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The Asia Pacific Journal of Developmental Differences is the first Journal launched by DAS in 2013. The Journal addresses a range of special educational needs including dyslexia, autism, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, and ADHD in the Asian Pacific context. Download a copy here.



Current Projects



1. Arithmetic abilities and phonological processing


Some studies have found that arithmetic performance to be linked to phonological processing abilities. This study aims to examine this relationship and also other abilities that might be related to arithmetic performance.


2. Predictors of Reading Comprehension Ability amongst Singapore Children


This study aims to compare the predictors of reading comprehension ability between Singapore children with and without dyslexia.


3. Emotional Literacy of Students with Specific Learning Differences


Emotional Literacy is the ability to recognise, understand, handle and appropriately express emotions; and to recognise and respond appropriately to the emotions of others. We hope to gather important information that would help us formulate ways to help children found with difficulties in emotional literacy develop in this aspect.



Past Projects


1. Dyslexia-Friendly Survey in Singapore – Students' views on factors critical for learning


(Poster presentation at the BDA and IDA conferences in 2008, winner of Best Poster award at the BDA conference)


By 2010, every primary school in Singapore would have at least one special needs officer dedicated to make mainstream teaching more dyslexia friendly. This move toward inclusive education may be enhanced by examining the views of students with dyslexia. Thus, 337 primary school students undergoing remediation at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore were surveyed to explore the factors which hinder or facilitate their learning effectively in the mainstream classroom. Findings indicate that teachers’ positive attitudes, mode of delivery, and use of varied teaching material and methods were considered useful. Students’ need for extra time and assistive technologies were also deemed as important accommodations in their learning.


2. Who benefits from remediation? Dyslexia in a multi-lingual society: Profile of dyslexic students in Singapore


(Poster presentation at the BDA and IDA conferences in 2008)


This study is novel in that it provides some information on who is likely to benefit from specialist remediation, particularly in the multi-lingual context. We demonstrate here that the earlier the age of remediation, the greater the likelihood of improvement in literacy. This is in line with current belief that early intervention is beneficial for a dyslexic student. It also reinforces the need to identify those at risk of learning difficulties as early as possible.

In addition, the results indicate that not all dyslexic students seem to benefit from remediation equally. Those with poor reading and spelling attainment levels at entry seem to benefit more than those who enter with average to above average attainments. This in turn suggests that dyslexic students with average to above average reading and spelling attainment levels may face difficulties improving their scores beyond a “personal ceiling”. Perhaps for this group of dyslexic students, it may be more important to consider improvements in other aspects of their literacy development, such as in writing, as a gauge of successful remediation.


3. Dyslexia and Multilingualism in Children


(Poster presentation at The DAS International Conference in November 2010 and IDA conference in October 2010)


This project aims to examine the learning patterns and response to intervention of 394 children with dyslexia from different language backgrounds. This would enable further support of their learning needs. This survey investigated the general cognitive and literacy profile of dyslexic students inSingapore, the impact of their different levels of language proficiency on their literacy development/weaknesses, and the effects of age-of-entry into specialist intervention classes. Results demonstrate the effects of language on the response to intervention across various measures of literacy and the effects of early intervention in the multilingual sample. Implications for multilingual assessment and intervention will be discussed.


4. The computerised-based Lucid Rapid Dyslexia Screening for the identification of children at risk of dyslexia: A Singapore study

(Published in The British Psychological Society Journal 2011)


The Lucid Rapid Dyslexia Screening (Lucid Rapid) is a computer based screening tool developed in the United Kingdom (UK). The Lucid Rapid was first used in May 2009 to screen children potentially at risk of dyslexia at the various awareness talks and open houses organised by the DAS. The use of the Lucid Rapid has been expanded to include mass screenings of children in schools.


Exploratory study of the applicability of the Lucid Rapid for children in Singapore was conducted at the DAS in 2010. Results of the study were encouraging and imply the inherent usefulness of the Lucid Rapid in identifying children with dyslexia and literacy difficulties. It has proven to be an effective tool in raising awareness of dyslexia in Singapore as well as providing opportunities for informed discussions with parents about their children’s learning difficulties.


The article was published in the special edition of The Educational & Child Psychology on computerised approaches to assessment published by The British Psychological Society. Volume 28 Number 2, 2011, Page 33 – 51.


5. Voice of a Dyslexic Child


Learners with dyslexia have difficulties in reading and writing. In Singapore there are about 20,000 primary and secondary school learners with dyslexia. This paper presents research findings on the perceptions and feelings of primary school learners with dyslexia in Singapore regarding their learning of school subjects through English, together with how they use strategies to overcome some difficulties.


6. Using oral language therapy interventions to improve outcomes for students with dyslexia 


(Presented at The DAS International Conference in November 2010)


This study reviews the Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) programme which has been introduced by the DAS as a way to provide the “missing piece” for many children who have multiple factors affecting their reading development. It focuses on the types of support that SLT can provide and examines its impact on the progress of primary school children identified with dyslexia and language delay.

