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Released January 23, 2004

By David Tisdale

HATTIESBURG -- The DuBard School for Language Disorders at The University of Southern Mississippi will provide teachers, speech-language pathologists, parents and others with tools to help dyslexic children at its seventh annual DuBard Symposium on Dyslexia.

"Dyslexic Children: Requirements for Success," also sponsored in part by Forrest General Hospital and The International Association Method Task Force, will be held Feb. 5-6 at Forrest General Hospital's Center for Healthy Living at the Family Y, located at 3719 Memorial Drive in Hattiesburg.

The symposium features expert presenters leading a variety of breakout sessions, including "The Dynamics of Dyslexia," "Mississippi's Dyslexia Grant Proposals for 2005 - Everything You Need to Know," "A Common Sense Approach to Language Learning Differences - Tips for Parents and Teachers," "Profile to Prescription: Individualizing Multi-Sensory Structured Language Education (MSLF) Instruction" and "Practical Tips for Developing Oral Language and Its Impact on Written Language."

"Our goal is to provide current information to both parents and educators about the challenges of dyslexia and what can be done to alleviate some of the difficulties associated with it," said Dr. Maureen Martin, director of the DuBard School.

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neuro-biological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.

Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Martin said some research suggests that up to 20 percent of the population in the U.S. is affected by dyslexia to some degree. "However, we now have research that helps us better identify and remediate dyslexia," she said.

Dr. Ronald Kent, a graduate of the University Medical Center in Jackson, will present the symposium's Etoile DuBard Honorary Lecture, addressing the theme, "Parents, Teachers, Students and Physicians: Partners in Progress."

Kent is a fellow and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the American Medical Association and various other professional organizations. Kent and his staff in Hattiesburg specialize in the identification and management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and other school-related problems.

Marty Woodall, an educational consultant and speech pathologist who works with Kent, is co-chair of the symposium along with Dr. Martin.

"There's a tremendous need for the conference for educators, and this year's conference will present new information on dyslexia and attention deficit disorder," she said.

In addition, Woodall said that Dr. Kent will present information on a new Web site that he has developed that helps teachers, parents and pediatricians monitor medications taken by students receiving treatment for dyslexia.

"The symposium is an excellent opportunity for professionals and parents in our area to gain more information about dyslexia," said Daphne Cornett, assistant director of the DuBard School.

The Southern Miss Center for International and Continuing Education is coordinating the symposium. Conference participants have an opportunity to gain CEUs (continuing education unit credit). For more information or to register, call the CICE at (601) 266-4186 or the DuBard School for Language Disorders at (601) 266-5223.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM