DAS expands international reach of annual conference amidst Covid-19 pandemic via online delivery

SINGAPORE, 12 June 2020 – The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) announced that UNITE SpLD (Uniting Ideas in Teaching Excellence: Specific Learning Differences) Conference 2020 will be held virtually for the first time in June 2020 to motivate teaching excellence for dyslexia and other specific learning differences (SpLD). The new digital format will enable educators and parents from around the world to benefit from leading-edge research findings, new practical solutions and opportunities to interact with international experts in special educational needs. The sixth UNITE SpLD will take place at an extraordinary time when the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted learning for children with SpLD across the world. The new norm of home-based learning has significantly impacted children with SpLD due to lack of face-to-face, personalised attention from their teachers and lack of access to digital devices. The conference will equip teachers, practitioners and parents with enhanced and novel strategies, methodologies and practices to help these children navigate current obstacles and gain equal opportunities in the future. In Singapore, it is estimated that 10 per cent of the population has dyslexia, the most common form of SpLD. An estimated 23,000 students from preschools to secondary schools, or one student in every classroom, has dyslexia severe enough to warrant intervention. Many of these children also experience dyspraxia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyscalculia, Asperger’s syndrome and other co-occurring challenges, increasing the complexity of diagnosis and intervention. Since 2015, the annual UNITE SpLD has convened SpLD specialists to exchange knowledge and ideas to promote greater support, assessment and intervention for children with SpLD. UNITE SpLD 2020 will encompass a wide spectrum of SpLDs with presentations by more than 30 experts from seven countries: Australia, China, India, Indonesia, UK, USA and Singapore. Known for its short, energetic and engaging sessions, the conference will showcase 31 presentations across six themes: advocacy, assessment for learning, differentiation & adaptation, educational technology, school leadership & policies, and teacher support. This year’s conference will showcase the latest global research covering aspects of behaviour, identification, early intervention, technology, multilingualism, assessment and more for children and adults with special educational needs.

Leading the discussions are six keynote speakers:

  • Fintan O’Regan: The Curious Case of ADHD
  • Dr Malatesha Joshi: Componential Model of Reading: Implications for the Assessment of Instruction of Dyslexia and Related Reading Problems
  • Dr Julie Washington: Addressing the Literacy Needs of Children who Speak Non-mainstream Dialects
  • Carol Allen: Finding the Positives! How a pandemic has offered technology positives and reduced anxiety for many Dyslexic Learners
  • Edmen Leong: A Literature Review of Empirical Studies on Reading Motivation and Struggling Readers
  • Deborah Hewes: Dyslexic Entrepreneurs in Singapore: The Incidence, Their Educational Experiences and Their Attributes
  • Mr Lee Siang, CEO of DAS said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has injected a new complexity to elevate the level of teaching excellence for children with SpLD. Through UNITE SpLD 2020, DAS seeks to advance educators and parents to the best position to enhance their children’s learning outcomes and ability to adapt to new realities. We are excited about the enthusiastic response from both presenters and participants to the online conference and hope that together, the community can chart the best possible path forward for children with SpLD and ensure that no child is left behind.”

Already one of Asia’s largest conferences dedicated to teaching excellence in SpLD, UNITE SpLD 2020 will open up opportunities for teachers, educational therapists, Allied Educators, psychologists, learning support specialists and parents to benefit from the conference without having to incur travelling costs and time. For more information on UNITE SpLD 2020, visit tinyurl.com/unitespld2020.