Every year, the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) holds a four-day conference to bring people together and to spread knowledge about dyslexia and other learning difficulties. The conference, which is one of the largest conferences in the country and held in a different city each year, has been held for 62 years and gives parents, educators, individuals with learning difficulties, and all avid supporters of the IDA, an opportunity to come together and learn from one other.
With one out of every ten people struggling with dyslexia, the IDA has taken the bold step of offering direct support to parents for the first time in its history. The shift to offer resources directly to parents comes as a result of an increased demand for support services for parents of dyslexic children. Each year, the IDA answers 30,000-40,000 direct inquiries to their national office from individuals seeking more information on dyslexia. The IDA estimates that up to 20% of the population demonstrates signs of dyslexia and a recent study revealed that as many as 35% of entrepreneurs may be dyslexic.
This unique conference offers its attendees a great amount of opportunities to personalize with over 100 sessions in four different tracks: Research, Clinical, Parent/ Family/Advocacy, and Research to Practice. All of the presenters, speakers, and chairs for the conference are distinguished members of the dyslexia community and include world renowned educators, doctors, and researchers in the field of dyslexia.
A wide variety of material is covered and is targeted towards educators, researchers, medical professionals, and parents. Topics include developing self-advocacy, school administration, written expression, vocabulary, dysgraphia, federal legislation, technology, families and informed parenting, research behavior, at-risk students, text comprehension, psychological and neuropsychological assessments and treatments, and many more. All sessions are open to all attendees and there are no qualifications or restrictions to attend any session.
The IDA Conference offers an opportunity for educators to learn more about reading- and language-related learning difficulties. The conference is organized into nearly 40 themes, making it very easy to focus their attention on their schools’ areas of need. The conference provides one of the best opportunities in the U.S. for educators to learn about what is current and effective in the fields of literacy, early intervention, and reading- and other language-based learning difficulties. There are specific symposia and sessions targeted to educators to inform and enhance instructional practices at schools, as well as districts as a whole.
The IDA offers unique school visits at the annual conference. For an extra fee, participants can visit a local public or private school for kids with learning difficulties and observe teaching sessions, academic therapy, and other special programs offered to students with learning difficulties. This year’s school visit is to Hyde Park Day School in Chicago.
An annual membership meeting is also held at the conference with the president, current board members, and all members that choose to attend. At this meeting, new board members are elected and members are updated of current IDA initiatives.
The 62nd annual IDA Conference will be held November 9-12, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to register for the conference, even if you are not an educator, parent, or IDA member. You can register via fax, email, or online through the IDA website. Please visit the IDA’s website at www.interdys.org . There are also several special events, including the President’s celebration, Conference Kick-Off, Exhibit Hall Grand Opening, the school visit, and the branch social event, for which tickets must be purchased separately.