Reproduced from EXPAT LIVING - Singapore - January/February 2005
Every problem has
a solution.
by Michelle Leuhman

That's the sort of proactive response any parent of a child with a learning disability would like to hear. June Webb is the founder and key player at Focus on Individual Learning Centre. It is a unique centre here in Singapore because it faces head on the issues of "Special Learning". The focus is on the child, not the disability. In this centre all children can, with the correct learning, perform well in life and in school.
 
June started work as a teacher with an interest in special education, partially brought on by the needs of her own children's unusual learning disabilities. They are now successful adults working through tertiary education. June admits it was a series of struggles, firstly to admit that there was something not quite right with the children's learning, secondly to find the right help, and thirdly to cope with the guilt which every parent (and particularly mothers) feel, when told that their child is not 'right'.
We should clarify the term 'disability'. It encompasses, but is not limited to, the now more familiar diagnoses of Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, CAPD and Aspergers. These are typically difficult to distinguish at a young age, and are normally diagnosed after the child demonstrates the frustration and stress associated with not coping. It often results in drug treatments, expulsion from school and the child being labeled 'difficult' or 'dumb'. Focus on Individual Learning's aim is to give the child new ways to learn which encompass and compensate for the learning disability, by focusing on what they can do and then extending that into positive learning strategies for school and life.
 
The basis of the programme is five assessment areas: visual congruence - how well does the child use their eyes to focus, change focus and manage changes in depth of vision; audio processing - how well does the individual distinguish, process and understand sounds and what they mean; primitive reflexes - has the body adopted and learnt how to use the muscels independently or has the muscle memory not been completely comprehensive in its development; symbol mastery - can the brain understand and retain the basics of symbols, letters, numbers and combinations to enable it to comprehend the basics of language; and linear sequencing - as an individual can the person follow the linear sequencing of numbers, times, written text or do they find it difficult to follow what most of us consider basic.
For each of the diagnostic areas there is a range of teaching techniques which aim to redress the lack of learning technique and provide the learner with something that has individual meaning and allows them to fully function in the classroom and in life. If you are unsure of your child's learning skills or feel that there is something not quite right, then trust your instincts and find out what can be done to help. Take the pressure of yourself, your child and the rest of the family.

You can contact June at Focus on Individual Learning on 9835 4030 or email her at june@focusonindividuallearning.com
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