Thanks to all who Attended!
Thanks to the many people who attended the conference to learn more about dyslexia. The movement to get equity in education for people with language-based learning differences is certainly taking hold. We will have videos of some of the conference presentations shortly.
Thanks to Conference Organizers Rachel Hicks and Sara Page Stinchcomb
As anyone knows who has put on a conference, there is a lot of work behind the scenes. Two Millersville University students helped organize this conference: Ms. Rachel Hicks and Ms. Sara Page Stinchcomb. I was waiting until they were in the room to thank them, but they were always just passing through to the next assignment. Rachel and Sara set up the brochures, the social media, many of the emails, the child care, the buttons, the raffle, and the volunteers. They are amazing colleagues to work with.
Thanks to our Presenters and Panelists
Wow. The combined experience in the rooms was so impressive. We learned so much. Thank you, sincerely, for sharing your expertise.
The day began with 11 different tables, from the Center for Dylexia, to schools and microschools, to psychologists, to organizations like Decoding Dyslexia (both PA and VA represented), to camps, to jewelry. These resources enabled attendees to browse the regional resources.
Here are some links to
The Day began with a review of what dyslexia is and isn’t, and an estimate of its impact on school-aged children with disabilities. Dr. Janet Josephson, Associate professor of Early, Middle, and Exceptional Education got the audience members talking and engaged in understanding the foundational scientific data about dyslexia.
Dr. Josephson’s presentation was recorded, and will be available at the end of this week. Her slides are already available. Ms. Page Stinchcomb then told her story about how teachers impacted her life positively by giving her a nickname in second grade (“Miss Math”) and by using multi-modal teaching to give students different avenues to comprehend the materials.
Dr. Peg Kay then explained about how what testing reveals, and how the varied tests can be used to modify instruction to help the student in the classroom. In the photo at the left, she indicates how students who have established an IQ at the higher hand may be determined to have a disability by testing in those areas with scores at the lower hand. This deviation from expected performance is what establishes the disability.
In the past in Pennsylvania, students would have to do so poorly in their classes that they would be in the lower percentages of the population (the “wait to fail” model), but in recent years Dr. Kay explained how the “Response to Intervention” model would work. Unfortunately, many students with dyslexia are not identified in the 0-10 window (by their grade) where interventions would help. The system also is ill prepared to identify dual exceptionals (students with both a disability and a gift).
Dr. Kay also talked through instances of multiple disabilities, including students who may have ADHD and dyslexia or a visual impairment and dyslexia. She noted that vision therapy for students who have a visual impairment (in addition to the phonological impairment that dyslexia is–she carefully reinforced that dyslexia is NOT a visual impairment) is now covered by insurance due to the USDE’s letter-on-visual-impairment-5-22-17.
At lunch, the power panel of Daphne Uliana (Dyslexia and Literacy Network), Rebecca Warner (middle left, Decoding Dyslexia VA, pqdb), Hollie Woodard (middle right, Council Rock School District), and Angela Kirby (right, PaTTAN)(pictured above) discussed where Pennsylvania is in terms of meeting the needs of kids with dyslexia in K-12 and college. They noted that intervention to create a better outlook for students would probably be most successful in getting more training for pre-service teachers or teachers doing their masters. In Pennsylvania, even a reading specialist has no required training in dyslexia. Angela Kirby mentioned that PaTTAN offers many trainings for both teachers and parents that offer scholarships. There is a three-day training in June that might be particularly helpful. The panel noted that only 7 schools in Pa are IDA certified, and 6 of these are at the masters level.
After lunch, breakout sessions began. Millersville University Students Abigail Rissinger (right) and Sara Page Stinchcomb (left) shared their experiences with reading, writing, and school in Breakout session 1. Other sessions covered many topics, from Dyslexia with Anxiety and ADHD, to using Orton Gillingham in the Classroom.
Overall, the day offered significant expertise to the community, and especially parents and teachers of kids with dyslexia. As one attendee put it, the conference “was OUTSTANDING! It was incredibly organized with some of the best dyslexia thinkers our state has to offer.” Another stated, the “organization and amount of information is outstanding and it is so important that so many teachers and parents (and administrators) need to hear and be aware of! I wish more administrators would attend to see what curriculums would be beneficial in classrooms! My never ending battle in the real world of teaching… getting the right curriculum and training to the teachers!”