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

April 12, 2019
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    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.

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    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

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    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


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    “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


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    Tjin noticed her son’s learning struggles last year, when he started to dislike going to kindergarten.

    He told his mum: “I’m the slowest kid in class and everyone says I’m stupid.”

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

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    She knew that it is normal for some preschoolers to mix up letters like “p” and “q”. But in January, when Tyler was writing a birthday card for a friend, she noticed that he had written virtually every letter the wrong way.

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

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    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

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    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.”

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

    (Photos: Instagram/Tjin Lee)

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