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Welcome to Learning Difficulties Australia

Learning Difficulties Australia is an association of teachers and other professionals dedicated to assisting students with learning difficulties through effective teaching practices based on scientific research, both in the classroom and through individualised instruction.
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The Science of Effective Reading Instruction: Theory and Practice

Perth | Saturday 31 July 2021   Not sure how a comprehensive reading approach taught explicitly looks like? Join Associate Professor Lorraine Hammond, Jared Bussell, Jordan O’Sullivan and Brooke Wardana for a day that focuses on both the Science of Reading and how to teach it.
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Join a community of professionals committed to effective teaching.

By becoming a member of LDA, you will have an opportunity to meet fellow teachers, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, researchers and other professionals working in the field of education who have a passion for improving student outcomes through effective instruction based on scientific research.

Members receive regular LDA publications via post, including the LDA Bulletin and the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties as well as member discounts for participation in workshops, seminars and conferences.

You will also have access to the ‘Members Only’ areas of our website where you can obtain past issues of our publications as well as conference and seminar notes.

Latest Publication

Bulletin | Volume 54 | No 1, April 2022

Special Issue: Teaching Teachers
The theme of this issue is ‘Teaching Teachers’. What can schools do to ensure they provide effective ongoing professional…
The theme of this issue is ‘Teaching Teachers’. What can schools do to ensure they provide effective ongoing professional learning as they support teachers to support their students?
The theme of this issue is ‘Teaching Teachers’. What can schools do to ensure they provide effective ongoing professional learning as they support teachers to support their students?
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Events

A Day with Linnea Ehri and Friends

We invite you to spend a day with Professor Linnea Ehri and friends! We are absolutely thrilled to have…
We invite you to spend a day with Professor Linnea Ehri and friends! We are absolutely thrilled to have the oportunity to bring Linnea, to Australian shores for these two carefully curated events. We look forward to seeing you for…
We invite you to spend a day with Professor Linnea Ehri and friends! We are absolutely thrilled to have the oportunity to bring Linnea, to Australian shores for these two carefully curated events. We look forward to seeing you for these exciting events in Melbourne and Sydney, each of which will feature a panel session with Professor Ehri and a Trade Show featuring a Decodable Reader Expo. For more details, see below, or to book, please select your preferred location: Click here to book for Melbourne Click here to book for Sydney For more information on the Melbourne event click here. For more information on the Sydney event click here. Click here to download and share our online flyer. For a printable version, please click here. Ticket Pricing Early Bird (This price will be available until the end of August.) LDA Member $180 Non-member $230 Normal Price LDA Member $200 Non-member $250 *Please note this pricing is for each event, not both. Professor Ehri will make the same presentation at both events. Melbourne Learning to recognise words: Research into Practice LDA is hosting a major professional learning conference in Melbourne on Sunday 23 October, celebrating the visit of Professor Linnea Ehri. Professor Ehri will provide a keynote address summarising her theoretical insights into how children develop proficient word recognition skills. A second keynote address, by Dr Jennifer Buckingham, will give insights into the process of advocating for effective literacy teaching in Australian classrooms. The other presenters during the day, all experienced teachers and school leaders, will provide a range of perspectives on how to support schools in the task of ensuring that all students are given the best possible chance to become readers and writers. The conference will end with a Q&A panel allowing participants and presenters to interact and share ideas. Speakers SpeakerTopicProfessor Linnea Ehri – KeynoteOrthographic Mapping and Phases of Development in the Acquisition of Sight Word Reading, Spelling Memory, and Vocabulary Learning: Guides to Instruction.Dr Jennifer BuckinghamEffective, evidence-based reading instruction for every learner.Dr Nathaniel SwainLearning words on every level: Effective instruction for building students’ orthographic, grammatical, and disciplinary knowledge.Emina McLeanDefining excellence and equity in early reading instruction.Jocelyn SeamerConnecting hearts and minds: helping teachers to make the shift to structured literacy. Venue The Capitol, Swanston St, Melbourne (map) Parking and Transport Commercial parking is available in Little Collins St. The Capitol is located a short walk from Flinders St Station. Date Sunday, 23rd October 2022 Time 9:00am (for a 9:30am start) to 5pm Catering Morning tea and lunch will be provided. Back to top Sydney Learning to recognise words: Cutting edge research LDA will be joined by the  Macquarie University Centre for Reading (MQCR) in presenting a unique professional learning event on Tuesday 25 October, celebrating the visit of Professor Linnea Ehri. The speakers will offer participants insight into current research into how children learn to recognise words. Professor Ehri, recipient of LDA's Eminent Researcher Award, will provide a keynote address summarising her theoretical insights into how children develop proficient word recognition skills. A second keynote address, by Professor Anne Castles, will introduce some of the major reading-related research in which she has been involved, both in Australia and internationally. The other presenters during the day, all highly-respected researchers associated with MQRC, will share the evidence they have recently published on how children learn to recognise words – evidence that can translate directly into the effective teaching of reading and spelling. The day will end with a Q&A panel that will allow conference participants to interact with all the presenters. Spaces are limited for this event – register early. Speakers SpeakerTopicProfessor Linnea Ehri – KeynoteOrthographic Mapping and Phases of Development in the Acquisition of Sight Word Reading, Spelling Memory, and Vocabulary Learning: Guides to Instruction.Dr Danielle ColenbranderWhat research tells us about teaching irregular wordsProfessor Anne CastlesJoining the dots and looking aheadDr Signy WegenerThe oral vocabulary-reading linkLyndall MurrayThe process of learning to read new regular and irregular words Venue Sydney Masonic Centre, 66 Goulburn Street, Sydney (map) Parking and Transport Commercial parking is available opposite the venue. The Sydney Masonic Centre is located a short walk from Museum Station. Date Tuesday, 25th October 2022 Time 9am (for a 9:30am start) to 4.30pm Catering Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea will be provided. Back to top Trade Show Includes: Melbourne Tools 4 Reading Spelfabet Sydney Back to top
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Success for All Learners: Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

