PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian education system has failed to address the needs of dyslexic students in the country, says Persatuan Dyslexia Malaysia (PDM) president Sariah Amirin.
In an interview with FMT, she said teachers were not trained to recognise and meet the needs of such children, making them feel left out and alone in the classroom.
Sariah was responding to a letter from an FMT reader outlining the challenges her dyslexic son faced in school.
The reader said it would be better for children with dyslexia to learn by interactive methods to foster understanding of concepts rather than through reading and rote memorisation.
Dyslexic persons have difficulty reading and writing because they cannot process alphabets into words. The PDM website says an estimated one in 20 Malaysian students have dyslexia.
Sariah said dyslexic children would learn better when allowed to participate in group interaction and to have discussions with their teachers.
“They are not lazy and stupid as the public perceives,” she said. “They just learn in a different way.”
She said the Malaysian education system’s emphasis on examinations and memorisation of facts was especially disadvantageous to dyslexic children.
PDM has conducted training for teachers dealing with such children, but Sariah said the teachers were unable to make use of the teaching methods they had learnt due to the inadequacy of teaching materials.
She said many cases of dyslexia went undiagnosed, leaving those with the condition without the help and support they needed.
“Often, such children are ridiculed and they feel unwelcome,” she added. -FMT