UnITE SpLD conference also launches award to recognise individuals with outstanding contributions in the field of dyslexia and other SpLD in Singapore

SINGAPORE, 19 June 2017 – The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) will convene global experts to drive greater holistic support for children with Specific Learning Differences (SpLD) through research at the third Uniting Ideas in Teaching Excellence (UnITE) SpLD conference from 19 to 21 June 2017. More than 60 international and local SpLD field experts will present new and cutting-edge research on identification and intervention of dyslexia and other SpLD to more than 400 practitioners, learners and caregivers.

DAS will also present the inaugural Jimmy Daruwalla Award at the conference, set up in memory of the late founding President of DAS, Dr Jimmy Daruwalla, to recognise outstanding contributions in the field of SpLD including dyslexia. Professor Angela Fawcett, a global leader in dyslexia research, will be the first recipient of the prestigious award, in recognition of her exceptional efforts in fostering a rich research culture at DAS that significantly enhances DAS’ capacity in providing intervention for people with dyslexia.

Themed “Research Worth Sharing”, UnITE SpLD 2017 is one of Asia’s largest conferences dedicated to stimulating greater research and teaching excellence and facilitating professional development amongst specialists in the field of SpLD, including psychologists, educational therapists and educators, and parents and caregivers of children with special learning needs.

For the first time, the conference will span three days to promote greater sharing in latest SpLD research advancements. The expanded programme includes a pre-conference titled “DAS Learning Journey” featuring unique teaching methods adopted by DAS to support students with learning differences. Pre-conference topics include: MOE-aided DAS Literacy Programme: A peek into how we expand the minds of our students; Our Literacy World: The Preschool Class at DAS; EdTech@DAS: Literacy and Assessment using the iPad; and English Exam Skills: Insights – Strategies in the Exam Skills Classroom. Participants will also get to visit DAS learning centres to complete their learning experience.

It is estimated that one to two primary and secondary school students could be dyslexic in a class of 40 in Singapore. Many of them may experience co-occurring challenges including dyspraxia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyscalculia and Asperger’s syndrome, making diagnosis and intervention more complex. The conference unites professionals to share research and best industry practices to aid professionals in adopting a holistic approach in the development of support programmes for such children.

To date, sixty-eight research projects presented at the conference over the last three years have resulted in greater understanding of dyslexia and SpLD in Singapore and the development and enhancement of intervention for local children with difficulties in English and Chinese literacy, Maths, Speech and Language issues and other areas.

This year’s conference comprises four keynotes, 36 workshops and more than 12 poster presentations across nine streams, featuring presenters from Australia, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Philippines, United Kingdom,
United States of America and Singapore. For the very first time, there will be a case management discussion of real students through the professionals who work with them. The streams cover Identification, Early
Intervention, Beyond Basic Literacy, Technology and Resources, Multilingualism, Reading, Writing and Motor Skills, Visual Strategies and Professional Development.

Leading the discussions are Dr Sharifah Mariam Aljunied and Dr Vivien Yang from the Ministry of Education (MOE) who will delve into the complex needs of children with dyslexia in mainstream schools, highlighting the
importance of addressing common needs associated with dyslexia besides literacy support; Ms Geetha Shantha Ram from DAS who will share about the future direction of dyslexia support in Singapore; Dr Tan
Wah Pheow from Temasek Polytechnic who will present on teaching practice of reading comprehension skills for individuals with dyslexia; and Professor Angela Fawcett, Emeritus Professor and DAS Research Consultant,
who will share the latest insights on procedural learning and co-morbidity in dyslexia. The conference will end with a panel discussion about the future of special educational needs and how schools, teachers and parents
can help learners fulfil their future potential, with insights from local and international panelists. 

“To truly help those with dyslexia, who commonly face other specific learning differences, DAS is organising the UnITE SpLD conference for the third time to raise greater awareness of the multi-faceted nature of
dyslexia. This year’s conference is bigger in number of new research presentations, content line-up and international representation. It will continue to offer a unique platform to unite the international community
of practice in sharing latest findings in dyslexia and other SpLD and bring forth new and better intervention programmes for children facing such challenges,” said Mr Lee Siang, Chief Executive Officer.

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