Helping dyslexic students with role-playing games
What does Dungeons & Dragons have to do with dyslexia?
In a quiet corner of Bishan, students with learning disabilities are being taught English using role-playing games (RPG).
Last year, Mr Shaun Low, 30, a former educational therapist at Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS), started Swords & Stationery (S&S), a specialist educational therapy programme because he believes such children learn best with a visual learning approach.
He explained that as RPGs are played visually and require improvisation of stories, they can be used to map out language concepts or teach narrative writing.
Almost all the 14 children, aged nine to 17, that Mr Low tutors at S&S have dyslexia. All have some form of learning disability, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder.
Mr Low said: "Standard schools focus heavily on rote learning and have tests that peg everybody to the same level. Some students who have cognitive deficits or even fine motor issues like handwriting problems might be left behind as they do not take too well to that approach."
Madam Julia Tan, 56, said her son Shawn Heng, 18, a second-year electrical engineering student at Institute of Technical Education, improved tremendously after four years of tutoring from Mr Low at DAS.
She said: "My son was able to overcome a lot of difficulties in grammar structure and his pronunciation improved. Unlike other teachers, Shaun emphasises to his students the purpose of doing activities like quizzes and games."
Mr Low, who has a bachelor of economics degree from the National University of Singapore, got into gaming in university.
He plans to introduce such games to the general public.
Of the students, Mr Low said: "I tell them to leave their baggage outside the moment they step in, and that I'll do anything within my means to help them improve."