The BDA International Conference 2018 was two weeks ago now, so I’ve had time to pause and reflect.
The scale of the event; the (many international) speakers and workshops on offer were tremendous. The passion and knowledge of individuals who are driving research within the field of dyslexia is astounding, and the research covers all areas of learning:
from the obvious reading and writing, maths, memory; to music, language, technology, access arrangements, art, assessment and diagnosis, genetics, EAL, neuroscience and positive dyslexia!
If you are interested in learning about learning, THIS is the place to be. An understanding of dyslexia and research around it will give you a deeper understand of how ALL children learn and what their potential barriers might be.
My main takeaways:
- Reading and spelling are about more than phonics.
- There are lots of things, which don’t cost, which can be easily implemented into whole school practice.
- There are common differences in dyslexic brains.
- For many children, the skills of reading and writing are aquired in a fairly straightforward manner.
- Early intervention is key.
- There is a growing interest in academic researchers and practitioners collaborating.
The last one is particularly exciting, there is a growing drive for education to become a more evidence-informed profession. Instead of dictating to teaching professionals, why not work shoulder to shoulder with them and learn from each other?
As a specialist teacher, I worry that claims of ‘expert’ knowledge serve only to alienate teachers and make them feel that dyslexia is outside of their skills set, when quite the reverse is true. They teach literacy and dyslexia is primarily a literacy difficulty.
My aim is to demystify the work of specialist teachers and demystify dyslexia.
One thing you can do is start saving for next years’ BDA conference – I promise you won’t be disappointed!