With the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the organisation has hopes to further boost the already increasing awareness of dyslexia in Singapore, with Chief Executive Officer Mr Lee Siang stating that much more can still be done.
The DAS started out in 1991 with just twelve students under one teacher. By 1993, DAS had established their first Learning Centre was set up at the Student Care Services Centre in Clementi. Today, the organisation has grown to encompass thirteen centres across the island, where 152 therapists cater to 3,012 students as of 2015.
The main literacy programme by DAS is co-funded by the Ministry of Education (MOE). Dyslexic people tend to face difficulties reading and writing, and DAS classes aim to improve their literacy skills for children with dyslexia.
Overall, there has been a steady increase in the number of children coming forward for screening exercises for dyslexia. Mr Lee noted that 135 pre-schoolers were screened in 2013, to 268 in 2014 and to 280 in 2015. Out of those screened, around half of the group each year were accurately diagnosed to have dyslexia.
Yet, Mr Lee states that based on the estimate that four per cent of any population is likely to have dyslexia, at least 4000 pre-schoolers actually require treatment for it each year. “We are still at the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
Moving forward, the DAS aims to continue raising awareness with campaigns targeting both young and old, such as Embrace Dyslexia in 2014, where DAS called for dyslexia-friendly workplaces for adults with dyslexia. By working concurrently with MOE as well as parents, DAS seeks to carry out increased screenings for dyslexia in schools to enable early diagnosis and intervention.