Mar 8, 2012

Singapore - S$3.6m dyslexia programme for primary school students

SINGAPORE: The Education Ministry is piloting a S$3.6 million school-based dyslexia programme in 20 mainstream primary schools.

The programme will target Primary 3 pupils identified through a screening process by the end of Primary 2.

It's part of the ministry's efforts to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of special education.

Primary 3 student Lee Wei Jun had trouble understanding what he was reading because there were a lot of words he could not decipher.

Late last year, he was assessed to be dyslexic. But he is now improving, thanks to a special class taught by an Allied Educator, who's helping him visualise what he is reading.

The lessons, conducted four times a week outside school hours, are part of the school-based pilot programme.

Previously, students with dyslexia who needed more help could go for extra classes conducted by the Dyslexia Association of Singapore. But the Education Ministry said many of the younger students have found it difficult to travel to these centres for special classes outside of school hours.

Ms Junainah Sadar, Allied Educator (Learning & Behavioral Support), Greenridge Primary School, said: "There's a close partnership between parents, teachers and us because it's school-based itself, so the level of communication is very tight."

The ministry will also streamline the application process for SPED schools by setting up a Multi-Agency Advisory Panel.

The panel will develop a standard application process for all 20 such schools.

"With the standard application process, parents would not have to make multiple applications to different SPED schools - only one will be required," said Senior Parliamentary Secretary Sim Ann.

Some 1,500 SPED students are expected to benefit from more financial assistance, up from 600 previously.

The household income ceiling of the SPED Financial Assistance Scheme will be raised from S$1,500 to S$2,500. 

It will also use a per capita income of S$625 as a parallel assessment criterion.

And with the recent announcement to extend the Special Employment Credit to SPED graduates, Ms Sim said the ministry will also focus on more ways to prepare these students for future employment.

- CNA/cc 

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