Overview

Professional Development Training

In line with Singapore's vision of an inclusive society, DAS Academy provides professional development training for educators to increase their awareness and support of students with learning difficulties in the mainstream classrooms.

 

At the DAS Academy, we believe that if you get things right for learners with special needs, you will get things right for every learner in the class. Efforts taken to make instructions accessible to learners with special needs will inevitably increase the quality of teaching for all learners in the mainstream.

 

Recognising that the individual needs of each school are unique, our lecturers are able to discuss your training needs before advising on a professional training programme that takes into account the needs and profile of your school's staff and students.

 

Drop us an email at info@dasacademy.edu.sg or call us at 6336 2555 to learn more about the customised training options that we offer.

  • Empowering Teachers

    When we help you to get things right for learners with special needs, you will get things right for every learner in the class. Efforts taken to make instructions accessible to learners with special needs will inevitably increase the quality of teaching for all learners in the mainstream schools.

  • Lecturers with rich practical experience

    Our lecturers have a wealth of dyslexia teaching experiences under their belts. They are able to apply their accumulated knowledge and experience to your context, empowering you to resolve your day-to-day challenges in a school with learners with diverse needs.

  • Bespoke Training

    Your organisation's profile and needs will be carefully considered before any training proposal is drafted. Our training can range from a foundational awareness workshop to intermediate certificates in a specialised area, and can cover areas such as reading, spelling, or math difficulties. Call or email us and we will be happy to help.

Customised Programmes

DAS Academy provides professional development training for educators to increase their awareness and support of students with learning difficulties in the mainstream classrooms.

 

Here are some examples of the customised training programmes DAS Academy offers

 

Diploma and Certificates

Diploma in Special Education (Dyslexia Studies) (Part-Time)

Specialist Diploma in Educational Therapy (English Support) (Part-Time)

Certificate in Supporting Learners with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD)

Certificate in Dyscalculia and Numeracy Teaching

Certificate in Creating an SEN-friendly Classroom

 

Workshops

Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment for Students with Dyslexia

Understanding Screening Tools for Dyslexia (DST)

Understanding Screening Tools for Reading Fluency and Comprehension (YARC)

Supporting Learners with Dyslexia

Promoting Executive Function in the Classroom

Understanding Phonics

Supporting Dyslexic Learners in Chinese

Supporting Learners with Language and Social Communication Disorders (2-part series)

Teaching Phonics and Reading Workshop for the English Language Teachers

 

Workshops for MOE Teachers and Educators

Supporting Students with Executive Functioning Difficulties

 

DAS Academy can design a course specifically for your needs. For more info, please email us at info@dasacademy.edu.sg

 


 

DIPLOMA IN SPECIAL EDUCATION (DYSLEXIA STUDIES) (PART-TIME) 


The Diploma in Special Education (Dyslexia Studies) is designed as a part-time specialist qualification to allow Allied Educators in the Singapore Ministry of Education schools to gather theoretical knowledge on dyslexia (and other common types of learning differences likely to be presented with it) as well as practical skills to support learners in this field. The specialist diploma aims to empower allied educators to exhibit professional responses and take practical steps to ensure that mainstream students with learning difficulties enjoy equal access to the broader curriculum, just like their typically developing peers. Allied educators undertaking this programme will have to complete three modules for the Diploma in Special Education (Dyslexia Studies) award. Modules are designed to run consecutively and will complete in 9 months.

 

Dyslexia – Context, Assessment, and Identification


In the first module, allied educators are introduced to dyslexia and common co-occurring difficulties to make them competent in identifying and recognising the symptoms of the learning needs of students referred to them. They thus develop a comprehensive understanding of the difficulties of a dyslexic child through a holistic framework of biological, cognitive, behavioural, and environmental views. The allied educators also learn to use practitioner appropriate assessment tools to help build a learning profile of a selected student. This profile would help to inform the professional responses and intervention undertaken by the allied educator for the learner.

 

Teaching Children with Specific Learning Differences Using the OG Approach

Allied educators are next trained in the knowledge, strategies and skills to work with students with reading, writing and/or language difficulties using phonologically-based intervention which is a research-based and most conventional intervention for learners with dyslexia. Using Orton-Gillingham (OG) principles, the allied educators are brought through a complete teaching cycle of diagnostic assessment planning, execution, and evaluation. Throughout this second module, there is an emphasis on the five essential building blocks of literacy identified by the National Reading Panel (2000) – phonological awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension.

