Dubai to host 7th GCC Learning Disability Conference

Dubai, 28 October 2013: Ishara Consultants, pioneers in organizing special education conferences in Dubai, will host the 7th GCC Learning Disability Conference under the auspices of  UAE Ministry of Education on November 13 and 14 at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Deira-Dubai.

The conference is designed to address the  interwoven, interconnected nature of learning difficulty with a special focus on the three dominant areas of reading, motor coordination, and mathematics.

Maalainain Salama, Director of Ishara Consultants, said that a specific learning difficulty is uniquely different for each person. Although research has established specific characteristics to help define what constitutes a learning difficulty, individuals with learning difficulty typically use a variety of  different coping mechanisms and bring their own learning styles  into play.

‘Overcoming a learning difficulty is a lifelong journey of learning and adaptation. A person with a learning difficulty may struggle in one area or many areas such as reading, spelling, writing or mathematics. The degree of difficulty could range from mild to severe. A learning difficulty may also be present along with other ‘disabilities’, such as mobility or sensory impairments,’ he said.  

Highlights of the tow day conference will be on following three significant topics :

1.      Dyslexia– Individuals  with dyslexia typically think faster than they read, spell and get ideas down on paper. Mr. Neil MacKay, MEd, DipSpEd, AMBDA – UK will deliver the subject.

UK research suggests that an over-emphasis on reading accuracy can have a negative impact on  comprehension.  This presentation will show how to support students with weak decoding to make full use of contextual clues in passages and questions.  These methods enable students to interact with text at an ability appropriate level despite poor word attack skills.

2.      Developmental Coordination Difficulty or Dyspraxia – Individuals with developmental coordination disorder often have difficulty performing tasks that involve both large and small muscles, including forming letters when they write, throwing or catching balls, and performing other movements. Prof. Amanda Kirby MBBS MRCGP PhD will be presenting the topic.

5-6% of children have been shown to have DCD. In the context of the international criteria  from DSMV and a European consensus for DCD, this presentation will highlight the latest knowledge in the field of DCD.

The talk will include the definition and how to recognize the symptoms and signs at  different ages and stages going from child to adulthood and what screening and assessment tools are appropriate for this.

It will also present the evidence of overlap with other specific learning difficulties and neurodevelopmental disorders. The latest research will be discussed including both the short and longer term implications of having DCD including the higher levels of anxiety, depression and risk of weight gain.

3.      Dyscalculia– Individuals with dyscalculia has difficulty understanding and using math concepts and symbols. Prof. Steve Chinn, BSc, PhD, Dip Ed Man, AMBDA will present the subject.

Mathematics is a subject of concepts that build to develop further concepts. It is a subject that can create debilitating anxiety. There are a number of principles that can guide teaching towards being more effective and motivating for learners. The pragmatic implications for everyday classrooms will be discussed.

The conference is expected to be attended by around 300 delegates including principals, administrators, counselors, social workers, teachers, parents, researchers, adult literacy educators, college educators, correctional specialists, curriculum specialists, learning disability specialists, reading specialists, staff developers, speech and language specialists, library and media specialists, technology coordinators, medical and mental health professionals, teachers of special education and general education, education policy advocates and college student support personnel, adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and parents of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Registration to participate in the conference is open via the website:   and registration can be done through the website or Email: Tel: +971 4 295558

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