MEDIA RELEASE

International Experts:  Embrace Educational Technologies to Enhance Learning Outcomes of Children with Special Educational Needs
UnITE SpLD 2018 to also present inaugural International Meeting featuring special presentations from China, Taiwan and India to promote greater support for children with SpLD in the region

SINGAPORE, 21 June 2018The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) has gathered experts from 15 countries to stimulate greater all-inclusive support for children with specific learning differences (SpLDs). The Uniting Ideas in Teaching Excellence: Specific Learning Differences 2018 (UnITE SpLD 2018) conference will spark important exchanges in SpLD research with a special focus on the impact of tech-based learning in transforming learning journeys of children with special educational needs.

International studies have demonstrated multi-faceted benefits of increasing access and use of technology in teaching learners with SpLDs. UnITE SpLD will shift the conversation from basic technology adoption to high-quality and purposeful implementation of educational technologies in learning environments. The development of high performance computing and communications has enabled the creation of new media such as augmented and virtual reality, and digital assessment tools that provide analytics to elevate lesson outcomes.

Innovative pedagogies empowered by emergent technologies and experiences make teaching practices more engaging for learners with SpLDs. Research has suggested that immersive environments and blended learning can contribute to increased motivation and interest in learners. DAS will share its use of such technologies during the conference.

“DAS has integrated education technologies in our classrooms quite extensively in the past five years and seen notable changes in students’ learning attitudes, interests and outcomes. We hope that the UnITE SpLD conference will address challenges and opportunities in large-scale adoption of technologies amongst educators and parents to truly unlock the value of tech-based learning for SpLD learners,” said Mr. Lee Siang. CEO of DAS.

Singapore as international SpLD research focal point

For the first time, this year’s International Meeting during the conference will feature SpLD authorities from the Taiwan Academy of Learning Disabilities, Shenzhen Learning Disabilities Association and Anjali Morris Foundation from India. These representatives will offer unique insights into the challenges and advancements of raising awareness and support in their countries for children with SpLDs.

This strengthens UnITE SpLD’s rising importance as the region’s focal point for exchange of cutting-edge research and new practical solutions across a range of SpLD since its inaugural run in 2015. There will also be presenters and participants from Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, UK and the US.

“The coming together of these organisations at UnITE SpLD reminds us that dyslexia and SpLDs impact across countries and languages. It demonstrates the need for regional players to synergise efforts to respond to the growing demand for enhanced intervention and assessment services for children with learning difficulties,” said Mr. Lee, who is also a Board member and Chairperson of the Global Partners Committee of the International Dyslexia Association.

In Singapore, approximately five percent of student population have been diagnosed with special education needs. Dyslexia is the most common SpLD with an estimated 23,000 local students from preschools to secondary schools with dyslexia severe enough to warrant intervention. Studies have shown that half of these children also face co-occuring challenges such as attention deficit hyperactive disorder, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and Asperger’s Syndrome.

The diverse topics at UnITE SpLD will cover an extensive spectrum of SpLDs, focusing on aspects of behavioural, literacy and social emotional support, intervention and assessment for children with special learning needs. Conference highlights include:

  • Panel discussion on Technology Advancing Education
  • Keynote presentation on Technology Advancing Education by DAS
  • Exploring Assistive Technology to Support Students with Dyslexia: Introducing Possible Solutions by National Institute of Education, Singapore
  • Breakout streams on research, practical research, teaching practical workshops and parent workshops.

Inaugural public performance by students with dyslexia

Another first at UnITE is the public performance by the DAS Speech and Drama Arts (SDA) programme students to an international audience of this size. “The Monkey King” will feature 20 performers aged seven to 12 and display their fortitude to overcome literacy and social emotional struggles associated with SpLDs.

These students have spent several months in script reading and memorisation; and character dialogues and portrayal – daunting tasks for students with SpLDs. Besides gaining marked improvements in their listening and concentration skills; reading fluency and speed; and organisation and time management skills, the journey has given them renewed confidence in not just drama performance, but academic learning and other areas of their lives.

For more information on UnITE SpLD 2018, go to https://www.das.org.sg/news-events/das-conference/unite-spld-2018.html, call 6444 5700 during office hours or email: info@das.org.sg