Tag - Blog

A School In The Heart Of The City

As a parent working in the bustling city centre of Singapore, finding the right balance between your work and family life can be a constant challenge. When it comes to your child's education, you would prefer a school that provides academic excellence and is seamlessly integrated into your hectic schedule.

At the Integrated International School, we understand the unique needs of busy parents like you and offer an unmatched educational experience that goes beyond the traditional classroom. Located in the heart of Singapore's CBD, at Capital Square Two (21 Church Street), our school provides a holistic approach to education that empowers your child's future and also offers you the convenience and flexibility of sending your child here.

Unbeatable Convenience & Flexibility

Imagine having the luxury of saying goodbye to long commutes and the stress of navigating through rush hour traffic, just to pick up or drop off your child at school. At IIS, we understand the importance of time and convenience, which is why our campus is located within walking distance of major office buildings in the city. Our convenient location at Capital Square Two allows you to streamline your daily routine, dropping off and picking up your child before and after work, with MRT stations like Telok Ayer (DTL), Raffles Place (NSL/EWL), Clarke Quay (NEL) and Maxwell (TEL) within a 10 minutes walking distance from our campus.

Not only that, you can also drop by and check in on your child and even take part in our campus events and activities, which will help you become more involved in your child's education. By having the school campus located in a more convenient location, you can still be actively involved in your child's learning journey.

Cultural Immersion at Your Doorstep: A Vibrant City Campus Experience

Our school's location is more than just convenient - it places your child at the heart of Singapore's vibrant cultural scene. With world-renowned museums, art galleries and historical landmarks such as the Asian Civilisations Museum just a stone's throw away, your child will have endless opportunities to explore and learn about different cultures beyond the classroom. This exposure helps broaden their horizons, cultivate a deep appreciation for diversity and instil a global perspective at a young age. As a parent, you'll find it effortless to take your child on educational outings to these enriching destinations, making learning an integrated part of your family's lifestyle. With such enriching experiences, your child is sure to thrive both academically and holistically.

Why Integrated International School?

At the Integrated International School, we are passionate about providing quality childhood education and believe that every child receives the personalised support they need to thrive academically and emotionally. We offer an integrated approach to therapy, combining the expertise of teachers, psychologists, and therapists in a safe and nurturing learning environment. This collaborative effort ensures that each child receives a tailored intervention plan to address their unique needs. 

Catering to all ages in your child’s formative developmental years, the Integrated International School is proud to offer an international and inclusive early childhood education, private primary and secondary education in Singapore.With our unique location, academic excellence, and supportive community, IIS is the perfect choice for your child. Want to learn more about the Integrated International School? Contact us today for a school tour. See you soon!

Your 2024 Guide To Choosing An Inclusive Preschool in Singapore

Just as every child progresses at their own pace, they also tend to learn in different ways as well. Consequently, some children may struggle to flourish in a standardised, one-size-fits-all educational environment. Fortunately in Singapore, there are numerous options available for children who require additional in-school support, offering adaptable learning styles and an inclusive, nurturing environment that adapts to your child’s social and behavioural challenges. 

You might be wondering which inclusive preschools out there would be suitable for your child. In our comprehensive guide, we will be providing you with three valuable tips to help you discover the preschool that would best cater to your child's unique needs.

Tip #1: Find a School That Personalises The Learning Experience

In early childhood education, some children may have some behavioural or social challenges which makes it harder for them to learn in a larger setting. Hence, having an individualised education plan would be more suitable for them, personalising the learning experience to build their knowledge, skills and interest according to their developmental stage, rather than by age. This ensures that children are given the support they require, within a nurturing learning environment, to achieve their full potential.

At the Integrated International School, we specialise in early childhood education in Singapore with smaller class sizes (student-to-teacher ratio of 5:1), with each child having an Individualised Education Plan (IEP) based on their learning needs, designed to prepare them for an academic curriculum.

Tip #2: Find a School with In-House Therapy Services

With your child spending over 50% of their waking hours in school, it's ideal for your child to have support within this environment as well. Having in-house therapy services is beneficial as teachers can work closely together with therapists to closely monitor the progress of your child. With an integrated approach to therapy, combining the expertise of teachers, psychologists, and therapists, this approach helps to also foster positive relationships between students and support school specialists, leading to effective intervention outcomes. 

