Led by Dr Erin Banales, clinic coordinator of the Macquarie Reading Clinic since 2014, the workshop is part of a series aimed to educate teachers and clinicians on appropriate intervention methods for children with reading difficulties.
Banales also aims to clear up any misunderstandings and challenge common assumptions about the link between verbal working memory and dyslexia.
“What we’ve seen happen is that people have made the assumption that there’s a cause or relationship there, that, working memory must be part of the reading difficulty.
And that assumption has been made without a lot of research evidence yet. So we talk about this relationship and whether or not it’s causal.
“Really a short easy example [would be], if you see the word ‘cat’ for the first time, and you know that the sounds are ‘c-a-t’ you have to hold those sounds, and then you have to blend them together to say the word ‘cat’. And it could be that children with working memory problems struggle with this and so they aren’t able to build up that recognition of words.”
Banales says, so far, the most evidence-based treatment for reading difficulties is not to attempt to improve the child’s reading skills through building up working memory, but to focus on the reading difficulty itself.
The workshop is set to draw teachers, psychologists, speech pathologists and other clinicians involved in child development. “It’s definitely something that people are very interested in… Working memory is ... a buzz word at the moment in education and reading.”