TOGETHER WE EMBRACE DYSLEXIA TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE LEARNING DIFFERENCES WITH THE HELP OF DAS
1. What will or has DAS been doing / done to raise awareness around Singapore? In schools, in universities in the work place?
DAS has an Outreach Team that actively engages schools and the public in Singapore through awareness talks and exhibits, helping them to better understand dyslexia and associated learning differences. The team also shares about the various programmes and services of DAS that may be helpful to students, parents and teachers.
Besides the outreach efforts to schools, DAS also has an ongoing campaign called “Embrace Dyslexia” that encourages the public not to focus on the challenges faced by those with dyslexia, but on their strengths and how we can help develop their strengths – thus accepting and embracing dyslexia. The campaign was launched in November 2014 with an Embrace Dyslexia Dinner and Seminar. Besides DAS speakers, internationally renowned writer, Mr Thomas West, who champions the strengths of people with dyslexia, was an invited guest speaker at the event.
DAS has also been building its student alumni network in recent years. The alumni have several members who actively participate in DAS activities through sharing of their experiences with current students. Through the alumni, DAS hopes to continue to offer support to our students after they leave DAS and also provides new students with dyslexia entering post-secondary education with buddies and mentors.
2. Does the 2015 Dyslexia Awareness Week have a theme? (If so) Why this chosen theme and what are the key areas to note?
DAS launched the ‘Embrace Dyslexia’ campaign in 2014 and this will carry on in 2015. This November, DAS will be launching a book titled “Embrace a Different Kind of Mind: Personal Stories of Dyslexia”, which consists of more than 50 stories of people with dyslexia including a story of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew. This book addresses the challenges that people with dyslexia face and highlights their success in overcoming this learning difference.
Besides the book launch, DAS will be embarking on a Facebook photo competition titled ‘DASHUGS’. This online competition will be a fun and engaging project with the objective of raising awareness about dyslexia and encouraging the public to ’embrace’ the differences and the strengths of people with dyslexia.
For more details of Embrace Dyslexia and DASHUGS, please click HERE
3. Why is Embrace Dyslexia important?
DAS encourages Singapore to join us in the ‘Embrace Dyslexia’ campaign because people with dyslexia need the support, encouragement and the “embrace” of everyone around them. This includes family members, colleagues and classmates.
It is important to recognise and focus on the strengths of people with dyslexia and at the same time, understand and accept their differences. This is in line with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s message in
2014 on building a fair and inclusive society in Singapore. Mr Lee had outlined how the Government plans to execute its vision of a “fair and inclusive society, where every citizen has a rightful place and the opportunity to fulfill his or her aspirations”. (Source: Channel Newsasia)
People with dyslexia must also be included in all aspects of our society. Mr Ng Chee Meng, the Acting Minister for Education (Schools), has also said in his first official address on 16 October 2015 that “But I know that if we help our children understand their strengths and develop their innate skills, they will succeed”. (Source: Channel Newsasia)
This reflects the message of Embrace Dyslexia – Embracing the innate strengths of people with dyslexia.
Thank you to Lee Siang, CEO of Dyslexia Association of Singapore for this interview opportunity.