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 Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Helping children with learning disabilities such as dyslexia to acquire reading and spelling skills will not only open doors for them to engage with the community but also participate fully in it.

Dyslexia Association of Sarawak (DAS) vice-president Richard Sia said this when speaking during the certificate presentation ceremony for participants of the Empower Program organized by the US Department of State, which was held at the Sarawak State Library yesterday.

“With the ability to read and acquire information from resources out there, we hope that these children will gain access and be included in mainstream schools and communities, thus providing them with accessibility and inclusiveness through empowering them in reading.

“With this new knowledge and techniques, we hope to create and improve the support for dyslexic children and adults, and for children with other learning disabilities to acquire learning skills in reading, spelling and learning English”.

Last month, DAS and SK Laksamana Kuching in collaboration with state Education Department and Yayasan Sarawak conducted a reading camp for Primary 3 students, where children were immersed in English teaching and language.

The camp was a pilot project to empower children with learning disabilities through an intensive reading program over a seven-day period at Yayasan Sarawak in Kuching.
“All our children have shown a significant improvement in their pre-camp and post camp assessments for the English language”, shared Sia, adding that the children’s progress would continue to be monitored over the next six months.

During his speech, Yun praised the state library for its beauty and expressed the US Embassy’s willingness to continue to work together with the library to help it expand as well as provide other means of support such as exchanges and lectures.

“To me, having this mix is very, very important and I do believe, such a mix is a very important ingredient in how a nation succeeds. Again, this is very much full of hope as I come and see what you have done in Sarawak”, he said.

During his speech, His Excellency said the Embassy was very happy to have played a small part in enabling the Empower Program as well as the camp to take flight.

“We’re here to recognize what we one can do with a serious disability like dyslexia. Dyslexia is something that is not readily visible, not like many disabilities. When we recognize that, and when we have exchanges, mentors, tutors, who can really make sure that people with dyslexia can live full lives – more than that, lives with learning, I think that makes an enormous contribution. I am very happy to honour the Dyslexia association, what Richard Sia and his group have done. We are very happy to be a very small part of how we can highlight and assist in this effort”.

According to an event information handout, the Empower Program is a new series of two-way exchanges aimed at bolstering international disability rights by providing opportunities to disability advocates for professional development, internships, training, networking, and collaboration with their US peers.

The program is run by the Professional Exchanges Division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in partnership with Mobility International USA (Miusa). The exchanges coincide with efforts to promote and ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the administration.

(Source: Borneo Post)