I’m not stupid, I just see things differently from you: How Tjin Lee teaches her dyslexic child to defend himself

August 27, 2019
  • 1 / 10

    Entrepreneur Tjin Lee regularly posts photos of her precious kids Tyler Lim, six, and Jake, three, on her Instagram account @tjinlee.

    Her 36,000 followers are familiar with their enviable jet-setting adventure and the amazing themed birthday parties that she put together for them.

    Load more
  • 2 / 10

    Tjin is also an advocate for raising kids with good character over good grades. Last September, she spearheaded the Life Beyond Grades movement, which hopes to shift parents’ mindset away from grades in Singapore’s academic pressure cooker.

    Related: How to be an Instagram star like Bubu and his mum Tjin Lee

    Load more
  • 3 / 10

    It turned out that the inspiration for Life Beyond Grades was actually sparked by Tyler’s learning struggles, Tjin shared in a recent interview with The Straits Times (ST).

    Her first child was diagnosed in February this year with dyslexia.

    Related: Why Tjin Lee waited until she was almost 40 to have her first child


    Load more
  • 4 / 10

    “I am one of the co-founders because I could see that he was not going to be a typical successful A student, no matter how hard he tried,” she told ST.

    “Why should children feel worthless because they’re not good at academics? Children have different strengths. We shouldn’t measure everyone with the same yardstick.”

    Related: Singapore mum shares: My son is not difficult, he has autism


    Load more
  • 5 / 10

    In an Instagram post on Aug 27, 2019, Tjin shared how she found out about her son’s condition: “We noticed that he had fallen behind his peers in reading, and would come home dejected, telling us he was ‘the slowest kid’ in kindergarten. His morale was flagging, so I tried reading with him, and realised that he was unable to recognise even simple words.”

    Related: Why homemade toys are better for kids: SG parents

    Load more
  • 6 / 10

    “He just couldn’t see the words, even when they were the same words repeated on every page. At first I got angry with him, that he wasn’t paying attention, not able to focus. My worries deepened when I asked him to write a birthday card for his friend [pictured]. His letters were almost 100% inverted, but he also had challenges with spatial processing – the letters would all be different sizes and all over the page,” she wrote on Instagram.

    Related: 4 habits of successful dyslexics that your child can learn from

    Load more
  • 7 / 10

    In her post, Tjin recounted the tests Tyler underwent at KKH: “Finally, it hit home that he was truly seeing things differently when they showed him a series of letters – p p q p – and asked him to point to the one that was different, he stared at the letters and said, ‘They’re all the same’. At that moment, I felt both dismay, and also, relief. I was sad to have our fears on his dyslexia confirmed, but also relieved that now we could begin treating him.”


    Load more
  • 8 / 10

    According to the ST interview, Tjin is equipping her son with ways to defend himself against critics and bullies.

    “He has to be able to say to them, ‘I’m not stupid, I just see things differently from you,'” said Tjin, who is also the founder of the Mercury group of companies, which does marketing and events.

    Related: 10 signs that your child is being bullied

    Load more
  • 9 / 10

    She says: “At first, I was distressed for my son and what he would have to go through, but after the initial worry had passed, I realised that dyslexia could be a gift.

    “Some of the world’s great leaders have dyslexia – Hollywood director Steven Spielberg, artist Pablo Picasso and founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.”


    Load more
  • 10 / 10

    In her Instagram post, she adds that Tyler’s reading lessons at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore have helped him in more ways than one: “He realIsed he was not alone, and that there were other kids like him, that also had difficulty reading. This was the best thing possible for his morale, for him to understand that he wasn’t “stupid” or “slow”, he just has a learning difference.”

    A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times.

    (Photos: Instagram/Tjin Lee)

    Load more
ping yi secondary school

St Andrew’s, Temasek, Bowen among 28 secondary schools to start subject-based banding from 2020

10 things Singapore teachers wished parents knew about their kids

10 things Singapore teachers wished parents knew about their kids

Agape Little Uni - The preschool that builds character where kids can thrive

The preschool that builds character where kids can thrive

Chiltern House pre-schoolers enjoying a 30-minute playtime session involving a mix of children from K1 and K2 classes

Singapore childcare fees: What do you get for $2,000 vs $770?

PCF Sparkletots Early Years Centre is a childcare infantcare preschool in Edgefield Plains in Punggol North

Video: Look inside PCF Sparkletots’ amazing Early Years Centre preschool in Punggol

Latest stories

video kid-friendly guide admiralty park's playground

Video: Kid-friendly guide to Admiralty Park’s playground

Mosquito bites on babies: How to treat and prevent

Best ways to treat and prevent mosquito bites on babies and kids

higher childcare fees in Singapore in 2020

Higher childcare fees in 2020: 1 in 5 childcare centres in Singapore affected

say no

12 foods you should eat when you’re pregnant

mum scolding kid

10 signs that you’re too hard on your child