I am truly pleased to welcome you to the British Dyslexia Association
International Conference, to be held from the 27th to 29th March
2014. The conference is truly an exceptional event, occurring only
once every three years, and it's certainly worth adding to your diary. This year's conference theme is 'Creating an Impact
through Innovation', in other words, that innovative
research can make a real impact on educational
practice. This really gets to the heart of what is special
about this conference in particular. It is unusual in
that the attendance is almost equally divided
between specialist educators and academic
researchers, creating a melting pot of ideas about
research and practice. The conference covers topics
related to all aspects of dyslexia and literacy, from
prenatal risk factors to adulthood and the workplace.
In many ways, I feel a special connection with these
conferences. I attended my first B.D.A. International
Conference in 2001 as a
postgraduate student. I was
a steward, helping people to
find the way and passing the
microphone around. I remember
being very star struck on
meeting the keynote speakers! I
also came second in the poster
competition – a very proud
moment. It's almost unbelievable
to me that 13 years later I am chairing the conference
itself, and I am honoured to be asked to do it.
As the conference chair, I have had a sneak preview of
the venue and the programme and I am really excited
about both. The venue is in the centre of Guildford,
a picturesque market town just outside of London.
Travel links are very convenient, and the town is full of
excellent restaurants and some lovely unusual shops.
presentations. There are nine keynote speakers,
(including Usha Goswami, Donald Compton,
Joel Talcott, Michele Mazzocco, Brian Byrne, Pol
Ghesquière, Kate Cain, Linda Seigel and myself).
Professor Ghesquière and Professor Byrne will talk
about the biological underpinnings of dyslexia in
terms of brain development and genetics. There are
some really exciting developments in these areas,
as technology becomes more and more accurate
and powerful. For example, Professor Ghesquiere
describes how functional specialisation in the brain
seems to indicate two pathways to reading words,
and investigates whether this is
true in children learning to read.
Professor Goswami and I will
focus on the cognitive skills
associated with dyslexia,
including auditory and linguistic
processing skills in particular.
Professor Compton and
Professor Seigel will describe
some successful interventions to
help poor readers, while Professor Mazzocco and Dr
Cain will be talking about mathematics and reading
comprehension, respectively. Last, but certainly not
least, our previous chair, Professor Talcott, will be
talking about the conference theme in particular
– can we create those virtuous circles between
educational practice on one hand and neuroscience
on the other?
In addition to this, there will be up to six parallel
sessions of presentations, symposia and workshops
on every aspect of dyslexia and reading development
from around the world. The evenings are busy too,
with poster presentations, wine receptions and a gala
evening. There'll be lots of time for networking and
developing professional relationships.
I always finish these conferences buzzing with
information and ideas. I may be biased, but I can't
recommend it highly enough!
For more details, including a preliminary conference
programme, please visit the conference homepage at
Professor Usha Goswami.
Title: Speech Rhythm and Temporal Structure:
A Temporal Sampling Perspective on
Phonology and Dyslexia.