Teachers need training in dyslexia

National 2 minutes, 12 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

MANY teachers in Brunei are not adequately resourced to identify dyslexia, said an education officer at the Special Education Unit (UPK).

Dyslexia is a learning disability that makes it hard to learn to read and can also affect writing, spelling and even speaking.

Hjh Siti Noraminah Hj Abdul Lamin told The Brunei Times that every school in Brunei should be equipped with one teacher with knowledge of dyslexia to identify and cope with the increasing number of dyslexic students.

“I suggest teachers to come forward and take up training from UPK to know more about dyslexia so they can go back to their respective schools and spread this awareness to other teachers,” said the education officer at the UPK under the Dyslexia Intervention Programme Section.

“Sometimes teachers don’t even know the symptoms of dyslexia because they have no knowledge of it. We need more teachers to undergo training so they can identify students with dyslexia,” she said.

She said children with dyslexia are in luck if their parents are quick to identify it, but if they don’t, the learning disability is less likely to be picked up and they will be at risk of falling behind in the classroom.

“This is where teachers should intervene. If they know of dyslexia and are aware of it, they can easily identify the student with dyslexia and help can be provided as soon as possible,” she said.

Hjh Siti Noraminah said ever since 2009, there has been no addition to the current number of certified teachers that specialises in dyslexia.

“We only have 25 teachers now in Brunei who are specialised in the field of dyslexia,” she said, adding that this was one of UPK’s challenges in catering to dyslexic students.

Language was also one of the barriers preventing teachers in identifying dyslexic students, said the special education officer.

“While it is easier to identify dyslexia in the Brunei-Muara district as most can speak Malay, it is more difficult to address dyslexia in Tutong because of the overlap in language, some are not bilingual so that’s one of the challenges,” she said, explaining that many of the Tutong residents are of Iban descent.

“Because of the language issue, it is really hard to identify whether dyslexia is the primary cause or it is actually just the language,” she said.

“I think there needs to be something done in the area of family and the schools,” she said, adding that more public awareness is needed to help those with dyslexia.

“The more people who understand dyslexia, the more they are able to help those struggling with it,” she said.

The Brunei Times