Living with Dyslexia in Malaysia

My son’s progress


I applied for my son’s transfer to SK TTDI (2), having learnt that this is the Pilot School for the Dyslexia Programme.  His transfer was approved on 2 March 2004 and my son started at SK TTDI (2) on 8 March 2004, well before the official launch in June 2004.

My son’s initial few months in this new school was very chaotic. The teachers were new to Dyslexia (many have not heard of this word), and not much information were disseminated to them then.

He was quite a rascal and was called ‘Dennis the Menace’ for all the mischief and problems he brought to the school. Being a new programme and with my son creating havoc in the school, the teachers were not too keen on this programme.  For survival, my son learnt the tricks of the trade in his previous school -physical retaliation was what he did to vent out his frustrations of the school system. He did the same thing in this pilot school.

Thankfully, there is the  Special Ed Co-ordinator, Datin Zahrah and her assistant Datin Halimah, who were able to ‘tone’ my son down. He realized that the teachers here genuinely wants to help him.  Thereabouts, one can see the change in him – for the better. It is a ‘tit for tat’ attitude. You treat me well, I will reciprocate accordingly.  This is only human.

He is  happy in school as he has his dyslexic gang. He is not alone like he was in the previous ‘normal’ school.  This programme started out with an initial 8 students in 2004 and the targeted number of dyslexic for this programme is supposed to be 16.  As of Jan 2006, there are now 26 students, an overcrowded situation.

There are 30 schools nationwide earmarked to conduct the Dyslexia Programme.  What is happening to these schools?  If the other schools were active, SK TTDI (2) would not be experiencing this overcrowded problem.  For a programme to be successful, certain criteria must be upheld.  If there are too many students and not enough experienced teachers around, the programme will be heading for failure.

As it is now, my son is in Std 4 and he is having problems with his subjects like Mathematics, Science and Kajian Tempatan.  Tahap 1 is not much of a problem but when one reaches Tahap 2, the number of subjects have increased with Kajian Tempatan, Kemahiran Hidup and Siviks.

To make matters worse, all these new subjects are in Bahasa.  Dyslexics have language processing problems – therefore to master one language is an uphill task,  what with another language to handle, the dyslexics are  ‘doomed’ to failure.

My son is not the only one facing such problems, many other dyslexics are also having a tougher time, especially when they reach Tahap 2.   My son is now complaining that he doesn’t like school anymore.  This was never mentioned whilst he was in this programme earlier on. Std 4 subjects are proving hard for him to cope.  His favourite subject Science, is not going to be his favourite for long.  It is now so ‘wordy’  -a paragraph on what the experiment is about, your observations are required, what is the inference, etc….

Maths is also problematic for him.   Division by bigger numbers like 58,  92  etc… So tedious for him.  Once they understand the concept, there shouldn’t be a need for them to do so many of such tedious work.  Then there are so many problem questions.  Being dyslexic, they would be tuned-off immediately with so many words. 

My son handed me the February examination notice for next week and then he started crying, saying that there will be 30 pages of Maths questions and he would not be able to finish on time.  Told him that there would most probably be 30 questions and not 30 pages.  Didn’t realize that a monthly test would cause him so much stress.

Most dyslexics would size up the task by the number of pages – the more pages, the more stressed up they are.  I can only console him and tell him to try his best.

With Std 4 going at this rate, I cannot imagine what will happen when he is in Std 6 – sitting for his UPSR.  I sincerely hope the Ministry of Education and Examination board would look into  allowing dyslexics to opt for one language as is provided for overseas.

Other concessions like Readers, extra time etc… should be in place before the Pioneer group of dyslexics in this programme sits for their UPSR.  The Pioneer group will be sitting for their UPSR next year. 

What is the use of a programme if the dyslexic kids are doomed to failure?  Even though they are still allowed to proceed to Form 1, their self-esteem would not be healed with such allowances.  Dyslexics are very sensitive beings, knowing their disabilities and trying their best to hide them – hence their behaviour – clowning around, unatttentiveness, being the terror etc….. To them, if they fail, it means they are no good, maybe they are really stupid after all!  Like a friend said,  “it is not fair for a one-legged person to compete in a 2-legged race”.  The playing field must be made level, like in golf whereby there is a handicap system,  ie.  allowing dyslexics to sit for only 3 subjects instead of 5 subjects for the UPSR examinations.

My wish, as it is with many mothers of dyslexic children, is that our children are given a level playing field for them to succeed and contribute to society.  Otherwise, these kids can be a real social menace to our country.

From a very concerned Parent,  Suet   2006


June 23, 2007 - Posted by | Dyslexia

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