Join us at LDA's MTSS online conference on Sunday 20th March, 2022, to hear about practical implementation of multi-tiered…
Join us at LDA's MTSS online conference on Sunday 20th March, 2022, to hear about practical implementation of multi-tiered systems of support to enable success for all learners.
Join us at LDA's MTSS online conference on Sunday 20th March, 2022, to hear about practical implementation of multi-tiered systems of support to enable success for all learners.
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LDA Blog

Letter from the President – August 2022

Dear Colleagues, In the two months since my last letter to members, a lot has been happening in LDA and…
Dear Colleagues, In the two months since my last letter to members, a lot has been happening in LDA and it's time for a brief  update. I hope you can find the time to read all this information and to…
Dear Colleagues, In the two months since my last letter to members, a lot has been happening in LDA and it's time for a brief  update. I hope you can find the time to read all this information and to put some very important dates in your diary. Firstly, we are very excited to now have the dates,venues, and speakers confirmed for the Linnea Ehri professional learning events in October. Many thanks to the PD Committee and everyone else involved for their work on this. The Melbourne event will be at the Capitol in Swanston St on Sunday 23 October, 9.00 to 4.00, where Professor Emerita Linnea Ehri will speak on the Development of Orthographic Mapping. Other speakers will be Dr Jennifer Buckingham, Emina McLean, Dr Nathaniel Swain, and Jocelyn Seamer. The event will conclude with a panel Q and A session. In Sydney, the event will be at the Masonic Centre on Tuesday 25 October, 9.00 to 4.30. Linnea Ehri’s  presentation will be  the same as in Melbourne and the event will also conclude with a panel Q and A. Other presentations will be from staff and doctoral students from Macquarie University Centre for Reading: Dr Anne Castles, Dr Danielle Colenbrander, Dr. Signy Wegener, and Lyndall Murray. Please keep your eyes on our social media for more information about both these events and for the imminent launch of our early-bird ticketing options. We are anticipating high demand for these events, so book early to avoid disappointment! 2022 AJLD and LDA Awards have been announced The Awards Committee is delighted to announce the following recipients, who will be presented with their awards at our AGM. AJLD Eminent Researcher Award: Professor Emerita Linnea Ehri LDA Mona Tobias Award: Dr Nathaniel Swain and Emina McLean (joint recipients) LDA Bruce Wicking Award: Jocelyn Seamer LDA Rosemary Carter Award: Mim Davidson LDA Tertiary Student Award: Hayley Tancredi, with Highly Commended recommendations for Katrina Kelso and Tessa Weadman AJLD Early Career Researcher Award: Dr Signy Wegener 2022 AGM  The 2022 LDA AGM will be held at the Treacy Centre in Parkville on Saturday 22 October, starting at 1.30 p.m. The meeting will be followed by the presentation of awards and Linnea Ehri will speak about her sense of the developments in the Science of Reading over the years. All LDA members will be welcome to attend. This will be a hybrid event to ensure maximum participation from all our members, wherever they live. Invitations to attend in person or via Zoom will be sent closer to the event. Nominations for the new Council There will be a call for nominations for the 2022-2023 LDA Council distributed in a few weeks. We anticipate that there will be at least four vacancies, so if you, or someone you know, are interested in contributing to the continuing growth of LDA and have skills including academic experience, website, social media, marketing, finances, legal, or