace with the right learning stimulus. Now at age 6, he is a chatty boy who is slowly but surely catching up with his peers on various development milestones. As a family, we need to continue to provide him with learning support for the long haul - this is a marathon no doubt, but we are confident that he will grow up to lead an independent life contributing to society in his own way."
“Heartfelt thanks for all you’ve done for my daughter’s life. We have seen gradual improvements and how she is trying her level best to realign herself again. She’s taking these steps voluntarily, but I know you are the key reason she is able to put in a lot of effort to bring herself up again. Our highest gratitude and appreciation. We are so grateful for you being there all the way, for our kind support and professionalism. Kudos Ms Frances!"
“I have two boys who were diagnosed with ASD and they are in mainstream school. They have been seeing Ms Frances for several years. Throughout the years, she has given us useful suggestions on how to deal with their learning and behavioural issues in school. With her help, the boys have been coping well and happy in mainstream.”
“I couldn’t read or understand much which affected my spelling. Whenever I had a composition exam, I couldn’t write anything. I would have a ton of great ideas but would not be able to pen it down. Ms Xin Ying’s lessons made it easier to remember how to spell certain words. I can read much better and faster now thanks to the flashcards (card drill) Ms Xin Ying made us do every lesson. Also, other than teaching using worksheets alone, Ms Xin Ying would include games like Kahoot! and reward us with sweets or little gifts whenever we got it right.”
“When Shoshanna was in K2, we sent her for English enrichment class as her teacher expressed concern that she isn’t quite on par with her peers. Through that, we found that her progress was slow and sent her for a psychological assessment. After we found out she is dyslexic, we got remediation right away. I strongly believe it is important for the child not to be affected by their challenges during their schooling journey; it isn’t about grades but their confidence and emotional well-being.
Many times, Shoshanna would struggle to write her composition, then I would need to hold her hand down on the table to make her write (instead of leaving the table). At times, we sat there for 2 to 3 hours to get it done. It makes her sad and me frustrated—why can’t she just “do it”? Gradually, I begin to understand her struggle through her teachers’ advice—encouragement is much more effective than pushing her blindly and hoping she can be just like any other kid.
With Ms Xin Ying’s lessons, she blossomed. She started reading more, such as comics related to science, which also improved her science grades. That slowly encouraged her to explore a wider range of books and developed her love of reading.”
“I didn't find out I had dyslexia till I was Primary 5 and did a test. Before that, I didn’t even know what dyslexia was. I also have ADHD, which was discovered earlier, around kindergarten, because my teacher suspected I had that. Due to my ADHD, I had strong impulses and they were stronger if there were underlying emotions—they were really hard to control. I did whatever I wanted, without thinking. I get very distracted very easily, even if it’s a faint click in the room. I would stop everything I was doing. And I am also extremely forgetful. For me, a little stress helps me get in the mood to focus. When I started going for Ms Xin Ying’s class, I learnt how I can make myself understand how to read. Since then, I’ve been practising phonics and morphology and the other comprehension and writing strategies she taught.”
“I found out that I am dyslexic through my former English tuition teacher when I was in Secondary 2. My mother often finds it incredibly frustrating that I could not get the spelling of the words correct, even after much practice memorising it. However, thanks to Ms Xin Ying's guidance, my spelling has improved by leaps and bounds. In fact, not only did my spelling improve, so did my reading. Now, I am not only able to read much quicker than before but with greater clarity too. What I enjoy the most during her lesson is how she makes learning fun. In many of her classes, she would incorporate many different small and fun activities to keep us engaged, making her lessons extremely enjoyable. In one of her lessons, she even had us baking cookies while teaching us writing concepts.”
“My frustrations as a dyslexic were mostly about not being able to read as fast and proficiently as everyone else in my class. I continuously would think that I was, and were, always going to be 2 steps behind my classmates and that I would never be able to catch up or even be lucky enough to be on the same level as them.
