SPELD NZ Conference 2014

In September 2014, the SPELD NZ Conference was held in Auckland for both SPELD members and the general public. SPELD is a not for profit organisation that provides information, assessment and tuition for children with a range of specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD. This year, the conference had a specific focus on working memory, as it is recognised that this is critical to learning. The conference gave the attendees a unique opportunity to hear from international experts in the field. Chloe Young, SoundSkills’ Speech Language Therapist, was at the conference to hear the guest speakers and increase awareness and provide information about the assessment and treatment of Auditory Processing Disorder.

Mimma Mason, the Cogmed Manager for Pearson Clinical and Talent Assessment in Australia and New Zealand, spoke about working memory and how it specifically affects learning and behaviour. She reported that 10-15% of all students have working memory deficits causing them to perform outside the average range in many areas of learning. Working memory has been found to be a better predictor of achievement than IQ. 

Intervention for working memory includes:  
changing the environment i.e. reducing distractions 
teaching strategies for coping
intensive training on working memory tasks to strengthen working memory capacity.

Neuroplasticity, or the ability of the brain to change, is important in intervention. Effective working memory training should be research-based, adaptively challenging, intensive and supervised by a clinician.

The keynote speaker for the conference was Nanci Bell. She is the CEO for Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, an organisation dedicated to helping children and adults learn to their potential through literary research and remediation. Their belief is that everyone can be taught how to read and comprehend written information. The Lindamood-Bell Visualising and Verbalising program is based on the idea that the sensory input of imagery underlies oral and written language. Successful reading and comprehension requires intact phonemic awareness (the ability to identify and manipulate sounds in speech), symbol imagery or the ability to create a mental image for sounds and letters in words, and concept imagery, the ability to create mental “movies” from oral or written language.


>>> At SoundSkills we are extremely dedicated to our mission of diagnosing, treating and raising awareness about APD. Click here to learn more.