Recognising the importance of in-house therapy services, the Integrated International School offers Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in-house to support our students in their development. At our new campus location on Church Street, we have specially-designed spaces that help our students develop their fine and gross motor skills, and learn through play. In addition, our in-house support staff have private suites to provide child counselling, speech and Naturalistic Behaviour Intervention (NBI) therapy sessions.

Tip #3: Find a School That Prepares Your Child For Primary Education

There are a wide range of programmes out there that seek to either improve your child’s social and behavioural challenges, or are solely focused on preparing your child academically for primary school education. Parents often resort to signing up for multiple preparatory programmes which can be costly and time-consuming to both parents and children. But what if there was a school programme that integrated these two objectives to nurture your child’s social, behavioural and academic development holistically?

Believing that every child deserves a chance to redefine success and achieve their fullest potential, the Integrated International School is guided by the British Pearson Edexcel curriculum, which is internationally-recognised. Our teachers are specialised in teaching this academic curriculum to students while accommodating to each child’s unique needs within a small class environment.

Why Choose IIS?

At the Integrated International School, we are passionate about providing quality childhood education and believe that every child receives the personalised support they need to thrive academically and emotionally. We offer an integrated approach to therapy, combining the expertise of teachers, psychologists, and therapists in a safe and nurturing learning environment. This collaborative effort ensures that each child receives a tailored intervention plan to address their unique needs. 

Want to learn more about how the Integrated International School can help your child? Contact us today for a school tour. See you soon!

Art Therapy in Singapore at IIS

How Art Therapy Complements Occupational Therapy in Your Child’s Development in Singapore

In the previous blog, we introduced what Occupational Therapy is and how it creates a strong foundation for your child’s development journey. Today, we will be exploring the world of Art Therapy in Singapore, and how the evidence-based treatment approach complements Occupational Therapy through creative methods of expression to provide your child the support that they need.

Art Therapy in Singapore

What is Art Therapy in Singapore?

Art therapy uses art-making to help children communicate and heal. Through various art materials and techniques, like painting, drawing and sculpting, children tap into their inner world and communicate their thoughts, emotions and experiences in a non-verbal manner, and in a safe and comfortable environment.

Art therapy helps children to:

  • Have better emotional regulation and sense of control
  • Improve their fine and gross motor skills
  • Express themselves creatively
  • Improve their focus and attention

How Art Therapy Complements Occupational Therapy in Singapore

Occupational therapy focuses on enabling people to engage in meaningful daily activities, while art therapy utilises creative expression for emotional and psychological healing. Together, they provide a holistic approach, using purposeful activities and artistic outlets to address physical, emotional, and mental health challenges to foster a comprehensive and personalised therapeutic experience.

Why Does the Integrated International School Singapore Provide Occupational Therapy and Art Therapy?

At the Integrated International School, we offer an integrated approach to therapy, combining the expertise of teachers, psychologists, and therapists in a safe and nurturing learning environment. This collaborative effort ensures that each child receives a tailored intervention plan to address their unique needs. This approach fosters positive relationships between students and support school specialists, leading to effective intervention outcomes, and ensuring every child receives the personalised support they need to thrive academically and emotionally.


Want to learn more about how the Integrated International School can help your child? Contact us today for a school tour. See you soon!

Occupational Therapy in Singapore at the Integrated International School (IIS)

Nurturing Your Child’s Growth through Occupational Therapy in Singapore

In the intricate tapestry of childhood development, some children may need more support than others. In the previous blog, we explored the effectiveness of child counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy and play therapy services in Singapore. Today, we’ll be introducing how Occupational Therapy singapore creates a strong foundation for your children to flourish in their developmental journey.

Occupational Therapy in Singapore

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a treatment designed to help children with sensory integration or developmental delays achieve independence in their daily activities, including writing, tying a shoelace, and zipping a jacket. Occupational therapy aids children in their physical, cognitive and social development, ensuring these early challenges do not impact future learning, and enhances their self-esteem.

