He can't see well, but he can do well

He can't see well, but he can do well
(From left) Dr Audrey Looi, an ophthalmologist at the Singapore National Eye Centre. with her son James Ang, Mary McPherson, a principal trainer, and Lee Lay Hong, a teacher at iC2 Prephouse on 29 November 2013.

SINGAPORE - At this year's PSLE science paper, James Ang, 12, was still busy writing away on his script when his other schoolmates had put down their pens.

The Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) pupil was given extra time to finish because he was diagnosed three years ago with Stargardt's macular dystrophy, a rare and incurable condition that limits his vision.

"I knew I could answer the questions, just that I had to be careful with my time. And I finished it with five minutes left," said James, who scored 245 in the PSLE and hopes to go to ACS Independent.

He has iC2 Prephouse to thank for his results. The charity, set up in October last year, helps young people with visual impairment prepare for life.

When he was diagnosed with the condition, his parents - both doctors - discovered that there were few groups here for young people like James.

"We even thought about moving abroad," said his mother Audrey Looi, 43, who is an ophthalmologist at the Singapore National Eye Centre.

But Dr Looi and her husband Ang Beng Ti, a neurosurgeon who works at the National Neuroscience Institute, decided to do something for young people like their son. They helped set up iC2 Prephouse, which has since worked with about 30 children and young people.

The centre - located in Jurong Point shopping centre - has two teachers who are trained in Braille instruction, and specialise in working with those who are visually impaired. Each session is conducted one-on-one with a teacher and costs $45. Subsidies are available for needy families.

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