Dean's Blog: College sponsors Dyslexic Edge Conference to spread awareness and champion STEM diversity
According to the International Dyslexia Association website, each year around the world, October is recognized as Dyslexia Awareness Month, a time to come together to raise awareness, share resources, and tell stories about dyslexia successes.
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological 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. Dyslexia does not affect nor does it reflect general intelligence.
Based on recent research on the strengths of the dyslexic brain, people with dyslexia tend to:
- See the bigger picture and often see things more holistically
- Have improved pattern recognition – are able to find the odd one out
- Possess good spatial knowledge and have sharper peripheral vision
- Are highly creative
Many people with dyslexia go on to become successful STEMtrepreneurs and scientists. This list of notable scientists with dyslexia may surprise you.
For the second time, our College of Science will sponsor the Dyslexic Edge Pathways to STEM Excellence Conference and Festival on Saturday, October 17, 2020 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This important effort to inspire scientific self confidence in future STEM professionals came from an idea in our Mason Science community. Two years ago, one of the College’s Advisory Board members, Christopher Tucker, of Yale House Ventures connected Krista Gauthier of Sliding Doors with our assistant dean, Tracy Mason. The three collectively saw the value of building an awareness of dyslexia and how to support students with dyslexia at the university level while working our way both directions, back to the earliest educational methodologies and forward to explore future professional opportunities all while focusing on the STEM strengths of people with dyslexia.
We actively engage in these community and professional partnerships to spark scientific curiosity and proudly support this Dyslexic Edge conference in collaboration with Sliding Doors, Decoding Dyslexia, and the various event sponsors including Virginia Beach IDA (International Dyslexic Edge Association), Eleccion, and Reading and Language Learning Center, as well as the Dyslexic Edge Conference keynote, innovative entrepreneur, Cliff Weitzman of Speechify.
I invite you to learn more about the event, showcasing a myriad of speakers, workshops, and panels all designed on how to best educate individuals with dyslexia so they ALL reach their full potential.
Topics include: ● The science of dyslexia ● The STEM Dyslexia connection ● Best teaching practices in reading and in STEM fields ● Identifying dyslexia ● Assistive technology ● Evaluating for dyslexia ● Inspiring speakers with dyslexia ● And more.
Do you see opportunities to share and support STEM programs in our community? As a leading proponent of access to high quality STEM education, we are always on the lookout for creative ways to share science. Let us know your ideas.