Child overcomes Dyslexia to pass Primary School Leaving Examination in Singapore

In line with Aamir Khan’s film ‘Taare Zameen Par’ where the screen hero inspires a dyslexic child to give wings to his imagination and become a good painter, a child has come out with flying colours in PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination) exams in Singapore.

Despite facing acute case of Dyslexia, a 12 year child of Singapore Sri John Albert David has qualified PSLE exam. Photo courtesy:

Meet Sri John Albert David, a 12 year child from Da Qiao Primary School who improved his performance in preliminary exams scoring a T-score of 156 points. John encountered lot of difficulties right from his childhood on account of dyslexia but the boy emerged victorious every time.

The child is a living example of perseverance, labour and dedication. His woes started right from childhood as his parents abandoned him and he was brought up by grandparents.

He was suffering with acute dyslexia in which a person is unable to understand alphabets and face difficulties in reading, writing and spelling words.

Being dyslexic, he had difficulty in studying various subjects in the school. He hated English as he was unable to understand the alphabets. Problem in reading also affected his grades in Mathematics and Science.

In the first term of his Primary Six year, he failed in all his subjects. However, he did not give up. Three times a week, he would first study with his friends after school at a student centre.

His perseverance and hard labour borne fruit with better than expected results in Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). Sri John managed to score grade 1 in Mathematics and Science, qualified for the Normal (Academic) stream in secondary school- no easy feat for a student who took foundational subjects.

In spite of being dyslexic, Sri John also helps his grandfather George John who is afflicted with kidney problems. John regularly takes his grandfather to the dialysis centre and also fetches food and bathes him.

His teacher in the primary 6 Chitra Devi Guna played an important role in Sri John’s success. She suggested that Sri John should take foundation-level subjects, which are meant for students who are not academically inclined. While his grandmother objected, as it meant he would not be able to enter the Express stream, Guna pointed out that it was preferable to him failing his PSLE.

It was also Guna who suggested having an invigilator assigned to read exam questions to Sri John. The idea came after she read out a maths question to Sri John, and was surprised that he understood and could solve math concepts. Reading, she said, hindered his performance.

The school wrote to the Ministry of Education (MOE) to make a case for this special provision to be provided during the PSLE, and it was approved.  

Sri John has also keen interest in robotics, a co-curricular activity he took up in Primary and hopes to become an engineer.

We do hope that dyslexia would not be a major handicap for this child and he will pursue his interest and become an engineer.

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