Family support yek (key) in beating dyslexia

Family support yek (key) in beating dyslexia
Achievers: Teo Heng Soon (second from left), 16, with his brother, Mr Teo Heng Hao, 24, and their parents, Mr Teo Chiang Wee and Mrs Lynne Teo.

SINGAPORE - Teo Heng Soon could tell his left hand from his right only when he was in primary school.

And he was able to recall the months of the year in the right order only when he was in Seconday 2.

But now at 16, he is about to take his O levels as an express stream student. He is also eloquent, active and is captain of his school's dance team.

He managed all this after overcoming the challenges of dyslexia through sheer determination and strong family support.

His achievement has won him the Dyslexic Association of Singapore's (DAS) Young Achievers Award this year.

The award, sponsored by OCBC Bank, comes with a $5,000 scholarship.

Dyslexia is a developmental reading disorder. Dyslexics find it harder to learn to read and understand what they read despite them having normal or above-average intelligence.

Heng Soon's parents, company director Teo Chiang Wee and housewife Lynne Teo, both 53, have another dyslexic son who also beat the odds.

Their second son, Mr Teo Heng Hao, 24, is studying in Australia. He, too, beat the condition to win the inaugural Young Achievers Award in 2011.

While Mr Teo struggled until Sec 3 before his dyslexia was diagnosed, Heng Soon, the youngest of four sons, was fortunate as his condition was confirmed when he was nine.

Mrs Teo said her "antennae shot up" when Heng Soon was unable to read or write by Primary 1. By the time he was in Primary 3, she was certain he had dyslexia and she sought help from the DAS, which trains dyslexic children through multi-sensory teaching.

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