On 29 July 2017, The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) launched a book, “Clearly Different: Dyscovering the Differences”, to commemorate the association’s 25th Anniversary. The book chronicles DAS’ incredible journey from having just 12 students in its first learning centre, to helping thousands of children with dyslexia overcome their learning difference and changing mindsets about dyslexia in Singapore.
From its humble beginnings in 1991, providing a basic literacy programme, DAS has since expanded to become a multi-faceted organisation with 13 centres across Singapore supporting more than 3500 students, and offering a wide range of programmes and services including educational therapy, psychological assessments, professional training for teachers and outreach to parents.
Based on the international estimate that one in 10 individuals in the society has dyslexia, DAS hopes that the book will help its efforts in reaching out to more Singaporeans and the international community to create an inclusive society for people with dyslexia to live, work and achieve. Besides featuring exclusive never-beentold personal stories of individuals with dyslexia, the book also captures heartfelt stories of the ever-present community of family members, mentors, educators and other advocates who have provided strong support for them to realise their full potential.
All proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards the DAS Bursary fund to support needy students with dyslexia. It is authored by Dr William Wan, General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement and a member of the Rotary Club of Raffles City (RCRC). His latest published works include “My Best with Honour”. “Clearly Different” will be officially launched at the 38th Installation Dinner of the RCRC on 29 July 2017 at Holiday Inn Parkview Hotel, in the presence of event Guest-of-Honour Mr. Ong Keng Yong, former Secretary General of ASEAN, members and friends of RCRC. This commemorates RCRC’s instrumental role in initiating the dyslexia movement as a community service project in 1989 and subsequently seeing to the registration of DAS as a charitable society in 1991, under the leadership of the late founding President of DAS, Dr. Jimmy Daruwalla, also a member of the RCRC. DAS will be presenting the book to Mr. Ong and Mrs. Jothy Daruwalla, wife of Dr. Daruwalla, during the event.
The Ridge spoke to two people at the event who grew up with Dyslexia and both proved that being Dyslexic did not limit their personal growth and development at all. Ryan Lim, 25, who was a competitor bowler throughout his primary and secondary days, went through all odds and eventually secured a place to study law at the Singapore Management University (SMU). He even shared heartily that he played tennis and golf in university days, on top of his internship stints at various prestigious law firms in Singapore. Ryan was also one of the finalist in the Duane Morris & Selvam Transactionals 2015, a negotiations competition on Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions where teams negotiate on contractual terms.
Founder of design practice W5A, Patrick Siah expressed gratitude for his mother’s support while he was growing up and had this to say to people with Dyslexia, “My advice for the young ones especially my twin nephews that are in DAS at the moment, is that, time is still on your side. Take your time to understand who you really are, discover your strengths, and take note of your weaknesses. With hard work, only success will follow!”
“This book is a tribute to all the passionate and dedicated individuals who have laid a critical foundation to enable DAS’ achievements over the past 25 years. DAS hopes that the stories will be an inspiration not only to people with dyslexia and their families, but also educators, advocates and the public, who will better understand the world through the eyes of dyslexics who are not just differepnt, but clearly special. The book also serves as a reminder that there is still much for us to do in terms of providing more comprehensive support to individuals with learning differences. I believe that together as a community, we can take DAS to greater heights for the purpose of supporting people with dyslexia,” said Mr. Lee Siang, Chief Executive Officer of DAS.
“This book is about the positive spirit of kinship and kindness. The special condition of dyslexia brought total strangers together to forge a vibrant and caring community that celebrates differences, creativity, optimism and resilience,” said Dr. William Wan. Published by World Scientific, the book in paperback will be sold at S$28 in selected book stores, and S$25 at DAS Learning Centres.
Visit www.das.org.sg for more information.
About Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS)
Our Mission: Helping Dyslexic People Achieve Our Goal: To build a world class organisation dedicated to helping dyslexic people, those with specific learning differences and reaching out to the region. Registered in 1991, the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) is today a vibrant voluntary welfare organisation with over 250 full-time staff who provide a wide array of services for dyslexics in Singapore. DAS Educational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists and Specialist Psychologists provide support for over 3,500 preschool, primary and secondary school students in 13 centres all over Singapore. DAS also teaches in five PCF preschool centres. Besides the main literacy programme, DAS also offers support in Mathematics, Chinese, English Exam Skills and Speech and Drama Arts. Increasingly, DAS will provide support for dyslexics who also suffer from other specific learning differences (SpLD) such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia, dyscalculia and non-verbal learning differences. The DAS training arm, DAS Academy, provides diploma and masters level courses for the professional development of teachers and educational professionals.