2021 Conference Keynote Address

Professor Richard Wagner's Keynote Address

New Developments in our Understanding of Dyslexia: implications for Assessment and Identification’


Below are previews of the other programme content was presented 24 April 2021



The seminars and workshops which follow are designed to look at the current practical issues within the sector. This year delegates were able to view all seminars if they wished.

Professor Anna Barnett & Dr Nichola Stuart - Handwriting Assessment (SASC Authorised)

Writing and transcription skills (handwriting and keyboarding) are critical throughout education and in employment. However, these are complex skills and students with cognitive, attention, language or motor coordination difficulties may struggle to become proficient in this area. This can have a negative impact on classroom learning, examination performance and self-esteem. The use of robust assessment tools will aid in the identification of and support for individuals with writing and handwriting difficulties. This presentation will introduce practical ways to assess the speed and legibility of handwriting and to evaluate written composition skills. Examples from the Handwriting Legibility Scale (HLS) and Writing Quality Scale (WQS) will be shared. 

Age Range: All - primary, secondary, FE/HE, adult

Dr Ginny Stacey - Processing Skills for Dealing with Dyslexia/SpLD beyond Spelling and Reading

Most dyslexic/ SpLD students don't subliminally learn higher-order processing skills. For example, in producing an essay, they carry out research, construct a theme and write the essay. They are using various higher-order processing skills, but they don't learn the skills so that writing the next essay builds on what they have done.  There are many useful processing skills that have to be taught in their own right.

This workshop will include activities using these processing skills so that participants can see how they work.  We will discuss why it is necessary to teach these skills deliberately to dyslexic/ SpLD individuals.  We will share ideas about using these skills in the situations in which the participants teach.

All these processes allow a dyslexic/ SpLD person to use their mind with greater skill so that the problems of dyslexia/ SpLD are minimised and their achievements match their innate potential.

SEN Books has a special offer for the full set of Ginny Stacey's books for PATOSS delegates; the promotion flyer can be downloaded from the SEN Books' booth at the conference.

Age Range: to teach deliberately to secondary, FE/HE, and adult students; to use with primary pupils

Dr Markéta Caravolas - Assessment and Implications for Teaching Support for Children with Dyslexia Who Are Speakers of English as a Second Language (SASC Authorised)

An enduring question regarding language and literacy assessments in struggling readers/writers who are learning in a second or additional language, is how best to disentangle the possible causes of their difficulties. To what extent do these children’s weaker skills reflect insufficient command of the target language due to lesser exposure and practice, and to what extent might they signal underlying specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia?  In this workshop, we will review the most recent research exploring these questions in bilingual and EL2 primary school-aged populations.  Based on current findings, we will consider which skills are transferable across languages and therefore can be evaluated in either the child’s main language (L1) or second language (L2), and, which skills are less transferable and therefore best evaluated in both of the child’s spoken and/or written languages. In the practical component of the workshop, we will examine the Multilanguage Assessment Battery of Early Literacy for principles of cross-language testing and for guidelines on the interpretation of the profile of results.

Age range: Primary

Melanie Jameson - Exploring Reasonable Adjustments for SpLDs in Tribunals and Family Courts

It is not surprising that people with Specific Learning Differences often struggle with the demands of court and tribunal hearings.  They will need to process language-based information rapidly and accurately, sustain their attention and cope with an avalanche of detailed information in what is known as the ‘court bundle’. Unfortunately, coping with court and tribunal hearings relies on just those skill areas that are often compromised in the SpLD population. However, support is available through the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 – but how do you go about obtaining it? This session will look at appropriate ‘reasonable adjustments’ and various forms of human support, as well as how to clue up your lawyer. We shall also explore drawing up supporting documentation.

In addition, Melanie will flag up official judicial guidance which covers the whole family of SpLDs, and direct us to resources both for court-users and for justice staff.

Age range: All

Dr Grace Elliott - Key Issues to Highlight at Transition Periods.  Early years to Primary; Primary to Secondary – Strategies to Address Them 

Strategies to ameliorate the oral language and reading comprehension difficulties of children at key transition periods: EYFS to Primary; Primary to Secondary.

It is widely regarded that learning to read is one of the most crucial aspects of a child’s learning, and that a great deal of a child’s formal education will depend upon being able to read with understanding. Difficulties with reading can lead to educational difficulties, as well as economic and social disadvantage. However, such difficulties may be reduced by suitable intervention.

Reading comprehension, like listening comprehension, requires connecting and integrating words using background knowledge, knowledge of linguistic patterns and text structures. Skilled comprehenders are able to make these connections quickly, and in doing so organise the text into a coherent whole. However, children with poor reading comprehension (3-10% of students) read accurately but do not always understand what they have read.

This workshop provides a range of inclusive and practical strategies, like reciprocal and dialogic teaching, which can be used to support poor comprehenders at key transition periods.

Age Range: Early Years, Primary, Secondary

Professor Daniel Ansari - Searching for the Equivalent of Phonological Awareness in Early Numeracy (SASC Authorised)

In the study of typical and atypical reading key early predictors of later reading success, such as phonological awareness and phonics have been identified. The discovery of these key building blocks of the reading brain have been translated into screeners for children at risk as well as evidence-based interventions for struggling readers. In this talk, I will discuss whether similar key foundational skills can be identified for better understanding individual differences in early numeracy development and what they are. In this context, I will discuss how children learn the meaning of numerical symbols (i.e. number words and Arabic numerals) and how differences between children in their processing of symbols maps onto their learning of arithmetic. I will discuss the implications of this work for screening and remediation of mathematical learning difficulties. Furthermore, I will discuss the overlap between reading and mathematical difficulties.

Age Range: Early years/Primary

Lynn Greenwold - Annual Update

Lynn Greenwold, Patoss Chief Executive Officer will deliver her annual topical update.