photo for illustration
Alicia is a 10-year-old girl who frequents Let’s Go Play Outside with her older Sister. Last weekend, I was shocked to hear from her Father that she was diagnosed with Low IQ of 72 and was advised to be transferred to a special school for learning disability. I was shocked because she has always displayed quick-wittedness when bickering and arguing back. She never had problems following instructions and asking questions. There is, however, one particular trait that stood out:
She only spoke Mandarin.
She and her Sister spoke Mandarin proficiently, rarely heard from Singaporean children nowadays. They don’t mix English into their speech, not at all. I was told by their Father this is because he is Chinese educated (he is 60+) and while he spends time teaching them, he could not help them in English or anything taught in English, at all.
So I quickly deduce that maybe, maybe it is a language proficiency issue after all. It’s like if I am given a test in Japanese, I would be dumb, literally. But it is only my Guess. Hence I quickly started Lets Go Learn Together and paid home visits to the children to understand why they are all not doing so well in school.
For Alicia, I realised that my suspicion was right. She struggles with school work because she does not understand the language. It took me sometime to explain a short paragraph consisting four sentences with complex sentence structure. The confusion is common for non-English users. Why is pickpocket, a verb-sounding word, a person? However, because she is strong in Chinese, it is a Breeze to explain to her in Chinese. It’s alot of translation work. And she remembers all that has been taught so quickly – not a sign of Low IQ though I don’t know what is the clinical criteria to label people as such.
With 30 minutes of help each day to do simple reading, I think the girl’s life can be transformed within a year or less.
So now I am appealing to friends and friends of friends who stay in Toa Payoh or nearby, for anyone who can spare some time once week to help this girl. Our facilitators and myself at Let’s Go Play Outside can help her for two days a week. I think a commitment of 4-6 month to start things off will be helpful.
FB post by : Lin Shiyun