7. Predictors of Reading Comprehension Ability amongst Singapore Children

(Presented at the IDA conference in October 2013)

This study investigated the differences in the factors that affect reading comprehension among children who use English as a first language (EL1) and those who use English as a second language (ESL). Profiles of more than 400 Singaporean dyslexic children with different backgrounds were examined. The results showed that underlying predictors of reading comprehension concentrated on measures of language and decoding, although there were differences across language backgrounds in terms of the influence of rapid naming. This study gives insight into the factors that affect higher-order literacy skills in a multi-lingual population. Implications for intervention will be discussed.

8. Hypersmart Kids: a Case Study on the Response of Students with Dyslexia and ADHD to Educational Software Games in English Language Learning

There is an estimated thirty percent of children with specific learning differences-dyslexia who also have attention difficulties. Supporting dyslexic students who have literacy difficulties and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be very challenging for teachers. Research suggests that the integration of assistive technologies in special education classrooms can help provide the support these children require in language learning. With the rise in popularity of Facebook and Apple iPads, children are now more immersed in gaming and connectivity than before. This research will aim to answer questions on how primary school-aged students diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD respond to the use of computer games in teaching. Conducted in multilingual Singapore, a case study research was carried out across two school terms to measure the reading and spelling abilities and self-esteem levels in the students before and after the use of assistive technology software. A variety of softwares with an established phonics instruction were used, including Nessy Learning Programme and Wordshark. The findings will help determine if assistive technologies play a role in motivating students with ADHD to stay on task, thereby improving their reading and spelling accuracy and knowledge of sight words.

9. Dyslexia and the Chinese Language in Singapore

Dyslexia is a language-based learning difficulty that varies across different languages with diversified writing systems (Comeau, Cormier, Grandmaison & Lacroix, 1999; McBride-Chang, 2011; Koda, 2011). Most studies on dyslexia have been done with relation to the English language, but there is still no widely accepted theory or intervention for dyslexia in the Chinese language (Ho & Lai, 1999; Ho & Ma, 1999; Yin, & Weekes, 2004; Ho, Chan, Lee, Tsang & Luan, 2004; Meng et al., 2005; Brunswick, 2010; Su, Klingebiel & Weekes, 2010). Singapore’s bilingual education policy has put many of our Chinese children in a very unique environment in learning at least two languages of different orthographies and sound-symbol mapping systems (Zhang & Liu, 2005; 刘, 吴 & 张, 2006; 刘& 赵, 2007; Lee, 2012). The interest in understanding the differences as well as exploring the difficulties in learning Chinese as a second language with the presence of dyslexia has resulted in research efforts at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) since 2009. In a recently concluded pilot research, the DAS aimed to find out if visual perceptual skills would affect the acquisition of the Chinese language for dyslexic students, other than phonological deficits. Results showed that while Chinese literacy skills and visual perceptual skills were found to be weaker in the presence of dyslexia, visual memory was found to be an underlying visual perceptual skill besides phonological processing skill and auditory memory in Chinese language processing. The research finding could also have implications for intervention for the dyslexic students currently receiving intervention in the English language at the DAS. In addition, the DAS hopes to carry out the research on a larger scale as well as to seek future validation of the battery of Chinese literacy tests.

10. An Investigation of Dyslexia and Maths Difficulties in Singapore

This research introduces a study of dyslexic children tackling the Singapore maths curriculum, using the new Chinn tests of basic facts, maths attainments and an Anxiety Test to compare Singaporean dyslexic students with UK dyslexic and non-dyslexic students, and thus also to consider the adequacy of the Chinn tests for investigating the learning needs of Singaporean dyslexics with maths difficulties. Extensive background data were available on these students from previous psychological assessments. First, two groups of dyslexic students aged 7 to 12 were compared, one group enrolled in the DAS maths teaching programme and the other, a group whose parents agreed to let their children participate (the non-maths group). Background cognitive, literacy and school performance comparisons between groups were explored in the light of the literature. Statistical comparisons with Chinn’s large samples of UK students showed that the Singaporean dyslexics were quite similar in the development of basic facts over time, and on general calculation skills. They differed substantially on the Anxiety test, however, with higher expressed anxiety in Singapore. We consider explanations for this difference. In important respects, the Chinn tests appear valid and informative about students’ mathematical learning in Singapore, but there are gaps. Feelings about maths learning appear different, and the very important area of word problems is not covered by the current Chinn tests.




RETA is the Register of Educational Therapists (Asia). It is an initiative by the Dyslexia Association of Singapore, and is advised by a panel of three distinguished members - Dr Thomas Sim, Professor Angela Fawcett, and Dr Kate Saunders.


RETA was formed to try and connect practitioners in the field of Specific Learning Differences and Education, while recognising their professional status and endorsing their qualifications at the same time.


Join RETA and make a difference in the the lives of children with Specific Learning Difference. Click here to visit the RETA website.