Therapy 101: Educational Therapy and NOT Tuition
Since we found out that Nadine has a learning disability, we have been trying to find methods and means to help her or seminars and tutorials to help us. We were open to try anything that can help her to ease her academic life.
Please know that we are not Tiger parents. This isn’t even in the agenda! Our priority for her is always to ensure she can read and write well, and is confident to communicate her thoughts. She’s now with Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) for a Literacy Programme. The curriculum at DAS focuses on her Phonemic Awareness, Reading Fluency, Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary and Writing. While it is good, we felt there was something else we can do now that she just completed Primary 1.
Nadine can read more confidently now, however, she needs time and effort to “un-code” what she read. You see, for us, we can read out “John is taking a bus to school” and understand that John is going to school in a bus. For Nadine, she reads it as “John” “is” “taking” “a” “bus” “to” “school”. Thereafter, she has to think and possibly look at the sentence again, before concluding that John is going to school. To find out how John went to school, she would need another step to re-read the sentence.
I’m not saddened by this, but very happy with the improved reading ability. I know now we need to help her with her cognitive skills. Stuff that we take for granted like Assumptions, Inference etc.
I was extremely excited when I came across Alpha to Omega , an educational therapy school that looks at individualised education plan to help children acquire academic strategies and skills. They focus on language competence, cognitive strategy and skill development. For me, I thought it was interesting to find a school that doesn’t look at the academic syllabus. Instead, it teaches the strategies required. Thus, you won’t find teachers going through Fractions or Chinese Idioms or Eco-system. There are no assessment books that cover your child’s school syllabus here. It is not your regular Tuition Centre for sure!
You see, the teachers at Alpha to Omega are not the usual MOE trained educators. They are specialists in Learning Development, Child Psychiatry and various learning approaches like Orton-Gillingham, Hornsby or Feurstein. Many are also certified therapists from the National Institute of Learning Development (NILD), a renowned international organisation that does research on intervention for learning development.
Here’s what happens at Alpha to Omega:
Step 1: The parents will have a one-to-one session with one of the Senior Therapists at the centre without the child. The purpose for this session is to understand the needs and concerns of the parents. You can bring along any assessment reports you have done or samples of work your child has. For me, I went in empty-handed. I wanted to explain Nadine’s condition from my own observations. But I did tell them that she has Dyslexia.
Step 2: The child will go through a special 60-90 min assessment administered by the Senior Therapist. You can go have a meal or coffee nearby.
Disclosure: I was very hesitant about this assessment, as Nadine has gone through LOTS of it and she hates it. I was worried that she would clamp up and not give an accurate assessment of her ability. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the assessment done at Alpha to Omega was conducted so subtly that she thought it’s a play session!
Step 3: After about 1-2 weeks, parents will sit in another one-to-one session with the Senior Therapist for the report and findings. The report was thorough (5 pages long!) There’s also an Individualised Education Plan (IEP) that would have been worked out for your child. The IEP would be catered for your child’s ability, and they will show you a sample of what’s planned for your child.
I saw Nadine’s IEP, and I realised I had some difficulties in some of the tasks too! (Possibly hereditary!) The programme will be selected from various Intervention Approaches that would be most appropriate for your child.
Have a look at a portion of Nadine’s assessment findings:
Now look at a part of her IEP:
Thereafter, you get to choose Individual sessions, Paired sessions (2 students in a class) or Group sessions (up to 3 or 4 students) for your child. You can mix and match based on your budget and availability. All paired and group sessions are catered for students with similar learning differences and are all grouped appropriately into the classes.
We are very excited as we have just completed Steps 1-3. Nadine will be starting her IEP next week and we can’t wait to see how the sessions would boost her confidence to think and speak up.
How much does this cost?
For Steps 1-3, it is part of the full Alpha to Omega assessment. This costs $200.
For the intervention programme, you can choose to do it at Alpha to Omega, or to consider other intervention sessions outside. At Alpha to Omega, the prices are as follows:
- Individual sessions are priced at $120-140 per hour.
- Paired sessions are priced at $90 per hour.
- Group programmes are priced at $300 for 4 sessions in a month.
The programmes offered include:
- phonics programme that is focused on reading, writing and spelling
- feuerstein instrumental enrichment (FIE) with mediated learning which is focused on improving a student’s cognitive functions
- fundamentals to sentence writing and word attack – which is aimed at improving vocabulary, comprehension and written expression
There are intensive Holiday programmes available as well. You can send your child in for special intensive individual sessions or group sessions to help fully utilise this holiday period.
Follow us on our journey with Alpha to Omega to find out how Nadine progresses.
This is part of a series I’ve started – Therapy 101, to document Nadine’s developmental struggles and victories, and to journal my own learning experiences as she goes through hers.
Disclosure: The assessment and sessions are sponsored by Alpha to Omega. All opinions are 100% my own. I’m really looking forward to see how these sessions can help Nadine. I was impressed with the intervention programmes and would love to find out how they can help her development.