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Demystifying Dyslexia Conference 2024

The conference aims to provide resources for and education about dyslexia.

Millersville University is working to raise awareness of and support for those with dyslexia.

The third Demystifying Dyslexia Conference will be held on Jan. 27 at 9 a.m. at the Ware Center. The event is organized by Dr. Jill Craven, professor of English and World Languages, and aims to provide resources for and education about dyslexia. The event is free to attend unless Continuing Education Credits and/or Act 48 credits are desired. These can be purchased upon registration for $10, as well as a catered lunch option for $15. Attendees are asked to register in advance here.

The keynote on “Understanding the Cognitive and Neurobiological Basis of Dyslexia” will be given by University of Maryland neuroscientist Dr. DJ Bolger, director of the Laboratory for Neurodevelopment of Reading and Language. Morning sessions feature Kathy Seeman, award-winning reading and dyslexia specialist, and Dr. Pam Kastner, PA State Lead for Literacy. Afternoon breakout sessions focus on topics of interest to parents/guardians, teachers, students with dyslexia, school administrators, and counselors. Tables featuring advocacy organizations, learning opportunities and counselors will be set up to browse. More information about the schedule and tables can be found here.

Raising a daughter with dyslexia prompted Craven’s passion for spreading education and awareness. “My experiences in raising a child with dyslexia in a school district that wouldn’t even say ‘dyslexia’ spurred me to organize these conferences,” she says. Dyslexia is often misunderstood and thought to be a primarily visual issue, instead of a phonological processing issue. This misconception can be detrimental to the education of those with the disability, especially related to reading comprehension. “Reading proficiency provides the foundation of the education required for a robust democracy,” says Craven.

As of 2022, the majority of K-12 students in Pennsylvania scored basic or below in reading. “In Pennsylvania, we need to do more to properly educate children with dyslexia; our culture needs to better understand and support people with learning differences,” says Craven. Pennsylvania is among a minority of states in the US that do not have mandated dyslexia screenings for children in school.

It is estimated that 15-20% of people are on the dyslexia spectrum, making roughly one out of five people susceptible to the impact of misconceptions surrounding the disability. “We want to help individuals with dyslexia, their families, their friends, their teachers and their counselors get the resources they need to support that individual’s positive learning and living experiences,” says Craven.



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