I absolutely despised learning and reading. But when I first started going to class (with Ms Xin Ying as my teacher), to my surprise, lessons were actually extraordinarily fun. I thought it was going to be like any other “tuition lesson” but I could not believe how wrong I had been. I was finally able to learn in ways I could understand. We played learning games, instead of memorising how words sound by looking at a piece of paper, we had cards with different types of letters and rules, which, in my opinion, made learning so much easier. We also had little tricks, for example, a mnemonic to spell ‘because’. I found it quite difficult to spell in general, but that word in particular was definitely really hard for me to spell. So I was taught this mnemonic, “Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants”. I still to this day, use the method without a doubt.
I had very much enjoyed every lesson I had with Ms Xin Ying. Her lessons made me love learning. It showed me that learning and understanding things doesn’t always mean looking at a page full of words and trying to find out how they would sound like and what they would mean, I now know learning (if you have the right teacher) can really help you progress. I went from not being able to read at all, to being able to get an ‘A’ in English. She gave me hope in a time in my life when I was very sad in school and she has instilled in me a love for reading and storytelling. She made me believe in myself when other teachers I felt had given up. For that, I will forever be grateful to Ms Xin Ying."
“We were unaware that Aysha had dyslexia until she started P1. As a child, she didn’t give us any reasons to cause concern as she had met her developmental milestones (was quick in learning how to talk / walk). She was quick to make friends, sociable and didn’t demonstrate any signs of having a learning difficulty or any developmental obstacles.
Within the first 2 weeks of starting primary school, her school contacted us to inform us that Aysha’s reading proficiency was not on par with her classmates. She then embarked on extra reading classes in the form of extra learning support. She was finding it a struggle to read and keep up with her school work. The extra support within the school helped her and she was moved into smaller classes for Maths and English. Her school encouraged us to seek a formal assessment and explained that if she does have a learning difficulty, then early intervention is crucial to help equip her with the necessary tools to be able to cope and keep up with the rigour of learning.
Aysha couldn’t understand / follow what was happening in class. Her teachers were as supportive as they could be, but given that her class size was 40 students it was getting increasingly harder for Aysha to cope with the pace of learning as her reading was holding her back. In Maths, she was struggling to gain marks as the wordy problem questions were difficult to grasp. She wasn’t scoring in Maths not because she couldn’t do Maths or numbers but because of her limited ability to read and understand words.
The frustrations were purely on a personal level for Aysha . Her confidence and morale was deeply affected--she desperately wanted to be gaining full marks in her English weekly spellings like the rest of her classmates. There was always lots of tears and anxiety before tests and exams and she felt like she would never be able to read proficiently and therefore will always be “slow”. She became uninterested in books and reading in general as she associated it as something she could not do.
Under the guidance, support and dedication of Ms Xin Ying, Aysha is now a proficient reader and an avid story teller (and even chose debate as a school CCA—never would I have imagined this!). She now enjoys going to the library to pick out new books to read! This is a testament to Ms Xin Ying‘s relentless, selfless teaching, and her patience and belief in her students in a time when they have lost their faith in themselves and their abilities.”
I am extremely grateful to Frances for helping my child in a critical year of her life (pre PSLE). I approached Frances for help because my child was showing a lack of motivation for school and interest in social interactions. It made for a fraught relationship as I found myself pushing her hard in the name of tough love. Frances firstly helped eliminate concerns around clinical conditions and then proceeded to peel the onion for us on how my child perceives the world and processes information. It was an eye opener and a big point of reflection for me to finally "get" what my child was going through and how the way I "motivated" her was doing more harm than good. From there, Frances gave me advice and tips that allowed me to fundamentally change how I communicated with my child - i.e. knowing to read patterns on when she is receptive and when to hold back. This window of insight has done wonders for our relationship and more importantly, allowed me to help my child build her confidence. I found myself being more at ease with her (and she with me). I did not realize how powerful the change was though, until she got her PSLE results - and she far exceeded our wildest expectations by a mile. In a way, she surprised herself too. And this has in turn fostered a change in self confidence and I am looking forward to seeing my child continue to blossom and find herself in the coming years. For all these, I have Frances to thank - she is not fazed by how difficult the child can be during the sessions, she is methodical and is able to translate things in a way so a parent can take very practical steps to help their child along.