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Unlocking the potential of Dyslexics

With over 10 years of history in educating children with learning disabilities, parents can now turn to Manulife Centre for Children with Specific Learning Disabilities developed by PolyU's Department of Applied Social Sciences for effective early intervention.
"My son Jason had a dyslexia diagnosis at 6. He always confuses a B with a D. Neither can he read English properly nor can he keep up with Chinese classes, even though this is his mother tongue," Jason's mother Sophie shared the problems her son encountered in the past years. Children having dyslexia like Jason have difficulty in learning to read, to write and to spell.

Sophie is not alone. Research revealed that as many as one tenth school-aged children in Hong Kong have learning disabilities, and dyslexia is the most common disorder found among them. Struggling parents can now turn to the Manulife Centre for Children with Specific Learning Disabilities developed by PolyU's Department of Applied Social Sciences for effective early intervention.
With over 10 years of history the Centre specializes in educating children with learning disabilities. Supported by a skilful and passionate team making up of developmental scientists, speech therapists, specialist dyslexic tutors, educational psychologists and clinical psychologists, the Centre offers reading programmes, writing programmes and counselling that make learning easier for dyslexics.

"Dyslexic children are often being considered lazy or stupid, when in fact they have a disability in processing words," said Dr Alice Lai, the person-in-charge of the Centre. Dyslexia does not indicate a lack of intelligence or desire to learn; research studies reveal that the brain of a dyslexic person develops and functions in a different way, which makes it difficult to pronounce words, learn new words, and use words in context. However, with appropriate teaching methods, dyslexic can also learn successfully.

Treatments from the Centre focus on reading, spelling and writing. Powerful techniques such as mind-mapping and writing enable children to master written words and sentences faster. These methods are interactive and fun, which often involve the use of picture clues, such as diagrams, blocks and cubes, to help the children recognise and retain a new word. The use of hearing, sight, and even sense of touch is actually in tune with the Centre’s unique teaching styles. These great techniques will keep the children interested, inspire their creativity and stimulate their learning interest.
Either in small classes or one-on-one sessions, students practise simple technique to read more accurately and with full comprehension. After the programme, they have the right tool to control the condition and overcome learning barriers. Consistent practice at home and in everyday life brings about incremental improvements.

This specialist educational centre also supports parents and teachers in tutoring dyslexics. Programme for effective home tutoring consists of 5 consecutive days of counselling and instructions, turning parents into helpful facilitators. This is essential because professional help is not always accessible. Children can have as much practice as they want in the comfort of their own home and at the family's convenience. Teacher training such as Curriculum-Based Measurements (CBM) tools allow teachers to better plan their lessons and meet the learning needs of dyslexic children. The goal is to create supportive environment at school that helps dyslexics do better in handwriting, reading, and focusing, and keep up with school curriculum.

As an authority on dyslexia, the Centre has been distributing professional guidance and training primary and secondary school teachers around Hong Kong as commissioned by the Education Bureau of the HKSAR Government. Hundreds of children have already benefited from their services which included more than 400 seminars, workshops and training camps. Staying at the forefront, the Centre taps on the newest discoveries from brain science and developmental science, and keeps making their training more effective.

Dyslexia has not stopped any number of high achievers. Famous dyslexics include Nobel-prize winning physicist Albert Einstein, successful entrepreneur Richard Branson, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, and the list just goes on and on.

"A holistic approach to learning provided by Manulife Centre for Children with Specific Learning Disabilities has greatly benefited my child," said Sophie. "With the right kind of support at home, at school and in the community, I am sure Jason will be on the right track soon and have better chance to become an effective learner and reach his full potential."

Wilfred Lai | Research asia research news
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