An Inspirational Story

Back in the 1990s, Daniel was born with a developmental expressive language disorder. Unfortunately, schools at that time could not cater to his challenging needs and teachers were probably ignorant of his condition, let alone know how to deal with it.

Doodling was the only way he knew to help him express himself and he used mind-mapping skills to help him understand and remember his work.

However, beneath this impediment was an immense potential that had yet to be discovered and unfolded. Visiting psychologists for different age levels administered several WISC-III tests to determine his cognitive development and progress and confirmed that whilst Dan continued to demonstrate a low verbal IQ, he had a high performance IQ.

Dan’s parents believed their son had a hidden potential that regular schools would not be able to identify or help to develop and maximize . Because of his unique condition, they decided that the best option was to withdraw Dan from the mainstream education system and home-school him. Dan was 8 years of age then.

In 1997, Dan was assessed by Dr. Noel K.H. Chia who is the board-certified educational therapist outside the United States and registered with the American Association of Educational Therapists.

Dr. Chia advised his mother to help him with his expressive language development while continuing with the home school study programme .

Dan began his oral sensory intervention and started with the 26 letters in the English alphabet. He had problems in pronouncing the letter sounds, but his mother pressed on without giving up hope . She engaged Dan and maintained his interest with funny tongue twisters and catchy nursery rhymes. Dan began picking up all the vowels from these exercises.

He began singing the verses of nursery rhymes like ‘e…i…e…i ..o’ from ‘Old Macdonald had a Farm’ and ‘Row…row...row your Boat’ repetitively. Eventually, Dan progressed from short phrases to grammatically correct sentences and to fluent speech.

Through Dan’s perseverance and unwavering support from his family, he developed into a confident young man. When talking to Dan now, no one would realize that he was once hindered by his childhood language impairment.

Dan has been actively involved in community service and fundraising since the tender age of 8.
At 14, he wanted to raise funds for the less fortunate by doing something different, daring and dependable. He began compiling his science notes as well as sketching illustrations that were comical to make Science an interesting subject to learn, understand and remember. He has turned these into the self-published Dan's Dynamic Dictionary on Science in order to encourage young children to read and see the learning of Science as fun and interesting. He intends to use his book to achieve his fundraising objective. With the help from his family, teachers and the Central District Mayor, Dan's Dynamic Dictionary on Science has become a reality. Dan hopes his colourfully illustrated dictionary can help students to learn through visualisation.

Despite the adversities he faced while coping with his Specific Language Impairment, Dan not only overcame the challenges but also rose above them to become one who helps others. Looking back, Dan realises that his language impairment has actually led him to become the successful social entrepreneur he is today. He is now capable and prepared to meet new challenges with confidence.

Dan hopes his story will be an inspiration to others – Never to give up when facing challenges and to stay strong in overcoming adversities. It is also his way of bringing awareness to all to be more engaged and adopt an inclusive education with open communication for a better learning journey for the young today.