 

Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment


In the third module of their course, allied educators are introduced to the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will enable them to create dyslexia–friendly and inclusive learning environment in their schools. They will be given insight into the current special educational needs landscape and provided the platform to develop a personal yet objective opinion towards inclusion which will guide and drive their work. Allied educators will also become empowered to attend to a student’s higher-order literacy skills as well as his social, emotional and behavioural needs. They will come to understand how they can better help students with differences in learning styles. It is hoped that the allied educators emerge as confident and effective advocators of dyslexia in their schools at the end of this module.

 

Upon successful completion of the three modules and their assignments, allied educators will be awarded the Diploma In Special Education (Dyslexia Studies).

 

Entry Requirement

Minimum Age: 19

Academic Level: GCE ‘A’ level, or equivalent

Language Proficiency: GCE ‘A’ level, or equivalent

 

Student-Teacher Ratio

This programme has a student-teacher ratio of 1:20.

 

* Note that this programme is customised for MOE Allied Educators, and not open to the public.

 

 

 SPECIALIST DIPLOMA IN EDUCATIONAL THERAPY (PART-TIME)

 

The Specialist Diploma in Educational Therapy is designed as a part-time specialist qualification to empower educational therapists at the DAS to effectively support students receiving intervention at the DAS learning centres. Its aim is to quip DAS educational therapists with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to build the literacy skills needed by dyslexic students as they journey from primary to secondary school. This specialised training is conducted over three modules. Modules are designed to run consecutively and will complete in 9 months.

 

Dyslexia and the Essential Literacy Approach (DELA)

 

The first module is based on the Orton-Gillingham (OG) principles. New DAS trainee educational therapists will receive initial training to understand dyslexia and how literacy skills develop according to various layers of the English Language. The content includes understanding the English Language continuum (e.g. letters, digraphs and syllables), phonics knowledge and application (letter-sound correspondence and rules), conceptual teaching, morphology, oracy, reading fluency, assistive technology, and lesson planning and delivery. The DELA training also has a practicum component of 20 hours to enable trainee educational therapists to advance from 1-on-1 intervention to small group teaching and allows for theories, concepts, and strategies to be developed and applied under supervised conditions, making further links between information and practice.

 

Applied Educational Therapy (AET)

 

The Mentoring Module is the second component of specialised training after the trainee educational therapists successfully complete the DELA module. The primary aim of this module is to develop and equip them with the skills to achieve quality remediation for students with dyslexia and its overlapping Specific Learning Differences. Educational therapists will complete a total of 30 hours at the end of a six-month period of formal lectures, individual mentoring and lesson observations. The formal lectures focus on being a reflective practitioner, classroom and behavioural management, differentiation instruction, reading a psychological report and using technology in the classroom. Each educational therapist will be assigned a mentor from the Staff Professional Development Division (SPDD) of the DAS or Lecturers from DAS Academy, tapping on their knowledge and experience. Individual mentoring sessions together with the lectures provide a platform for support, sharing and feedback amongst peers and mentors, increasing opportunities for professional growth.

 

Enhancing Classroom Instruction (ECI)

 

The third module of the course takes the educational therapists further in their growth as specialist teachers. This 21-hour module looks into higher-order skills beyond phonics components (basic literacy) so that the educational therapists will be equipped to work with older or more able learners. The lectures will cover instruction in morphology, reading comprehension, grammar, writing, study skills, self-esteem, as well as an introduction to using resources. Attaining knowledge and practical skills in these areas also allow the educational therapists to plan more holistic lessons that cover a wider spectrum of the English Language continuum while understanding that their dyslexic students can have additional difficulties that impact on their learning.

 

Entry Requirement

Minimum Age: 18

Academic Level: 5 GCE ‘O’ Level Passes, or equivalent

Language Proficiency: GCE O Level Pass in English Language as the 1st Language, or equivalent

 

Student-Teacher Ratio

This programme has a student-teacher ratio of 1:20.

* Note that this programme is customised for DAS Trainee Educational Therapists, and not open to the public.

 

 CERTIFICATE IN CREATING AN SEN-FRIENDLY CLASSROOM (FOR INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS)

 

In an era of inclusive practice, teachers and staff in educational institutes will invariably work with pupils with learning difficulties. This course provides a brief overview on the common mild learning difficulties likely to be presented i.e. dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, speech and language impairment (SLI), autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A teacher’s appreciation of the learning difficulties can be the first step toward making a positive contribution to the wellness of pupils’ development. More specifically, with an understanding of learning difficulties, those responsible for making provisions can exhibit professional responses and take practical steps to ensure pupils with learning difficulties enjoy equal access to the broader curriculum, just like their typically developing peers.

