Parents trained in special educational needs to learn about children's learning challenges
Madam Ong Yang-Li used to work in a bank, but she now holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Special Educational Needs.
The mother of 15-year-old triplets is one of the 63-strong cohort of graduates from the Dyslexia Association of Singapore's training arm, the DAS Academy, which focuses on training in special education needs.
Madam Ong, who is in her 40s, became interested in the field when she suspected her daughter might have learning challenges as she often struggled for words when she spoke.
Her daughter was eventually diagnosed with specific language impairment (SLI), a condition that interferes with one's ability to master languages.
Recounting her struggles as a parent, Madam Ong said: "People tell me I should just put her in the education system and say it's all about working hard. What they don't realise is that kids with special needs don't improve simply by working hard."
Her daughter is now in an international school.
Studying for her course also helped Madam Ong realised that one of her sons had a condition which affects his fine motor skills.
His condition, known as dyspraxia, is being managed with the help of his school. For example, he gets more time to complete his examinations.
Mr Philip Moo, a fellow special educational needs graduate in his 50s, agrees more awareness is needed as the current education system might not cater enough to children with special needs.
He said: "Singapore's education is good, but because it is rigorous, students with different learning styles and learning challenges can fall through the cracks.
"If their difficulties are not recognised, they can be deemed lazy or distracting, and peers or even teachers might make remarks that can be demoralising to the child."
The senior engineer has two sons, aged 24 and 13,with learning challenges. His older son received help from a specialist in Australia, where the family lived for a while.
The younger boy, who has SLI, recently sat the Primary School Leaving Examination and will continue to a local secondary school.
Mr Moo said: "I want to be equipped with the knowledge to observe him and to understand his behaviour. I've seen how this knowledge helped my older son so I want to do the same for my younger son."
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