Learning support experts play a crucial role in many children’s development. Not immediately apparent to new parents, these experts will be abe to diagnose developmental issues on mental, emotional, physical, cognitive states and treat them.

The Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) provides allied educators in all government primary and secondary schools to support and nurture students who struggle with their learning. The team of allied educators include the School Counsellors, AED (Learning and Behavioural Support), Relief Allied Educator (READ), Outdoor Adventure Educator and the Student Welfare Officers.

Primary 1 and 2 students who require support in their English and Math learning will be pulled out from their classes to join the Learning Support Programme (LSP), a smaller group where a specially trained teacher will help improve the students’ competency in these subjects. On the other hand, the learning and behavioural support allied educators help those suffering from speical needs, such as dyslexia, autism, asperger and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Parents should, however, arrest any learning problem and developmental concern in their children as early as the problems are detected, way before the children enter Primary 1.

In actualyse.com, we provide Learning Support directories because we understand the very crucial role these learning support experts play in diagnosing and supporting children’s learning. The directories include:


Psychologists


Psychologists diagnose learning problems and mental distress and disorders, including:
• Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of developmental disabilities, which affect a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Children with ASD have difficulties in three key areas – difficulties in communication, difficulties in social interaction, and impairments in interests, activities and other behaviours. Asperger syndrome was generally considered to be on the “high functioning” end of the autism spectrum.

• Intellectual Disability
Children with intellectual disability (ID) show significant difficulties in cognitive and adaptive functioning. Cognitive functioning refers to the ability to think, concentrate, formulate ideas, reason and remember. Adaptive functioning refers to the ability to handle daily demands in life independently, and includes communication, self-care, home living, motor, social and interpersonal skills.

• Learning Disability
Children with learning disabilities may have difficulties with reading, writing, spelling, recalling and organising information. This is caused by differences in the way their brains developed. Learning disabilities are not due to disadvantaged backgrounds, poor teaching, and lack of education or low intelligence. Many children with learning disabilities have very good thinking and reasoning abilities. With appropriate support, these children can overcome their learning difficulties and achieve academic success.

Among children in mainstream schools, two of the most common disabilities that affect learning are dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that mainly affects the development of literacy and language-related skills. The core symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

• Hearing Impairment
Hearing impairment refers to both complete and partial loss of the ability to hear. Hearing loss can be conductive (may be treatable) or sensor neural (which will require hearing aids or cochlear implants). The psychologists treat the depression and emotional stress that come about with the impairment.

• Visual Impairment
Visual impairment refers to the limitation or absence of sight, which includes partial sight or blindness. It is a severe reduction in vision that cannot be corrected with standard glasses or contact lenses, and reduces a person’s ability to function in some or all tasks. The psychologists treat the depression and emotional stress that come about with the impairment.

• Celebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by brain injuries or abnormalities. Children with cerebral palsy may suffer a loss of muscle coordination and motor skills, speech difficulties, learning disabilities or other problems.

• Trauma from highly-stressed situations such as frequent parent-quarreling, parental neglect, child abuse etc.

• Others


Psychiatrists


Psychiatrists work with psychologists closely to support patients who may need medication to gain self-control and consciousness of their surroundings. They usually treat a wide range of mental issues, such as:

• Anxiety Disorders
• Autism
• Attention Deficit (ADHD) [Previously is: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder]
• Bipolar Disorder
• Drug Dependence Therapy
• Insomnia
• Major Depressive Disorders [Previously is: Major depressive disorder or dysthymia]
• Psychosis, including Schizophrenia (remove 'Antipsychotics')
• Others


Counsellors


Counsellors provide emotional support and coping strategies on a range of emotional issues, such as

• Anger Management
• Depression
• Relationship and Marital Counselling
• Stress
• Other Counselling Services


Dieticians


Dieticians, or Nutritionists, is an allied health professional who dianogse and guide patients and caregivers how best to plan and execute a balanced diet for an optimal health and a learning mind. They often possess a Degree in Health, Dietetics, Food Service System Management or Food Science.


Speech Therapists


Speech Therapists diagnose and treat speaking disorders as listed below. Most qualified speech therapists will first direct a first-time patient to do a hearing test with a hearing specialist to eliminate hearing problem, because how the sound goes into the ears will be how it comes out of the mouth. If there is no hearing issue, then other aspects of the tongue, mouth and the child’s living environment will be studied. Speech therapists usually diagnose:

• Cognitive-communication Disorders
• Language Disorders
• Speech Sound Disorders
• Stuttering (fluency) Disorders
• Voice Disorders
• Others


Hearing Specialists


Hearing Specialists diagnose the hearing ability of a person, and provide hearing aid for structural hearing problem. She will also be able to advise the next step if she suspects other medical causes that may have led to hearing issues. Hearing specialists usually provide the following services:

• Hearing Diagnosis
• Hearing Loss Problems
• Auditory Processing Problems
• Others


Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT) Specialists


Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT) Specialists are sometimes the end of a funnel of medical investigations that start from speech and hearing problems. They should be the experts to look for if you have noticed that your child tosses a lot in his sleep, snores loudly, has cold-like sniffles without a running nose, or cannot pronounce words clearly (read founder’s story). Sometimes, a sudden decrease in speech development and speech clarity may indicate fluid-buildup in his ear-nose canal. A trip to a Hearing Specialist, followed by a visit to an ENT doctor with the Hearing Specialist’s report can be revealing. Fortunately, the problem is often easily resolved with an operation. The earlier this is resolved, the earlier your child can resume his normal learning.


Eye Specialists


Eye Specialists should not be confused with Opticians, the latter being someone helping you with myopia (short-sightedness) and far-sighted problems. An eye specialist examines the eye ball and its internal structure to detect any deterioration in the eye to prevent serious eye problems from developing. Ever heard of retinal detachment, ‘worms’ (blood specs) in the eyes? These can only be detected and prevented if the eye specialists do a detailed eyeball health check. In fact, one should go for a eye health check every 6 months, just like dental check-up. Centres such as the New Optometry and Ocular Care Centre (NOOCC EYE CENTRE) offers in-depth eye check at a very affordable fees that cannot be found in an optician shop. A detailed eye check by qualified eye specialists should be able to detect the following problems:

• Eye Health and Refractive Problems
• Functional Vision Problems
• Perceptual Vision Problems
• Vision Therapy
• Others