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Train Teachers To Identify Dyslexic Children, says Fatimah

on 02 November 2009.

Train Teachers To Identify Dyslexic Children, says Fatimah

KUCHING: The Dyslexia Association Sarawak (DASwk) is advised to work together with the Education Department to train teachers to  identify dyslexic children so as to provide proper intervention.

 

 
IT’S OPEN: Fatimah signs the Dyslexia Association Sarawak Learning and Resource Centre plaque witnessed by (from left) Hasidah and Dr Ong.

Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Human Resource and Training), Datin Fatimah Abdullah urged the association to equip teachers with skills or knowledge to enable them to recognise common signs of dyslexic children who are different from slow learners children.

Children with dyslexia are known to have a disability in reading and writing and as a result, their academic performance was severely affected, she said.

“I must stress that the education authorities plan an important role in providing the appropriate identification and remedial programmes to children with dyslexia in schools so that the problem can be arrested at an early stage,” said Fatimah.

A recent research by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) revealed that one to three students in a class of 50 might be at risk for dyslexia in schools.

Teachers or parents, for lack of understanding of dyslexia, often attribute this inability to being slow learner, inattentiveness or worse, due to the child’s laziness, she said.

Fatimah, who is also the association’s advisor, added that it is important to know that problems with language can be overcome by using a multi-sensory approach, using all pathway of learning (seeing, hearing, touching, writing and speaking) has proven to be effective.

She said that research has shown that the earlier this condition is intervened, the more effective will the intervention efforts.

Among the successful dyslexics were Alexander Graham Bell, Leornado da Vinci and Tom Cruise, she said.

She felt that it is crucial for specific modules in pre-services and in-service training so as to equip teachers with the knowledge and skills to handle dyslexia among students.

“Lack of awareness, ignorance and lack of understanding of dyslexia can cause those inflicted to be marginalised and become subjects of scorn and ridicule.

“Victims, especially children can either suffer silently, or withdraw into their quiet enclaves, or at the other extreme, become discipline problem,” she pointed out at the opening of the DASwak Learning and Resource Centre launching yesterday.

She added that various studies done in other countries have shown the significantly higher prevalence rate of illiteracy among prisoners, including juvenile delinquents.

A 2005 study in United Kingdom showed that 80 per cent of prisoners have poor writing skills, 50 per cent have reading difficulties and 65 per cent have trouble with numeracy.

Preliminary result from a research being conducted by the Unimas Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences show that a similar situation also exists among our young prisoners aged between 18 to 24 years old in a prison school (Sekolah Integrity), she said.

“Consider the serious implications, if the number of unresolved dyslexia cases is large,” said Fatimah.

Meanwhile, Fatimah also thanked the State Education director Datu Dr Julaihi Bujang and his team at the Special Education Unit in granting approval for affected students to follow a three-month intervention programme at the centre.

Association president Dr Ong Puay Hoon on the other hand, hopes that the centre will grow into a reference point for the assessment, diagnosis, intervention and support of children and other individuals

affected with dyslexia in the State.

“We aim for the centre to be the disseminating point of materials related to dyslexia and the training or attachment venue for teachers and parents.

“We want this centre to be top in research and to have the latest database of dyslexia-related information and statistics in the State,” said Dr Ong.

Also present at the launching were Semariang assemblywoman Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali and organising chairperson Richard Sia.

The Dyslexia Association Sarawak Learning and Resource Centre is located at Lorong Maxwell 2, Jalan Maxwell.

News Taken From : The Borneo Post Online, Saturday, October 31st, 2009

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