fundraising, we would love to receive your nominations. Appointment of a new Interim General Manager (IGM) In late May, we appointed Adrian Nolan to be our part time IGM.The decision to engage an IGM was based primarily on the need to relieve the burdens on council members and to steer LDA through some significant undertakings. Adrian has proved invaluable across all areas of council activities,including the Ehri events planning,our strategic planning process,working towards major improvements to our website and many others. On a personal note, I have taken leave from my duties as President due to illness in the family. In my absence,the other four members of the Executive – Treasurer Ann Ryan, Secretary Dr Ros Neilson, and the two Vice-Presidents Dr Molly de Lemos and Elaine Mcleish – have continued to manage the affairs of LDA and have taken on extra responsibilities. We have been fortunate during this challenging period to have the tireless support and expertise of both Adrian and our stalwart Administration Officer, Bec Rangas, to keep LDA on track. Thank you for your ongoing support of LDA and we look forward to seeing you in October, at both the AGM and the Linnea Ehri events. Best wishes, Robyn Wheldall LDA President
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Response to Disability Royal Commission

Learning Difficulties Australia, Inclusive Educators Australia and Autism Awareness Australia have released an unprecedented joint statement, condemning a culture…
Learning Difficulties Australia, Inclusive Educators Australia and Autism Awareness Australia have released an unprecedented joint statement, condemning a culture of low expectations surrounding children and teenagers with disabilities, learning difficulties and additional needs.  Please read our statement outlining concerns and…
Learning Difficulties Australia, Inclusive Educators Australia and Autism Awareness Australia have released an unprecedented joint statement, condemning a culture of low expectations surrounding children and teenagers with disabilities, learning difficulties and additional needs.  Please read our statement outlining concerns and recommendations below. Disability Royal Commission Joint Statement
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Effective Instruction

Teachers are a major force for improving society. To be successful, the teaching profession must base its instructional practices on the results of good quality empirical research, and this involves keeping abreast of scientific developments. One of LDA’s main goals is to keep bridging the gaps between evolving scientific knowledge and members of the teaching profession, including educational policy makers, teacher education faculties, and teachers at the chalkface. Visit the skill areas below to learn about initiatives, approaches and programs that are being used effectively in each area.

Reading
Reading is a complex skill and it is a relatively recent invention, as far as human timelines go. Unlike speaking and listening, humans aren’t predisposed to develop reading skills naturally.
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Spelling
Reading and spelling are closely linked, but also draw on different skills and processes. At the most basic level, spelling is a production task while reading is one of recognition.
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Writing
As with reading, writing is not a natural skill and therefore must be taught. Unfortunately, many teachers do not feel well prepared to teach writing.
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Numeracy
Numeracy is a concept that is referred to as the ability to make use of mathematical concepts adeptly in our daily lives.
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