 

To develop a holistic understanding of a student with learning difficulties in an educational institution, the course will balance the theoretical elements with practical aspects, so as to allow participants to acquire and develop practical strategies to support struggling learners in their classroom. Putting theory into practice, the course will also allow participants to design and develop an SEN-friendly pack which can be utilized in their own classroom teaching.

 

The key topics are:

  • Introduction to Special Educational Needs (SEN)
  • Understanding SEN beyond learning
  • Meeting SEN in the curriculum
  • Design and develop an SEN-friendly pack for a specific subject in school

 

At the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Gain awareness of and understand the fundamental difficulties of students with SEN
  • Apply the principles of Universal Design Learning (UDL) to curriculum planning and delivery to enable learners of different abilities to participate equally
  • Acquire strategies and tools to support SEN learners in various subjects
  • Develop a subject-specific SEN-friendly pack that is contextualised for the school

 

 "I've become more cognizant of the struggles and perspectives of the students - the video was poignant." - Mrs Esther Chia

 

 CREATING AN INCLUSIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR STUDENTS WITH DYSLEXIA (FOR SEVERAL LOCAL PRIMARY SCHOOLS)

 

In an era of inclusive practice, teachers and staff in educational institutes will invariably work with pupils with dyslexia. This workshop covers the most common literacy difficulties likely to be presented i.e. dyslexia. A teacher’s appreciation of the learning difficulties can be the first step toward making a positive contribution to the wellness of pupils’ development. More specifically, with a better understanding of dyslexia, those responsible for making provisions can exhibit professional responses and take practical steps to ensure pupils with learning difficulties enjoy equal access to the broader curriculum, just like their typically developing peers.

At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Gain awareness of and understand the fundamental difficulties of students with dyslexia
  • Identify features of curriculum or current practices which can be a barrier for students with dyslexia
  • Apply the principles of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to the planning and delivery of lessons so as to enable learners of different abilities to participate equally
  • Acquire strategies and tools to support dyslexic learners in various literacy-based subjects

 

"I now have more awareness of those needing help and I am able to put more strategies and frameworks in place to make tasks more manageable for those students." - Teacher, International School

 

 

 UNDERSTANDING SCREENING TOOLS FOR DYSLEXIA (DST)

 

The session aims to introduce participants to the Dyslexia Screening Test (DST Junior/Senior). Participants can use the DST - J/S to derive an indication of dyslexia in a pupil. Through the administration of a series of tests, users will be able to generate an 'at risk of dyslexia' index. The tool is ideal for educators in schools or tuition centres who are supporting pupils with suspected literacy difficulties who may wish to use the DST - J/S as a screener for dyslexia before referring them for formal assessments. Participants will learn to appreciate the indicators of dyslexia in both younger and older students, execute and score the sub-tests of the DST, and interpret the results of the DST.

 

*This workshop is available to the public upon request.

 

 

UNDERSTANDING SCREENING TOOLS FOR READING FLUENCY AND COMPREHENSION (YARC)

 

The session aims to introduce participants to the York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension (YARC Primary and Secondary) which is a tool for assessing the reading and comprehension skills of pupils aged 4 to 16. It is ideal for following up at an individual level and provides quality information regarding the pupil's pattern of decoding and reading comprehension difficulties. Participants will learn to appreciate the nature of reading difficulties in both younger and older students, execute the YARC assessment tool and interpret results through both manual and online scoring.

 

*This workshop is available to the public upon request.

 

 

PROMOTING EXECUTIVE FUNCTION IN THE CLASSROOM

 

This workshop was designed for a Primary School in the (South Zone) to raise awareness of executive function difficulties that many children with SpLD exhibit. Implications of learning difficulties are discussed, together with classroom practices that can enhance the development of the executive function skills. 

 

*This workshop is available to the public upon request.

 

 

UNDERSTANDING PHONICS

 

This workshop was delivered to a group of Preschool Teachers aiming to build knowledge and skills to carry out phonics instruction and phonological awareness training to preschool learners. Phonics instruction is a way of teaching reading that helps children to see how the letter-combinations in English words systematically represent the individual sounds of spoken English. 

 

*This workshop is available to the public upon request.

