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RECORDING ONLY - Virtual Literacy Conference 2022 - The literacy journey through education for those with Dyslexia

Our Literacy Virtual Conference 2022 is available as a recording if you missed the conference!


Friday 24th June 2022


Virtual / Online
United Kingdom

Regardless of the age of individuals, it is important to understand the journey learners take from a young age through to higher education. This conference will look at the importance of early intervention, the impact of mental health and how to support learners of all ages, including some easy ICT/Assistive Technology tools.

The conference is designed to give teachers, tutors and lecturers an insight into factors that affect learners of all ages and how to support those with Dyslexia throughout education.

The literacy conference took place on 17th March 2022. The recording will be available from Monday 28th March. To purchase the full recording, you’ll need to order it from this page.

You will receive a email with a link to access the recording. To ensure the video is only used by the purchaser, you will be provided with a unique password to access the recording. This will allow you to access the recording up to three times within 30 days of you receiving your password.

The login you are provided with is for the sole use of the purchaser. The recording is copyright British Dyslexia Association 2021.

You will be sent your 5.5 hour CPD Certificate with the recording once completed.

Our fantastic Line-up of Speakers!

Sandra Sinfield SFHEA, CeLP, UTF and Tom Burns SFHEA, CeLP, UTF

'It's Learning Development Jim - but not as we know it.'

In UKHE students are said to ‘read for their degrees’ and contact-time with academics, those members of the university who teach or research, is and has always been limited. Students are expected to organise themselves for independent study and interdependent learning; to understand the forms and processes of university teaching and learning - and what sorts of academic labour, what actual work, they have to undertake to get tasks and assessments successfully completed. The reality is that many students are underprepared for this sort of university teaching. Increasingly they emerge from a transactional system where the emphasis is on ‘teaching to the test’ to ensure that students meet performance targets (Jozefkowicz, 2006). Hence, many students struggle to think and act autonomously and powerfully whilst ‘self-governing’ their studies.

There have been many attempts to develop practice models designed to help non-traditional, and particularly dyslexic, students succeed at university study. Increasingly popular in these lean and mean academic times (viz. Giroux, 2014) is the delivery of extra- or co-curricular ‘skills’ targeted at just those students deemed to be ‘at risk’. This stigmatises those students and sidesteps the proposition that what facilitates successful learning is not ‘bolt-on’ courses but the development of creative and inclusive curricula designed to help ‘non-traditional’ students to succeed and to help all students maximise their potential (Warren, 2002; Wilcox, Winn, and Fyvie‐Gauld, 2005).

The purpose of this presentation is discuss our module, Becoming an Educationist, arguing that it re-formulates what counts as ‘study skills’, creating instead ‘...a collective Third Space, in which students begin to reconceive who they are and what they might be able to accomplish academically and beyond (Gutierrez, 2008, p.148)’. We want to discuss how in Becoming, rather than plug students into ‘remedial packages’ to be ‘fixed’, we raised the academic stakes, enabling students, through creative challenges, to become the academics that they wanted to be.

Target Audience:
Dyslexia Tutors

Tom Burns and Sandra Sinfield are co-authors of Teaching, Learning and Study Skills: a guide for tutors and Essential Study Skills: the complete guide to success at university (fifth edition forthcoming). Together Tom and Sandra have taken a production of John Godber’s Bouncers on a tour of Crete music venues, written and made a feature film (Eight Days from Yesterday) and produced teaching and learning courses and materials in a range of settings.

Their Take Control video won the IVCA gold award for education. Tom and Sandra bring experience from media, theatre and the arts to their work as Senior Lecturers in Education and Learning Development. Working in the Centre for Professional and Educational Development at London Metropolitan University, they aspire to develop creative pedagogic and curriculum innovations with a special focus on igniting student curiosity, power and voice.

Myles Pilling - AccessAbility Solutions - Specialist SEND ICT-AT Consultant

Building confidence in using Assistive Technology

The aim of the session is to show simple, fast and cost effective apps that can help overcome barriers to writing, reading and learning. Building confidence in both the teacher and the pupil in using AT is essential for effective learning in the 21st Century.

By the end of the session you should have a wide understanding of what apps are available out there for all platforms (iOS, Chromebook, PC, Android) and all devices that can improve access to learning . There will be an emphasis on Google and Microsoft products and how they can be made more accessible for the school setting.

Target Audience: Primary and Secondary

Myles worked as a specials schools teacher for over 20 years as well as being an SEN ICT Adviser for a local authority where he was responsible for assessment and provision of individual ICT equipment for pupils with SEN including dyslexia and specific learning difficulties.

He now runs his own business AccessAbility Solutions working with both the public and education sector. He is a council member of the British Assistive Technology Association. He is also a volunteer county co-ordinator for a national charity that helps seniors and people with disabilities to access their computers. He also inputted sessions to Bath Spa degree courses on dyslexia about Assistive Technology.

Dr Neil Alexander-Passe - SENDCO (secondary), Inclusion Expert, Book Author, Academic

Dyslexia and Mental Health: Helping people identify destructive behaviours and find positive ways to cope

This presentation will look at the emotional well-being effects of coping with dyslexia in mainstream education, from primary to secondary and onto post-school adult life.

Target Audience: Primary & Secondary

Dr Neil Alexander-Passe is dyslexic himself, and is the Head of SEND unit at a large co-education mainstream secondary school in North London, rated by OFSTED to be 'outstanding'. He is also an inclusion expert for the UK's Department of Education. He gained his Doctorate/PhD in 2018.

