Boy Learns to Learn, by "Trying My Best"
Updated: Jun 29
Difficulties in following lessons and resistance to learning after three months in preschool led to Keagan’s referral to KK Women and Children’s Hospital. He was subsequently diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay and was referred to the Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC) for speech and language therapy, as well to SHINE to address his language and literacy issues.
At SHINE, Keagan was placed on a language and literacy intervention programme - Actualise Learning potential, Promote Social skills (ALPS). A key aim of intervention was to enable Keagan to develop helpful responses to learning. Keagan was often frustrated and agitated when faced with learning tasks. Through mediation, Keagan learnt to label his feelings with visual cards, and process his fears and anxiety.
Lessons were carefully crafted each week to balance challenging activities with opportunities for him to experience success, to help him gain confidence and interest in learning. Keagan was guided to understand that while answers are required, the attempts to think and respond are also very important. He learnt how to “just try my best”. With consistent recognition and reinforcement, he was able to internalise this simple mantra over time and repeat it out loud to himself. He also attempted strategies he was taught when he was confronted with challenging or unfamiliar tasks.
During parent consultation sessions, SHINE’s Associate Psychologist provided feedback on Keagan’s progress in ALPS and discussed his development in school and at home. Keagan’s mother supported and involved Keagan in SHINE’s holiday developmental programmes to increase his exposure to new experiences. Keagan’s social skills improved as he had opportunities to interact with new friends and try out new activities.
Being one who was resistant to learning, Keagan now inspires fellow children by encouraging them to "just try your best" when they were on the verge of giving up
Through a complementary Reading Odyssey (RO) programme, Keagan had a chance to apply the social skills he learnt in ALPS, including emotion regulation. During the group cognitive games Keagan was willing to challenge himself to slightly more difficult visual and auditory memory exercises. He also encouraged his group member to “just try your best” when the latter was on the verge of giving up.
With various teaching modalities and support from staff, parents and volunteers, Keagan successfully acquired word reading skills. Very importantly, Keagan has built his confidence to learn. Once fearful of printed texts, Keagan can now break down multi-syllabic words, blend letter sounds and decode word families to read independently. He also enjoys sharing his thoughts and ideas with friends and volunteers, and is much more participative in group activities.
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