With occupational therapy, children can:

  • Develop fine motor skills so they can grasp and release toys
  • Improve eye–hand coordination 
  • Master basic life skills like bathing, getting dressed, brushing teeth, and self-feeding
  • Learn positive behaviours and social skills by practising how they manage frustration and anger

Here are some key signs that your child may need Occupational Therapy:

  • Delayed oral motor and sensory skills (e.g., difficulty chewing, swallowing, and drinking)
  • Failure to reach physical, age-appropriate developmental milestones such as sitting, crawling or walking
  • Poor fine motor skills (grasping, buttoning, cutting, shoe-tying, utensil use)
  • Not developing age-appropriate play and social skills


At the Integrated International School, our in-house therapist professionals will develop specific goals and interventions personalised to your child’s developmental stage, so that your child can achieve independent, maximised functioning.

Why Does the Integrated International School Singapore Provide Occupational Therapy?

At the Integrated International School, we offer an integrated approach to therapy, combining the expertise of teachers, psychologists, and therapists in a safe and nurturing learning environment. This collaborative effort ensures that each child receives a tailored intervention plan to address their unique needs. This approach fosters positive relationships between students and support school specialists, leading to effective intervention outcomes, and ensuring every child receives the personalised support they need to thrive academically and emotionally.

Want to learn more about how the Integrated International School can help your child? Contact us today for a school tour. See you soon!

Child Counselling & Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at the Integrated International School (IIS) Singapore

How Child Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Play Therapy Can Help Empower Your Child in Singapore

Navigating an unfamiliar school environment can be daunting for children, and some may require additional support to work through their daily challenges. Wondering how support services in Singapore, like child counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy and play therapy can make a difference to your child? Read on to find out.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy & Child Counselling: Nurturing A Child’s Emotional Well-being

Child Counselling & Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: What's The Difference?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps children to modify their thinking patterns and habits in the present. It involves identifying and examining how negative thoughts influence their actions and then replacing them with positive ones. On the other hand, Child Counselling is more focused on the child's past experiences. The effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling varies depending on the child's needs. While cognitive behavioural therapy may work better for some children, counselling may be more effective for others.

Conditions Addressed through Child Counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy include:

  • Anger management
  • Anxiety/Panic Disorders
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Behavioural Issues
  • Bipolar Disorders
  • Chronic Stress
  • Communication Challenges
  • Depression
  • Disruptive behaviour disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Lack of Emotional Regulation
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Self-harm
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Child Counselling

Managing and nurturing the emotional well-being of children is extremely important, but it can be challenging to approach the topic and get a child to open up. Having identified this issue, child counselling services are provided at the Integrated International School to provide a safe and nurturing environment where children can express themselves freely with a trained in-house counsellor. 

Through individual or group counselling, children will discuss their thoughts and emotions and are equipped with tools for stress management, self-awareness, mindfulness, and problem-solving. Our professional support staff will encourage students to discuss anything that’s on their mind. These child counselling singapore sessions help children identify their emotions and provide them with the tools to handle stress, grow self-awareness, utilise mindfulness techniques, and develop problem-solving skills.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a form of talk therapy that aims to help children identify and replace negative thoughts with positive ones. The method is useful in tackling personal challenges that the child may be facing, fostering resilience, and equipping children with valuable life skills.

For example, a child might say “Reading is so boring and difficult for me. I give up, I am never going to read books again!”. Cognitive behavioural therapy approaches the situation from a more positive and objective standpoint, such as “Reading may be a challenge for me, but I am not going to give up. I am just as smart as the other kids and I will overcome this challenge.”

Cognitive behavioural therapy singapore also focuses on the present and future, which helps children understand that they have little control over what has happened in the past. Children are instead encouraged to reflect on how they can better regulate their emotions and behaviour. Empirical methods used in cognitive behavioural therapy have proven effective in treating various conditions.

At the Integrated International School, our team of experienced teachers work closely alongside our in-house psychologists and therapists to tweak each child's cognitive behavioural therapy approach, in environments where the children feel most at ease. This level of detail ensures that positive relationships are fostered, children are more receptive to therapy sessions, and ultimately leads to more effective intervention outcomes.

