One more centre to help children with dyslexia

One more centre to help children with dyslexia
A child playing with learning aids at the new Dyslexia Association of Singapore centre in Choa Chu Kang. Research has shown that intervention for dyslexia is more effective for children at a younger age.

SINGAPORE - A chat at a wedding dinner was all it took to get funds to build a centre to help children with dyslexia, a learning disorder that holds them back at school.

Mr Rajesh Malkani, head of Standard Chartered's private banking for South-east and North-east Asia, wrote out a cheque for $300,000 for building and furnishing the new centre in Choa Chu Kang.

This is the 13th such centre set up by the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS), and the first supported by an individual donor.

At its official launch by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday, Mr Malkani explained his generous donation.

"My mother taught me at a young age that it is important to give back to society," he said.

Mr Lee Siang, chief operating officer of the DAS Group, said international figures show that one in 10 people is dyslexic, with 4 per cent of the population suffering from severe dyslexia.

The 13 centres run by DAS, with funding from the Ministry of Education (MOE) and from well-wishers, have an enrolment of more than 2,600 children.

That represents only 13 per cent of the 20,000 primary and secondary school cohort with severe dyslexia.

Without early help to overcome their problem with reading, writing and comprehension, many end up in the Institute of Technical Education, or in schools for those who fail PSLE, such as NorthLight School, said Mr Lee.

But children from DAS centres are generally able to do well in mainstream schools. They attend training outside of school hours, as the centres around the island open after school till about 9pm, as well as on weekends.

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