Kids with learning disabilities: Different approaches needed

Having been a teacher in both mainstream and special education schools for the past decade, I agree with Dr Noel Chia Kok Hwee (" 'Normal' tuition harmful for kids with learning disabilities"; last Saturday) that private tutors may not possess the skills to teach children with learning disabilities.

The approach, strategies and instructions are different, depending on the needs and strengths of the child.

For example, children with autism require explicit instruction on what is expected of them, and visual supports are commonly used as teaching tools.

Also, classroom management may differ. Different approaches are required to address the needs of the child, depending on the severity of the disability.

For example, not all reading programmes in private tuition centres are suitable for children with dyslexia. As dyslexia is a reading disorder that impedes both writing and spelling, teachers need to have a sound knowledge of the different sub-types of the condition, so that the correct intervention strategies can be employed.

Some private tuition centres hire "special education teachers" with a number of years of teaching experience.

However, are these teachers equipped with the necessary content knowledge and skills to teach children with learning disabilities? Are they trained by a certified body, and do they possess the required qualifications to be special education teachers?

All these factors should be considered before parents enrol their children with learning disabilities for tuition classes or engage private tutors for them.

Arnold Chua Chee Keong

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