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Information & Advice

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BRAINHE one-day conference 2006

Held at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK (15 September)


The first keynote address was given by Dr Ross Cooper: "Neurodiversity and making meaning".

Ross Cooper is dyslexic.  Apart from a disabling school experience, he would not choose to be otherwise.  He is currently head of the Dyslexia, Literacy and Learning Styles Division at the LLU+, London South Bank University, UK. He has been involved in making sense of how different people learn, through his own experiences, academically and professionally, and through his work in special schools, FE and HE.  Dr Cooper argued that it is time to reframe the debates about learning styles in terms of meaning-based learning.  How do people make meaning out of their experiences and what are the implications of our growing awareness about neurodiversity?  He began from the premise that we are not disabled by who we are, but by whom we are expected to be.  Dr Cooper's presentation outlined the critical elements that need to be in place for the development of meaningful learning for all learners.  The framework for a meaning-based teaching and learning process can incorporate everything we know about effective learning and good teaching practice, while supporting the principles of inclusive learning.


The second keynote address was given by Dr Alison Austin: "Neurodiversity and the medical professions".

Alison Austin is Assistant Director in the Office of Science and Innovation, Department of Trade & Industry, London.  Growing up in the south west coast of Scotland, she had what people referred to as ‘clumsy child syndrome’.  Her dyslexia was not formally diagnosed until she was 17 and had started her working life as a nurse (she is a qualified SRN with experience in A & E and Intensive Care).  Dr Austin left full-time nursing to go to university, where she obtained a degree in Molecular Biology and a PhD in Biochemistry. She has been a civil servant for the past 12 years, working in several Departments.  Over the years she has developed a range of strategies which have helped her to cope with dyslexia and dyspraxia.  Her presentation explored what it is like to be a dyslexic and dyspraxic nurse, student and civil servant.


These links lead to PowerPoint presentations, articles and videos from the rest of the conference:

        Supporting colleagues who are dyslexic by Heather Hardie: