PRE-CONFERENCE SYMPOSIUM – WED 20th March – 1.30 pm

This two-hour event will highlight latest research from Curtin University and the Dyslexia SPELD Foundation (DSF).

A/Prof Suze Leitao and Dr Mary Claessen are researchers and experienced speech pathologists. They co-direct the ‘Language and Literacy in Young People Research Group’- an interdisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners interested in the development and impact of language and literacy difficulties in children and adolescents. They will present work that illustrates how parents and educators can effectively use book sharing experiences to grow children’s vocabulary and language comprehension skills. Practical strategies that can be used during book sharing will be demonstrated and the evidence base discussed.

Mandy Nayton, an Educational and Developmental Psychologist and CEO of the Dyslexia SPELD Foundation (DSF), works closely with the team at Curtin University and has also focused on projects that have the potential to improve literacy outcomes in remote Aboriginal communities. In this session, a recent initiative designed to improve literacy skills through home language will be explored. The intervention is a first for Australia and has included the development of teaching kits (teaching manuals, games, resources) in nine Aboriginal languages; offering a bridge to the development of reading skills in English.

Dr Mark Boyes, a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Psychology at Curtin University, leads the socio-emotional research being conducted in the ‘Language and Literacy in Young People Research Group’. He will discuss research into the impact of reading difficulties on child mental health and resilience, as well as the identification of potential intervention strategies to promote mental health in poor readers. His research is conducted in collaboration with DSF, who have developed a mental health promotion programme designed specifically for children with reading difficulties (Clever Kids). The Clever Kids programme is being tested in 2019.