Play Therapy: Helping Children Express Themselves Through Play

Play therapy helps children to express their thoughts and feelings in a safe and non-judgmental environment. It is based on the idea that children naturally use play as a way of communicating, and that by using play in therapy, children can express themselves more easily than through traditional talk therapy. This therapy is generally used with children who are between the ages of 3 and 12.

How can Play Therapy help my child?

Play therapy is a helpful approach for children dealing with emotional or behavioural issues. It provides them with a safe and natural outlet to express themselves through play, allowing them to develop a sense of control and work through difficult situations. Play therapy also helps children to learn important social skills, such as communication, cooperation, and negotiation. By engaging in play, children can acquire new coping mechanisms and learn how to redirect inappropriate behaviours.

Play therapy can be either directive or nondirective. In the directive approach, the therapist specifies the toys or games to be used and guides the play with a specific goal in mind. In the nondirective approach, the child is free to choose their own toys and games and play in their way with minimal instructions or interruptions. The therapist observes closely and participates as appropriate.

Sessions must take place in an environment where the child feels safe and where there are few limitations. The therapist may use techniques that involve creative visualisation, storytelling, role-playing puppets, stuffed animals, dance and creative movement, arts and crafts and more. Through playtime, the therapist can observe and gain insights into a child’s problems. The therapist can then help the child explore emotions and deal with unresolved trauma.

Play Therapy may help in a variety of conditions:

  • Aggressive or angry behaviour
  • Anxiety, depression, grief
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Developmental delay or learning disabilities
  • Domestic violence, abuse, or neglect
  • Eating and toileting disorders
  • Facing medical procedures, chronic illness, or palliative care
  • Family issues, like divorce, separation, or death of a close family member
  • Natural disasters or traumatic events
  • Problem behaviours in school

However, it's important to note that play therapy should not be considered a substitute for medication or any other necessary treatments in case your child has a diagnosed mental or physical illness. Play therapy can be used alone or in combination with other therapies to help your child manage their condition more effectively.

Why Does the Integrated International School Singapore Provide In-House Child Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Play Therapy?

Child counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy and play therapy will be pivotal in supporting your child's emotional well-being, fostering resilience, and equipping them with essential life skills. At the Integrated International School, we offer an integrated approach to therapy, combining the expertise of teachers, psychologists, and therapists in a safe and nurturing learning environment.

This collaborative effort ensures that each child receives a tailored intervention plan to address their unique needs. This approach fosters positive relationships between students and support school specialists, leading to effective intervention outcomes, and ensuring every child receives the personalised support they need to thrive academically and emotionally.

Want to find out more on how the Integrated International School can help your child? Contact us today for a school tour. See you soon!

Does My Child have Autism?

As autism awareness becomes more prevalent, parents now have access to a wealth of information regarding the condition, along with the early warning signs that they can look out for when it comes to their own child. All children develop at different rates, parents should not automatically become concerned if their child does not hit certain milestones right away. Every child develops at their own pace, after all. If, however, you find your child consistently missing milestones by more than a few weeks, then parents are encouraged to seek advice from their pediatrician and or a clinical psychologist, who can guide you towards the next steps for a professional assessment and potential diagnosis. Catching the early signs of autism can make a drastic difference to your child’s development; by equipping your child with the best tools and support to help them thrive, as well as improving prognosis.

What is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder, (ASD) is a pervasive neurodevelopmental disorder that develops during early childhood. The condition can typically be characterised through displayed behaviours such as struggles in social interactions, obsessive/repetitive behaviours, and poor emotional regulation.

ASD is an incredibly vast spectrum, and no one person with ASD is the same and can manifest into varying degrees depending on the severity of the child’s symptoms. An individual with autism can be described as ‘high’ or ‘low’ functioning. Those who are higher functioning can generally manage their behaviour but can struggle in areas such as social interaction and sensory processing issues.

Why is early intervention so critical?