 

 

SUPPORTING DYSLEXIC LEARNERS IN CHINESE

 

This workshop was carried out in a Primary School in (North Zone) to help the teachers to understand the difficulties dyslexic children face when learning the Chinese Language, especially in Singapore’s context where they learn at least two languages with different letter-sound mapping systems. The teachers learned the strategies to help dyslexic children in tackling the nature and structure of Chinese characters for word recognition, and can actively engage children in building literacy skills such as orthographic and morphological awareness, stroke formation and patterns, oracy skills, comprehension, and writing.

 

*This workshop is available to the public upon request.

 

 SUPPORTING LEARNERS WITH LANGUAGE AND SOCIAL COMMUNICATION DISORDERS


These workshops aim to provide educators with theoretical knowledge of the typical language and social communication development during the school-age years. Participants will be given an overview of the language and social communication disorders, and gain a greater understanding of the effects on learners’ receptive and expressive language, social, emotional and behavioural needs, as well as classroom learning.


These workshops are designed for professionals to learn and discuss practical teaching strategies for supporting the classroom learning of students with language and social communication challenges.


The key topics are:

  • Typical language and social communication development
  • Features of language and social communication disorders
  • Impact of language and social communication disorders on students
  • Differentiating language disorder from dyslexia
  • Differentiating social communication disorder from autism
  • Strategies to help children with language and social communication disorders

At the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify common features of language and social communication disorders
  • Describe the impact of language and social communication disorders on students
  • Identify the main differences between students who may have dyslexia and/or language disorder and bilingual students who struggle with the English language because of language dominance
  • Identify the main differences between students who have autism and students who have social communication disorders
  • Describe some strategies for supporting students with language and social communication disorders in the classroom.

 

“Covers a good range of topics regarding language difficulties as well as strategies that we would be able to use in school to support our students.” - Anita Ong

 

TEACHING PHONICS AND READING WORKSHOP FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHERS 


Being able to read is essential for school success and managing the different lifelong tasks that require one to access print. Not all pupils acquire reading skills automatically. This may be due to a lack of exposure to English or poor home support. Some pupils may have dyslexia and thus have difficulties picking up reading, spelling and writing skills. However, struggling decoders can learn to read with good quality reading instruction that includes phonological awareness training and phonics instruction. This series of workshops focuses on equipping attendees with the knowledge and skills to help all learners read phonetic and sight words. Specifically, participants will learn letter-sounds as well as multi-sensory strategies to teach and review them. Participants will also learn multi-sensory strategies to help learners to read one and two-syllable phonetic words. Strategies for teaching pupils to read and spell sight words will also be covered as well as hands-on practice in creating supplementary materials to engage the pupils in learning phonics and reading.


Participants will be introduced to a lesson plan format for the introduction of phonics concepts and the application of concepts using activities that are appropriate to the pupils for the individual context.

 

At the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Explain how children learn to read.
  • Recognise that phonograms can be grouped into basic consonants, consonant digraphs, short vowels, vowel digraphs and r-controlled vowels.
  • Articulate the different stages of phonological awareness, from basic to advanced.
  • Plan and conduct activities to develop the phonological awareness of pupils.
  • Explain the five essential components of a balanced reading programme.
  • Teach letter-sounds in a simultaneously multisensory manner, using visual, tactile, auditory and kinesthetic modalities.
  • Teach decoding of phonetically regular words (one and two-syllable words) in an explicit and systematic manner.
  • Recognise the six most common syllable types.
  • Employ simultaneously multisensory strategies to teach pupils to read and spell sight words.
  • Conduct paired reading to develop reading fluency.

 

“Good inclusive teaching practices to help diverse learners in the classroom .” - Mr Mohd Faisal Jamain

 

 

 CERTIFICATE IN SUPPORTING LEARNERS WITH SPECIFIC LEARNING DIFFICULTIES (SPLD)

 

This certificate course was designed for a Secondary School in the (West Zone) aims to give an introduction to the issues that affect learners with dyslexia and co-occurring difficulties. The course has balanced the theoretical elements with practical aspects so as to allow participants to acquire and develop strategies to support struggling learners in their classroom.

 

*This certificate course is available to the public upon request.

 

 CERTIFICATE IN DYSCALCULIA AND NUMERACY TEACHING

 

This workshop was carried out in a Primary School in (West Zone) to help the teachers in understanding and supporting learners who have difficulties in learning Mathematics, including those with dyslexia. The teachers were introduced to the theoretical and practical implications of Mathematical, and understand how individual differences affect the learning of Mathematics. learning was introduced. 

 

*This certificate course is available to the public upon request.

