Overcoming Dyslexic Challenges Through Game

Dyslexia, a neurobiological learning disability, affects about 20,000 primary and secondary students in Singapore. An average of one to two students in a class of 40 can be dyslexic and some of these cases require immediate intervention through professional educational therapy. Dyslexia does not have a cure in a traditional sense, but it can be managed through methods designed to overcome the challenges that people with dyslexia experience.

Swords & Stationery, a Singapore-based educational therapy centre, launched a world-first-of-a-kind educational therapy programme based on the Orton-Gillingham approach. Teacher Shaun Low, founder of Swords & Stationery, through his years of experience in helping children with learning difficulties, found that even the Orton-Gillingham method was not sufficient to address all the difficulties that children face. Many students are also challenged by low self-confidence, speech and language issues, motor skill difficulties and behavioural problems. As a result, Shaun designed a more interactive approach in educational therapy where the entirety of the curriculum is in a gamified format, and launched the first and only educational therapy programme in Asia and globally that directly integrates tabletop games, role-playing games (RPGs) and war games into the curriculum. The play-based method increases students’ motivation to learn as they become invested in the stories and themes.

“Traditional education does not significantly capture the real struggles that students with learning difficulties go through. Through our role-playing games and custom-tailored lesson plans, we have turned literal non-readers into avid writers, non-verbal students into confident speakers and disengaged children have rediscovered the joy in learning. Every child deserves academic success, and our game-based curriculum has been life-changing for our students.”

– Shaun Low, Founder of Swords & Stationery

These interactive games help students work on their academics, as well as their behavioural and emotional management. They are customised to simulate specific situations in a controlled and safe environment that allows learning soft skills like communication and moral values. Through active learning and with improved motivation and behaviour, the students do better in academics.

Role-playing games (RPGs) are a core part of the programme to promote critical and lateral thinking, or the ability to objectively analyse something and think out of the box. They allow students to experience thrilling stories from a first-person perspective, thereby opening new channels of learning.

Academic literature shows that Swords & Stationary’s unique methodology and use of tabletop games are also a powerful and effective tool for learning, requiring students to think differently and strategise, thereby improving and developing their imagination and intellect. Executive functioning skills that include mental control, the ability to organise and retrieve information and self-regulate behaviour are also developed through these games. Face-to-face communication also encourages interactions that help children empathise and synchronise better with one another. They reduce pressure and anxiety and create a stress-free learning environment. There are so many different types of tabletop games available. Word games such as Codenames, card games like Munchkin, dice games such as Rory’s Story Cubes, and deductive games like The Resistance are just some examples.

While these gamified interactions are an integral part of a child’s development, it is also important for students to learn boundaries. Games also teach boundaries to students. Adopting the rules of each game, a child’s responsibility to self-regulate his or her own behaviour is developed over time.

Swords & Stationery is committed to finding the most effective and unique methods to help students perform to the best of their abilities. Integrating a play-based approach in managing learning difficulties has proven to be beneficial to Swords & Stationery’s students in both their academic and social behaviour, and life-changing for many of them.

For more information about Swords & Stationery, please visit their website https://swordsandstationery.com/.

Images: Swords & Stationery


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