SINGAPORE, 12 September 2018 – DAS Academy graduated 79 students from its masters, postgraduate diploma and specialist diploma courses at its fifthGraduation Ceremony at the MDIS Auditorium today. This brings the total number of students graduating from the academy over the past five years to 335, expanding its role in supporting the growing demand for Special Educational Needs (SEN) expertise in Singapore.
At the ceremony, DAS Academy celebrated the accomplishments of three Master of Arts in SEN (MA SEN) graduates, one Master of Arts in Specific Learning Differences (SpLD) graduate, one Postgraduate Diploma in SpLD graduate, 15 Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma in SEN graduates, 21 Specialist Diploma in Educational Therapy graduates, 22 Specialist Diploma in SpLD graduates and 16 Diploma in Special Education (Dyslexia Studies) for the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Allied Educator graduates.
The ceremony also marked a five-year milestone in the academy’s contribution to enhancing professional support locally for children with SEN. Since 2014, besides providing SEN training to educators, parents of children with SEN and other students from diverse background, the academy has also trained 74 Allied Educators (Learning and Behavioural Support) from MOE. Upon completing the course, these Allied Educators are better equipped to provide structured and systematic support to students with dyslexia in mainstream schools.
The academy has also grown Singapore into a regional leader in SEN training. Since 2014, it has achieved close to a five-fold increase in new enrolment of foreign students based in Singapore and from the region.
“Today, with greater awareness of SEN, an increasing number of students with mild SEN such as dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have been identified in mainstream schools, resulting in an increased demand for specialists with knowledge and skills in this field. We are honoured to be playing a role in producing competent SEN professionals and thought leaders in the growing field of SEN through the DAS Academy,” said Lee Siang, CEO of Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS).
“The varied profiles of our graduates demonstrate our programmes’ ability to meet the different needs of educators, practitioners and parents who support children with mild SEN. I would like to congratulate all graduates and encourage them to use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to help children to develop to their fullest potential,” he added.
“There is a special trait that unites all of us who have chosen to walk down this similar path - we all share the desire to believe in every child’s capabilities, no matter how hidden it might seem. All the modules from our distinctive courses have given us important tools that allow us to work with them slowly but surely and coaxing each child to develop their fullest potential,” said Sarah Wong, Valedictorian of the Specialist Diploma in Specific Learning Differences (SpLD).
“It was a necessary step to develop myself professionally, to increase my pedagogical knowledge and to broaden my perspectives on special educational needs. The knowledge that I have gained through the course has helped me deliver courses and workshops better, by supporting strategies and content with relevant research as well as ensuring that they are in line with current educational trends,” said Siti Mariam Daud, Valedictorian of MA SEN and Additional Learning Needs.
It is estimated that in Singapore, there are 23,000 students from preschool to secondary school with dyslexia severe enough to warrant intervention and about half of these children may experience comorbid disorders such as ADHD, Specific Language Impairment, dyscalculia and dyspraxia - emphasising the importance of building the pool of expertise in SEN in Singapore.
All photos are from the Dyslexia Association of Singapore