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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 53 | No 2, August 2021

Special Issue: Speech and Print
The central theme of this issue is speech and print, and the focus is on early literacy instruction. The concepts…
The central theme of this issue is speech and print, and the focus is on early literacy instruction. The concepts of speech and print are at the heart of the alphabetic code – the code that maps the sounds in…
The central theme of this issue is speech and print, and the focus is on early literacy instruction. The concepts of speech and print are at the heart of the alphabetic code – the code that maps the sounds in spoken words onto written symbols.
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Events

Science of Writing course 2021

SOLD OUT!! ***Please note that a recording of each session will be available for viewing for 2 weeks after each session.*** Monday…
SOLD OUT!! ***Please note that a recording of each session will be available for viewing for 2 weeks after each session.*** Monday 11 & 18 Oct 2021 7:30 – 9 PM AEDT Week 1 & 2 Handwriting – science and theory, relevance and practical ideas…
SOLD OUT!! ***Please note that a recording of each session will be available for viewing for 2 weeks after each session.*** Monday 11 & 18 Oct 2021 7:30 – 9 PM AEDT Week 1 & 2 Handwriting – science and theory, relevance and practical ideas and applications – Robyn Bartram (Occupational Therapist) Many students commence school before establishing hand dominance and without an effective or efficient pencil grip. Others may struggle to learn how to form individual letters correctly, often starting in the wrong place and not positioning their letters on the writing line. Students who exhibit these early difficulties often go on to be unable to spell and write whole words, leave spaces between words, write coherent sentences, logical paragraphs and stories. In this two-part webinar, participants will be introduced to the evidence-based strategies and activities to help students engage and make progress with their early writing skills. The impact of motor, executive, attentional and learning dysfunction on writing will be discussed and participants will learn some strategies to use to promote participation and improve performance in handwriting. Monday 25 Oct & 1 Nov 2021 7:30 – 9 PM AEDT Week 3 & 4 Words and grammar – science and theory, relevance and practical ideas and applications – Lyn Stone (Educational linguist and author) The word 'grammar' has been known to come with connotations of dry, boring pedantry. Its importance in a primary curriculum has been questioned for many years, and the answer has been disappointing (to grammar-loving folk anyway). Formal grammar teaching beyond “A noun is a naming word, a verb is a doing word…” has all but left building, but Lyn Stone wants to bring it back in. In this two-part workshop, Lyn will present an argument that knowing what the parts of speech are really doing, why they’re put in their categories in the first place, and how to teach all that is an advantage to any teacher committed to raising the quality of writing instruction in the classroom. The presentation, of course, will have much room for questions and queries. Grammar is a deep and broad subject and requires robust discussion. Leave these sessions armed with ready-to-use tools to teach grammar, syntax and morphology in ways that don't just let grammar back into the building, but throw open the doors and shout, “Get in here, you foxy minx!” Monday 8 & 15 Nov 2021 7:30 – 9 PM AEDT Week 5 & 6 Sentences, paragraphs and essays – science and theory, relevance and practical ideas and applications – Jenny Baker (Speech Pathologist) The construction of extended written text is a complex process; it draws on multiple processes of ideation, language structure and mechanics. Students who struggle to write cohesively and coherently benefit from the provision of explicit (and reliable) “formulas” that help them navigate their way through the macrostructure of each text type. In this two-part webinar, participants will be introduced to an issue-based text “formula” and a narrative-based text “formula”. In addition, the specific language features associated with each text type will be explored and examples will be provided. Participants will learn how to teach emphasis, imagery and atmosphere via specific linguistic devices. Location This event will be held online. A link to the event will be sent to registrants closer to the date.
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LDA Blog

International Dyslexia Month 2021

October is being promoted internationally and within Australia as Dyslexia Awareness Month. LDA offers an overview by leading experts…
October is being promoted internationally and within Australia as Dyslexia Awareness Month. LDA offers an overview by leading experts that provides a balanced view of the use of the term ‘dyslexia’ and argues for equity for all students with reading…
October is being promoted internationally and within Australia as Dyslexia Awareness Month. LDA offers an overview by leading experts that provides a balanced view of the use of the term ‘dyslexia’ and argues for equity for all students with reading difficulties. Read the article by Professors James Chapman and William Tunmer here, as published in the LDA Bulletin, Vol 51, 2/3, 2019.
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2021 AGM

The Learning Difficulties Australia 2021 AGM occurred on Saturday 18th September, 2021 at 11am. The retiring council was thanked…
The Learning Difficulties Australia 2021 AGM occurred on Saturday 18th September, 2021 at 11am. The retiring council was thanked and a new council and President were welcomed. Please click here to view the reports from the meeting and here…
The Learning Difficulties Australia 2021 AGM occurred on Saturday 18th September, 2021 at 11am. The retiring council was thanked and a new council and President were welcomed. Please click here to view the reports from the meeting and here to view the new President's address.
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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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