 

 

 SUPPORTING STUDENTS WITH EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING DIFFICULTIES

 

This 16-hour course conducted over two sessions aims to introduce participants to the concept of executive function and its relation to learning difficulties such as dyslexia. Understand how the key components of EF such as working memory, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility can affect learning across the subjects

*This certificate course is available only on TRAISI MOE.

 

Drop us an email at info@dasacademy.edu.sg or call us at 6336 2555 to learn more about the customised training that we can offer.

Dyslexia-Friendly Quiz

Take a short and simple quiz to learn about how dyslexia-friendly your school or home is!

For Educators, use the checklist below or click here for the interactive form.

For Parents, click here.

 

The dyslexia-friendly index for Educators

Take this quiz to find out how dyslexia-friendly your practices are for students with Special Educational Needs. 

 

CHECKLIST YES NO 
Overall School Environment  
1 The stall vendors use clear fonts and pictures in their food menu.    
2 There are clear signages for the main venues in my school. e.g. general office, canteen, toilets, school hall.    
3 My school organises regular SEN awareness training for the staff.    
4 There is a special needs department in my school.    
5 There are planned sessions in the yearly school calendar to discuss SEN matters.    
6 My school is supportive of access arrangements during examinations.    
7 My school is supportive of day-to-day accommodations whenever the need arises e.g. availability of disco seat, high tables for students who focus better while standing    
8 The learning support personnel and his/her role in the school is made known to all new teaching staff during the staff induction day    
9 Heavy subject periods are placed in the morning, whenever possible    
Classroom Environment  
10 As far as possible, I supplement verbal instructions and explanations with pictures, diagrams and/or manipulatives.    
11 I ensure variety (visual, verbal, kinaesthetic) and levels (Bloom’s Taxonomy) in my learning objectives.    
12 I use figurative language selectively and follow up with an explicit explanation.    
13 I simplify instructions and avoid unnecessary information overload.    
14 I make it a point to check for understanding after giving instructions.    
15 I leave important information on the board long enough for students.    
16 I make a point to ensure worksheets/ slides are not cluttered.    
17 I print comprehension text and questions such that students do not need to flip over to refer.    
18 I highlight challenging key curriculum words, break them into parts/ syllables and provide strategies to remember them.    
19 I practice having a group read aloud to the class, instead of having a single student read.    
20 I take steps to make spelling tests more friendly for students    
21 I offer students personal choice in the demonstration of their knowledge, through a variety of questions, a variety of platforms etc.    
22 I have the learning support personnel present in periods which require support    
23 I highlight students who might have SEN to the learning support personnel in a timely manner    
24 I work together with the learning support personnel to support students with SEN in my class    
25 I allow time for movement between activities.    
26 I use specific colours for specific information on the board.    
27 I use a font of at least size 12 and ensure that it does not have extending features called “serifs” at the end of strokes e.g. Calibri instead of Times New Roman.    

 

Total up your scores and check how SEN-friendly your practices are!

'Yes' Responses  General indication 
19 - 27 Learners with SEN in your school are well supported to maximise their potential.
10 - 18 Learners with SEN in your school are generally supported but will benefit from more support.
0 - 9

Learners with SEN in your school may find school life challenging.

 

 

The dyslexia-friendly index for Parents

Take this quiz to find out how dyslexia-friendly your home is:

 

CHECKLIST YES NO 
1 I talk to my child about dyslexia and about people who have dyslexia.    
2 I have attended at least one dyslexia talk/course for parents.    
3 I practice reading with my child at home.    
4 I help my child find ways to work around his or her weakness caused by dyslexia.    
5 As far as possible, I supplement verbal and written information with pictures, diagrams or manipulatives.    
6 I break down the school's weekly spelling list into bite-sized components, with revision spread across the week, instead of expecting the child to master the entire list in one day.    
7 I break down words in the weekly spelling list into chunks and point out unique features in the words.    
8 I help to ensure that worksheets (especially reading comprehension tasks) are printed only on one side.    
9 I provide clear and direct instructions in a bite-sized manner.    
10 I have routines to help my child get his work done.    
11 I inform and communicate with my child’s teachers about his or her learning needs.    
12 While I am sensitive to my child's weaknesses, I am also keenly aware of his or her strengths and I provide support to develop those strengths    

 

Total up your scores and check how dyslexia-friendly your home is!

 

'Yes' Responses  General indication 
9 - 12 Your child is well supported to maximise their potential. 
5 - 8

Your child is generally supported but will benefit from more support

0 - 4

Your child may find it challenging to cope with an SEN. E.g. Dyslexia