His latest, and 11th book, 'Surviving School as a Dyslexic Teenager: A Guide for Parents and their Teenager Children (Critical Youth Studies)' has been launched in May 2020. It offers an easy and approachable book for parents, educators, and teenagers with dyslexia.

In 1990 he gained a BA Hons in Graphic Design (University of South Wales) leading to a 20 year successful career as a graphic designer in the travel industry. In 2005 gained an MPhil researching how dyslexic teenagers cope using measures of self-esteem, coping and depression (The Open University), leading to a spell as a postgraduate researcher (London South Bank University). In 2010 he published his first book ‘Dyslexia and Depression: The Hidden Sorrow’.

His passion is to understand the trauma that many dyslexics experience at school, and any emotional ramifications that follow impacting on mental health. In 2010 he retrained as a teacher and has worked in special needs in both primary and secondary education. He is an advocate of early assessment in schools (gaining his CPT3A in 2014, so is a qualified assessor), and this has led him to present to MPs and peers in parliament on educational policy.

His current focus is with a ‘bi-ability’ theoretical model for dyslexia (compared to the ‘social’ model of disability) and the use of a ‘post-traumatic growth’ concept to understand how many dyslexic individuals can be successful ‘despite or because’ they experienced traumatic schooling as children.

His academic books include two edited volumes investigating ‘Dyslexia and Creativity’ (2010) and ‘Dyslexia and Mental Health’ (2012) and a book investigating ‘Dyslexia, Dating, Marriage and Parenthood’ (2012).

Amanda Abbott-Jones - Dyslexia Support Tutor

Dyslexia in Higher Education: Anxiety and Coping Skills

In this session the below will be discussed:

• Reasons and inspiration for undertaking research into dyslexia and its relationship with anxiety.
• How the research was conducted and what this involved.
• What the research findings were
• What the implications of the research are for education professionals, practitioners, counsellors, mentors and parents.

Target Audience: Specialist dyslexia tutors, counsellors, and mental health practitioners working in both HE and FE. The talk should also be relevant to Primary and Secondary school teachers and parents.

After completing a BA and Master’s degree in Film and Television Studies Amanda worked for several years as a Film Lecturer at the University of Derby. The direction of Amanda's career changed, however, when she was undertaking a Teacher Training course at Nottingham University. Here Amanda was asked by a Lecturer specialising in learning difficulties to have a screening for dyslexia. Amanda had never imagined myself to be dyslexic, despite struggling with education and completing school without formal qualifications. On reading the diagnostic report, mysteries of her difficulties at school and the frustration she felt from not understanding her learning started to unravel. This marked the beginning of her interest in dyslexia.

Later, after completing a further Master’s degree in Special and Inclusive Education at the Institute of Education, UCL and a specialist course on dyslexia at London Metropolitan University, she became a dyslexia practitioner, and now has a successful track record in supporting dyslexic higher education students with their cognitive and emotional learning needs. She continued her academic journey with the Institute of Education, UCL to become a Doctor of Education. Amanda's research interests are in dyslexia, its association with anxiety and social / emotional difficulties for the dyslexic student at university.

Professor Usha Goswami CBE - Director, Centre for Neuroscience in Education

Orthographic Analogies and Learning to Read

Usha Goswami CBE FRS FBA is Professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge. She is also founding Director of the Centre for Neuroscience in Education. After training as a primary school teacher, Usha decided to pursue research in child psychology, focusing on reading development and dyslexia.

Most recently, she has been studying the neural mechanisms underpinning language encoding. Her research goal is to understand the brain basis of dyslexia and speech and language difficulties, to improve children’s experience of both diagnosis and remediation. She has received a number of awards for her research, including the British Psychology Society’s Spearman Medal and President’s Award and the Norman Geschwind-Rodin Prize for Dyslexia research, Sweden. Her work in developing the new discipline of neuroscience in education was recognised in 2019 by the Yidan Prize for Education Research, the largest international education research prize globally.

Dr Sharon McMurray MBE

Phonics Teaching in English

Dr McMurray’s interest in reading and spelling difficulties started during her undergraduate study in the 70s. In 1979, in her final year, the focus of her dissertation was on causes of reading failure, methods of diagnosis, reading programmes and intervention. Over the next 26 years, before entering higher education in 2007, alongside further study and research, Sharon obtained teaching experience across the primary sector, to gain practical in-depth knowledge of literacy difficulties. She has taught in prep school, mainstream primary, a school for children with moderate learning difficulties and a unit for children with dyslexia. She has provided outreach support for children with moderate learning difficulties placed in mainstream schools and outreach support for children with dyslexia. Over this period she engaged in extensive part-time study alongside her teaching experience. From 1985-1987 she completed an Advanced Certificate in Literacy and Numeracy, from 1993- 1998 she completed 8 modules for a Diploma in Advanced Study in SEN (DASE). On completion of the first DASE module in 1993 she was concerned about educational theory that was driving educational change, which was not underpinned by research evidence. From 1994-to 1997 she undertook part-time study for a psychology degree alongside the DASE whilst continuing her role as a special needs teacher in a mainstream primary school. In 1997 she commenced a Ph.D in learning to spell with Queens University Belfast and graduated in 2004.

A strong proponent of phonics teaching within the beginning reading programme Sharon discusses the difficulties some children experience when phonics teaching is restricted to Systematic Synthetic Phonics (alphabetic phonics only). Drawing on Goswami’s research, the research of others in the field and her own research, Sharon provides robust evidence of the importance of phonics teaching at orthographic levels as well as the alphabetic, phoneme-grapheme level.