Dyslexia group hosts conference Oct. 11-12

October is National Dyslexia Awareness Month, and the Illinois Branch of the International Dyslexia Association in Glen Ellyn held its 21st Annual Fall Conference Oct. 11 and 12 at Drury Lane Theater in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.

Purpose of the conference was to increase awareness about dyslexia and promote understanding of some of the typical “warning signs” of dyslexia when a child or an adult has difficulty with reading or spelling.

Estimates by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services show that 15 percent of all American students may have dyslexia. According to the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) in Baltimore, early identification and appropriate intervention with a dyslexic child are essential. When identified early, a learning disability can be remediated using proven, multi-sensory teaching methods, enabling the majority of students with identified learning disabilities the opportunity to reach their full potential.

“When a child does not learn to read, their lives are affected forever,” says Nancy Hennessy, past president of IDA. “Teaching a child to read is a fundamental responsibility of our educational system, and IDA believes strongly that effective instruction depends on the qualitative preparation of teachers and ongoing professional development. If we give our teachers the right tools, they will succeed, and our children will also succeed.”

Many parents, however, are simply unaware of the appropriate interventions or remediation programs for their children or are confused about the specific type of professional help to seek. Competing claims by reading, studying and learning organizations provide little guidance to a parent concerned about the possibility of a learning disability in their child. The Illinois Branch of IDA provides objective information and research-based knowledge about dyslexia as well as referrals to a network of learning disability professionals and organizations for testing and screening throughout the state.

Speakers at the conference included keynote speaker G. Emerson Dickman, J.D., president of the International Dyslexia Association, who spoke on “The Link between Learning Disabilities and Social/Emotional Development” Oct. 11. Oct. 12, the keynote presentation was given by Isabel Beck, Ph.D., educator and researcher, who addressed “Enhancing Students’ Vocabulary Repertoire.” These were in addition to 32 informative breakout sessions.

IDA is a non-profit, scientific and educational organization, headquartered in Baltimore, Md., and is the nation’s oldest, non-profit organization dealing with learning disabilities and the only organization dedicated exclusively to the study and treatment of dyslexia. For more information, contact the IDA in Baltimore, Md., at (410) 296-0232 or log onto the Web site www.interdys.org. To contact the Illinois Branch of IDA, call (630) 469-6900 or log on to www.readibida.org.

from the Oct. 17-23, 2007, issue

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