The early years of a child’s life are extremely important in setting the foundation for future development. The human brain grows rapidly between the ages of 0-5 and is the period where research shows early intervention to be the most effective. This is due to the brain’s remarkable ability to adapt, which is why early intensive treatment may help rewire and even improve some symptoms. This does not mean that improvement is not possible should intervention be introduced later in childhood, nor does it guarantee success.

How to detect early signs?

No one knows your child more than you do. As a parent, you are in the best position to observe your child, and by knowing the signs to look out for, you can catch them early. If your child is in daycare, you can set a meeting with teachers to check in on their development or discuss any concerns you have at home to see if the same behaviours are happening in environments outside the home. Again, it is important not to compare your child to other kids since they all develop and thrive at different paces, but any learning difficulties or red flags should be brought up as soon as possible.

What are the early signs parents should look out for?

Diagnosing autism before 18 is possible but professionals prefer to assess children after this age as they can ascertain a more accurate prognosis. It can also be trickier to diagnose girls as they are four times less likely than boys to go undiagnosed, however, these numbers are improving as we learn more about the presentation of autism in girls.

Here are some of the early signs that can suggest autism in infants and toddlers:

6 months:

Does not smile or express other joyful emotions

Does not make eye contact (for example during feeding or playtime)

Does not respond to their name or familiar voices

Does not imitate facial expressions such as smiling

12 months:

Does not babble or 'baby talk'

Does not show gestures such as pointing, reaching out, or waving

Rarely shows interest in caregivers

16 - 14 months:

Does not use spoken words

Does not use two-word phrases that aren't repetitive

Displays repetitive movement or behaviours

It is important to remember that a child with autism can thrive with the right help and support, and it's a matter of helping them navigate the world through their amazing eyes. Today there is a range of support services available, that when used efficiently, can allow your child to flourish. As a special needs school in Singapore, IIS provides a safe and nurturing environment for our kids, where we embrace differences while treating all our students with equal respect.

Our team of dedicated staff is here to help your child reach their potential. Find out more about our dedicated support services here.

What is Dyspraxia (or Developmental Co-ordination Disorder)?

Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe is certainly a popular hero on film, but he’s also become a hero to many children with learning disabilities. After speaking out about his difficulty with a simple task such as tying his shoelaces, he went onto share he has a mild form of dyspraxia (or developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD). Those who have this condition tend to find it hard to plan and coordinate physical movement.

Children with dyspraxia may experience difficulty in functioning everyday life skills such as handwriting, typing, struggling to throw and/or catch a ball or cutting with scissors. It may also affect their ability to speak clearly. In adulthood, these difficulties may continue as they learn new skills at home, in education and work (such as driving a car and DIY tasks).

Many people with dyspraxia may also struggle with short-term memory, perception, processing and speech. For example, a person may mix up the steps when completing a task they’ve done before or may not remember what to do first. There are notable signs or symptoms that are commonly associated with dyspraxia:

Poor handwriting and consistently struggling to write

Trouble with visual-spatial tasks

Noticeably stressed or struggling with gross motor skills (e.g. hopping, jumping, skipping)

Appearing disorganised and often forgetful

Sensory processing issues

Difficulty in following instructions

Avoiding physical exercise and games

Slow development of functional skills with dressing, grooming or hygiene

Children may not be diagnosed until they reach primary school age (6-7 years onwards) because there is no simple test for dyspraxia and symptoms can be missed or overlooked as they may overlap with other possible conditions. As children are still developing their muscular strength, this can also affect their motor skills and capabilities. This is where OT can be very effective as it allows therapists to address sensory processing issues by applying appropriate prompts to encourage children to attempt tasks. One of the main approaches applied in OT is ‘self-regulation therapy’, which is conducted by gradually exposing kids to common sensory stimulation in a controlled, structured, and repetitive way, allowing the brain to adapt over time. The gradual approach of this technique helps to ensure that the body is receiving and interpreting the correct messages from the muscles, while training the nervous system to respond to common sensations and movements in a coordinated manner.

