Home-based learning a boon for some dyslexic kids
Her son Karn, who has dyslexia, used to write inverted letters and numbers and was not able to read a book on his own.
As a result, Ms Nisha Varman's six-year-old had low self-esteem. He even resorted to stabbing his hands with a pencil on his first day of class at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) at the beginning of the year.
But after his pre-school early intervention programme with DAS moved online from April to July because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Karn started to read books independently for three hours a day and was successfully able to write.
Ms Varman, 41, told The New Paper: "Home-based learning was the turning point for Karn in his success."
Ms Geetha Shantha Ram, director of English language and literacy division at DAS, said online learning is "highly complementary" to the teaching of dyslexic children, as technology helps to stimulate a natural inclination towards multi-sensory learning and improves their attention span.
"So when they come for the next lesson, they are more familiar with the content, less reviews are necessary and we can dive into new content which increases the rate of progress," she added.
Ms Ram, 40, explained that with the right online resources, the children are able to see that they are independent and capable of managing tasks.
Another parent, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Chia, 44, said her dyslexic son Lucas, improved in his inference skills after being exposed to day-to-day scenarios at home while being engaged in online learning.
Mrs Chia, a civil servant, said: "His vocabulary has improved, and it helps him become familiar with different situations.
"I learnt that it's more about exposure to experiences that helps you grow your language."
Psychologist Sara Joseph, 39, and programme supervisor Belinda Flores, 43, from Autism Recovery Network, a special education school, said that online learning helped the children maintain their skills to prevent regression.
"For high-functioning kids, we could increase their skill level and some got better at describing a picture, adding one or two more sentences," they said.
"When we teach kids, we want them to maintain and generalise their skills so they should display what they have learnt in different places and situations.
"Online learning has helped them generalise some skills."
Ms Loh Hui Ling, a clinical director at ABC Center Singapore, an early intervention centre, said that despite the change in routine and learning environment, the children have improved in their behavioural and communication skills.
"The experience gave them a new learning opportunity, where they've successfully adapted, and with future teaching, the generalisation of skills will be transferred much faster and easier."