Head Psychologist, Tan Cheng Yi
In many countries, including Malaysia, the local school authorities routinely test children for Dyslexia and other learning difficulties. This helps with the identification and channelling of students to support services. Early detection leads to better outcomes as students can get the help they need. In my experience, the “bright” students who are identified early, and undergo well-planned interventions, are often symptom free by the time they get to university.
Mild Dyslexia can often be missed through routine screening because students who have it are able to compensate for their learning difficulties. This is especially true for smart, vocal and well-behaved students. In some cases, they are only diagnosed in adulthood. Often these students think they are just “slower” than their peers and unaware they have problems processing print. Children who are disruptive in class or have difficulty completing work, may be noticed for their behaviour first. However, after evaluation, if it is discovered that they have an underlying learning difficulty, like Dyslexia, it is understood that their behaviour is secondary.
Sometimes, children may suffer from psychological disorders as a result of their inability to learn. This may manifest in the lack of motivation to learn, anxiety, depression or even refusing to go to school. Another associated sign is low self-esteem. It is hard to feel good about yourself if you put in more effort than your peers, yet get poorer results. For these children, a proper Dyslexia diagnosis can help liberate them from low self-esteem while learning the skills to adapt.
Early Signs of Dyslexia (varies from child to child)
- Delayed speech
- Difficulty learning letters and their associated sound
- Difficulty learning to form letters
Dyslexia in Primary School:
- Slow, inaccurate or laboured reading
- Difficulty learning to spell
- Difficulty with written expression
Dyslexia in Secondary School and Beyond:
- Poor reading fluency
- Poor organisation or speed of writing
If you suspect your child has Dyslexia, talk to his teacher or consult your paediatrician, child psychiatrist or psychologist. For appointments, bring along evidence to show that your child is performing below expectations. There are many evidenced-based techniques to help your child catch-up. If after the evaluation there is no diagnosis, at least they have ruled it out. The worst thing you can do is to do nothing.
About Oasis Place
Located right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Oasis Place is at the forefront of Malaysia’s educational and developmental intervention services, providing world class, multidisciplinary intervention services to children, adolescents and adults of all abilities and ages. Oasis Place has one of the country’s largest integrated intervention facilities, embracing a client-and family-centered approach.
Oasis Place’s core intervention services include psychology, speech and language therapy, sensory integration occupational therapy, music therapy, continuous education and nutrition. The Oasis Place facility is equipped with modern apparatus, resources, therapy materials and assessment tools as well as a large multipurpose hall, a health café and a fully furnished apartment for the life skills curriculum. Oasis Place also provides continuous education workshops led by numerous international and local speakers to empower parental awareness and professional development, setting a new benchmark in Malaysia’s allied health community.
For more information on psychology services for learning difficulties and school based visit and intervention services, please visit our website at www.oasisplace.com.my