This approach is typically branched out into 3 areas:

Sensory Regulation/Self-Regulation

This relates to a child’s capacity to appropriately increase or decrease their level of alertness or arousal to match their situation and surroundings. Children typically begin to display signs of self-regulation by age 2, where they can follow the behaviour guidelines of those around them. By age 3, most children can more-or-less generalise self-regulation strategies from previous prompts and experiences from authority figures. Children with dyspraxia however, may struggle with this, which can result in emotional stress when it comes to dealing with complex situations or social demands. With quality OT however, these children can show significant improvement.

Emotional/Behavioural Regulation

This refers to the ability to manage our emotions. From a neuro-typical stance, toddlers and teenagers can struggle in this area but over time, the connections in their brain will continue to strengthen. Kids with dyspraxia, however, can struggle to make these connections on their own which is where OT is extremely beneficial.

Cognitive Regulation

This helps to encourage a child’s ability to use the mental processes necessary to improve their problem-solving abilities. This is particularly important when it comes to concentrating on school tasks and teaching persistence and perseverance skills.

At the Integrated International School, we provide Occupational Therapy under our Support Services. Our therapists will work one-to-one in our purpose-built OT space and focus on specific skill development for children with learning difficulties, while providing advice and strategies to teachers which they can implement and adapt to the classroom setting. This collaborative approach also ensures that everyone including parents are working together to provide the best outcome for the child.

If you’d like to find out more about our special education Singapore Support Services and learning approach at the Integrated International School, please get in touch with our friendly Admissions team, click here to enquire.

The Benefits of Smaller Class Sizes

In today’s fast-paced society of technological and media advances, children are often portrayed as little adults, and the pressure to succeed can be overwhelming for them. We’re seeing more and more children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Anxiety and behavioural difficulties. These students may be overlooked in bigger schools because of larger class sizes and lower teacher-to-student ratios. If special needs education support services aren’t offered on campus, they can be found outside of school; however, this means more cost, time and effort for both the parents and child.

At the Integrated International School (IIS), as you step into one of our inclusive classrooms, you’ll notice not only the wonderful neurodiversity among students but the teacher-to-student ratio (1:5) and overall class size. With our smaller class settings and tailored educational approach, each student receives the differentiated yet inclusive learning experience they deserve, as well as developing balanced perspectives and a greater understanding of their fellow students.

When IIS was first established over 10 years ago, a key factor that stood out for parents and continues to do so, is our commitment to an individualized education. Here are several important benefits of smaller class sizes and individualization:

A smaller classroom setting can be adapted to fit the needs of all the students.

Teachers can quickly build a relationship with a smaller group of students and tailor their approach according to the learning styles of each person. A student who struggles to comprehend a one-pager may receive a shorter summary of the storyline. This means that the student is receiving the same content and learning experience as his/her peer. Modifications such as this are a daily support our students benefit from because our teachers have the time and resources to identify students and their learning difficulties in our intimate classes.

Lessons and projects are more hands-on.

Students have the opportunity to do the work rather than just learn about it! Smaller classrooms enable students to get more involved with the subjects they are learning about. Rather than just listening to a teacher lecture about a topic, they are given a practical and hands-on learning experience.

Smaller classes encourage participation.

Standing in front of a big class can be scary especially for shy, anxious children and children with language delays. But in a less intimidating environment, students feel more comfortable and confident to pay attention, ask questions and speak up. Since students feel more motivated to participate, they tend to thoroughly enjoy learning. Students can share their ideas and ask questions on subjects they don’t understand without any fear of what others may think.

Students receive more feedback from their teachers.

Communication is critical to ensuring each student understands their strengths and areas of improvement. Therefore, more feedback from teachers results in a better, more effective learning experience. When a teacher has 30 essays to grade, they will tend to spend less time on each one and struggle to provide a more thorough assessment of their students work.

There is more opportunity to learn from classmates.

A smaller school community means that students have a better chance to get to know their classmates and make friends outside of their grade level. In smaller classes, each student’s contribution is acknowledged, especially in discussion settings. Children can learn from one another based on the contributions they make during class.

A smaller class will ultimately make a more cohesive unit than a larger one. A class of 30 students may encourage the formation of cliques, resulting in students not engaging with each other and often only socializing with whom they are most comfortable with. However, in a smaller class setting, students will have the opportunity to interact with and form relationships with all of their classmates, build strong relationships with their teachers, ensuring that the class is more supportive of each other.

