Last week, James Whitfield and Lauren Matthys were granted the privilege to attended the annual International Dyslexia Association (IDA) conference in Grapevine, Texas! The Gaylord Texan provided the perfect space for the conference and was easily able to accommodate the immense turnout. James and Lauren met people from all over the world, from China to South Africa to Canada, all gathered with a common goal in mind–to learn more about the multifaceted learning disability that is Dyslexia.
Much of the conference was aimed toward primary education and early intervention, but some valuable information was acquired regarding apps to enhance learning, college programs in place for students with dyslexia, tips for the successful transition to college, and also common myths associated with dyslexia.
One presentation that really stood out to us both was by Dr. Manju Banerjee, Vice President of Educational Research and Innovation at Landmark College. Landmark College is the first post-secondary institution created specifically for students with learning disabilities, dyslexia in particular. Dr. Banerjee discussed the importance of emphasizing a student’s strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses associated with their diagnosis. She also suggested that knowing ones academic strengths and weaknesses might not be enough, for this doesn’t tell you anything about that student’s mindset. The “mindset paradigm” she’s referring to is based directly on the research conducted by psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck. Dr. Dweck’s research posits that there are two types of intellectual “mindsets” an individual can possess– a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. A fixed mindset involves an individual who believes their traits (intelligence, ability, talents) are fixed, they will never improve, and that growth is impossible. On the other hand, individuals with a growth mindset embrace challenges and believe adversity makes them stronger or can change over time. Dr. Banerjee tied all of this into her presentation on college students with disabilities by stating that faculty, staff, and others who come in contact with those with dyslexia need to also consider how their mindset is playing a role in their collegiate experience, and how gaining a better understating of their mindset style can be beneficial in providing them services and accommodations.
Additionally, Associate Professor Dr. Winters of Eastern Michigan University created a useful table which outlines various reading/writing enhancement apps:
|Assistive Technology for Reading: Books|
|Blio||Free||iOS, Android, Windows Phone||K-NFB Reading Technology|
|KNFB Reader||$99.99||iOS||K-NFB Reading Technology|
|READ to Kids||$0.99||iOS||Bees Nest Studios|
|Assistive Technology for Reading: Computer/Web|
|Voice Dream Reader||$9.99||iOS||Voice Dream|
|Assistive Technology for Reading: Documents/Entered Text|
|Speak It!||$1.99||iOS||Future Apps|
|vBookz PDF Reader||$4.99||iOS||vBookz|
|Assistive Technology for Writing: Planning|
|Assistive Technology for Writing: Drafting|
|Ginger Page||$3.99||iOS, Android, Windows Phone||Ginger Software|
|Assistive Technology for Writing: Note-taking|