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The BDA International Conference: Day Two


So here we are at Day 2 of the British Dyslexia Association's International Conference.


Today I wanted to highlight the talk from Dr Manuel Casanova who presented his talk "Neuroanatomical Findings Pointing Towards A Spectrum Of Cognitive Abilities."

Before I write further about the talk, I have to admit that the title switched me off as I didn't quite understand it at first.  I had that 'What have I let myself in for" moment and it did take me a while to bed into the talk and my goodness it was absolutely fascinating.

Let me tell you why...

In the years that I have been exploring dyslexia I have heard lots of stories about how dyslexia is perceived.  For some, the condition is something that affects the learning of a child and later on into adulthood.  For others, (at the extreme) a sense that dyslexia is just an excuse for being lazy and disinterested in studying.

Dr Casanova's research was interesting because he has been able to detect differences in the brain for people with dyslexia as well as for people with Autism too.
He outlined a number of significant differences that can be observed through MRI imaging as well as also being able to show which parts of the brain are working in what way for people with these different conditions.

Without going into technical language, it would appear that if someone has dyslexia, then there brain is structurally different to that of someone who isn't dyslexic.

Dyslexia is a physical thing.  Now I am uncomfortable in calling it a condition as it makes it sound like a terrible disease.  The more I talk to people about dyslexia, the more I see the strengths that come with having it and less I think of the down-sides.  That said, I don't want to belittle the suffering and anxiety that dyslexia so often brings to the lives of those with it, but this is often to do with how they are supported through education or how they are understood and the challenges associated taking place at a really impressionable period in the life of a child and having far reaching mental health consequences.

So yes, I struggled with the scientific content of this talk, but I was so so pleased to see that Dyslexia is something that can be physically identified.

If you are at the BDA International Conference, I would love to know how you are getting on?  What are you learning? What impact is it having on you?
Please do come and say hi, I would love to meet you.

I will be writing more tomorrow for the last day of the meeting.

Bye for now.

John

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