For more information on our classes and curriculum, please contact our Admissions team at admissions@iis.edu.sg or call +65 6466-4475.

Famous Achievers who Redefined Success with Learning Disorders

At the Integrated International School one of our core school values is “Redefining Success”. We believe that success spans across a wide spectrum of possibilities. We know that no two students are the same, and that no individual child has the same response to learning in every situation – and that’s a great thing. Our focus is to ensure our students aim to achieve the highest level of their own personal definition of success. Everyone goes through challenges and we’ve decided to compile a list of inspiring famous achievers who have certainly redefined success!

Michael Phelps [ADHD]

Known around the world as the most decorated Olympian of all time and former competitive swimmer, Michael Phelps started swimming shortly after he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). “Growing up as a kid with ADHD, I was constantly bouncing off the wall,” Phelps shared in an interview with Benzinga. “I could never sit still. I had teachers telling me I could never amount to anything and that I would never be successful in life.” His confidence was lacking but with the support and encouragement from his parents, he tried swimming. By turning his boundless energy into a strict training regime, the sport helped him become one of the most accomplished athletes in history.

Keira Knightley [Dyslexia]

This Oscar-nominated actress has always risen to a challenge but struggled academically in her early school years. She was diagnosed with Dyslexia at the age of six and remembers never wanting to read books. But with her mother’s support and encouragement that she would be able to read, Knightley became determined to read every single day. In an interview with The Boston Globe, she said, “I drove myself into the ground trying to get over Dyslexia, and when I finished school, I had top grades.”

Stephen Wiltshire [Autism Spectrum Disorder]

One of the most successful and renowned artists in the U.K, Stephen Wiltshire was mute in his early years and at age three was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). He felt he was unable to communicate his thoughts, feelings and therefore found drawing as a way of expressing himself. Wiltshire continues to practice self-expression through art and his commissions have an approximate six-to-eight month waiting list. His incredible memory for detail catapulted him into the spotlight after videos emerged of his large-scale cityscape drawings that he drew after a short helicopter ride over a New York City.

Daniel Radcliffe [Dyspraxia]

The famous face behind Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe, has had mild dyspraxia for his entire life but used the diagnosis as motivation to help him become the star in one of the most successful film franchises of all time. Radcliffe explained one of the reasons he became an actor was because he struggled in school and acting gave him the self-confidence he needed. He told an interviewer that he does still have trouble tying his shoelaces and jokingly asked why Velcro wasn’t more popular.

Simone Biles [ADHD]

The most successful American gymnast at just 23, Biles was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at a young age and has been on medication ever since. Biles first discovered gymnastics at age 6 and began to pour all her energy into the sport. She has proudly stated, "Having ADHD, and taking medicine for it is nothing to be ashamed of, nothing that I’m afraid to let people know." With a combined total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals, she is the third most decorated gymnast of all time. It is clear that this incredible athlete still has plenty more success ahead of her.

Orlando Bloom [Dyslexia]

This British actor is best known for his leading role in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean and at age seven was diagnosed with Dyslexia. Although Bloom’s mother encouraged him to read, his struggles lead him to look for a creative outlet. During this search, he discovered his passion for drama. He learned that reading scripts were a big part of acting and therefore was persuaded to practice reading aloud. Bloom stated at the 2010 Adam Katz Memorial Lecture, “The gift of Dyslexia was that I learned everything forward and backward, inside out, so I was fully prepared. I had to learn everything so that I wouldn’t have stage fright, or the lines wouldn’t fall out of my mind.”

Strengths Of Dyslexia

Did you know that approximately 1 in 6 students (in the United States) is dyslexic? That’s equal to 20% of the population! Dyslexia is one of the most common neuro-cognitive disorders in the world and is characterized by weak phonological processing, word recognition and spelling. Those with dyslexia tend to have typical and above average IQ but may fall behind at school due to learning difficulties in reading, time awareness, rote learning, and writing in a grammatically correct manner. Therefore, it takes a lot of time and energy for them to keep up with the rest of the class. This can become mentally exhausting as the amount of effort put in doesn’t reflect the end result.

It’s important to take away the shame associated with dyslexia and embrace a person’s strengths as a key goal to build-up their self-esteem so that they can reach their potential. Many dyslexics are not “broken” and as mentioned above, are often highly intelligent but are wired differently. When accepting that dyslexia is just a part of who they are, the perspective shifts to reveal valued traits and strengths, such as:

Exceptionally creative thinkers

Great problem-solving skills

High empathy for others

Ability to see the bigger picture

Very observant

MIND strengths:

- Material reasoning - Interconnected reasoning - Narrative reasoning - Dynamic reasoning

Exceptionally Creative

There are numerous famous faces who are dyslexic with many in creative industries (music, film, fashion, TV and radio, literature, computer science and the performing arts). Some of those include, Steven Spielberg (director), Jennifer Anniston (actress), Jamie Oliver (chef), Sir Richard Branson (entrepreneur) and Walt Disney (founder of Disney). A common strength seen in dyslexics is their very creative mindset!

Great problem-solving skills

They are great problem-solvers who excel at seeing multiple perspectives and making cross-linking connections between the things they notice. They have a “do it-build it-fix it-make it” approach and may discover connections that others have missed. Historically, these types of skills were highly valued and it’s only recently in the past century that the majority of people have been expected to be literate especially now that we live in a heavily texted world.

High empathy for others

A study at Yale University observed that a person with dyslexia tends to show more empathy and warmth towards others. They are able to “read the situation” and have a sense of understanding of what is happening for other people in that environment. It’s not clear if this heightened empathy is a result of their brains being wired differently, or because they feel they are defined by their differences so have more empathy to others’ dilemmas.

Ability to see the bigger picture

A key strength for people with dyslexia is that they can see the bigger picture. This ability enables them to focus on what is important, without getting lost in every little detail. They see how things connect to form complex systems, and to identify similarities among multiple things. This skill is seen as an asset in many occupations. For example, architects, designers, inventors, scientists, engineers, and actors.

Very observant

People with dyslexia excel at finding the odd one out from enormous quantities of visual data. While many people with dyslexia struggle with reading or writing, they are often extremely skilled at deciphering facts from patterns or events.

MIND strengths

Dr. Brock Eide and Dr. Fernette Eide co-authored the ground-breaking book, The Dyslexic Advantage, in which they wrote about 4 key areas of strength that people with dyslexia possess. These became known as MIND strengths. Although a person may not have all of these strengths, they may have a combination:

Material reasoning

The ability to form and manipulate 3D images (shape, size, motion, position) to create a constant mental movie of connected images in their mind. When taking on tasks, they perform them in a sequential linear fashion such as reading, spelling, writing and math.

Interconnected reasoning

The ability to form strong connections between things, see relationships, patterns, and view ideas or objects from different perspectives. They are good at using multiple perspectives when problem solving and excel at inferencing and interdisciplinary tasks.

Narrative reasoning

The ability to be a great storyteller, those with narrative strengths tend to think in stories and illustrations to remember and understand concepts. They enjoy history and historical fiction and do well in creative writing (when using a scribe or speech-to-text software). They are able to test ideas by creating imaginary scenarios in their mind.

Dynamic reasoning

The ability to see real world patterns clearly in their mind and can reconstruct, create, simulate, and use this information to predict or mentally preview future outcomes with great accuracy. In class, they may be scolded for not showing their written workings since all their mental reasoning is done in their head.

Dynamic reasoning

The ability to see real world patterns clearly in their mind and can reconstruct, create, simulate, and use this information to predict or mentally preview future outcomes with great accuracy. In class, they may be scolded for not showing their written workings since all their mental reasoning is done in their head.

For a person with dyslexia, the learning journey can be frustrating to begin with, however, there are numerous special needs education programs (Orton-Gillingham approach) and resources available that can support them. One of the most important things to remember is identifying and building their strengths. They may struggle in the early grades but with plenty of guidance, encouragement, and the right approach, they can grow-up to be gifted story tellers, inventors, entrepreneurs, actors and so on.

Take a look at our helpful infographic to better understand this behaviour, you can download it here.

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