Launch: Dyslexic Academic Network

 

18th March 2016, 10.30am – 5pm

The Board Room, University of the Arts, 272 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EY

A support, advocacy, information and policy development forum for researchers and lecturers with dyslexia in Higher Education.

This will be the first ever opportunity for dyslexic academics to work together in identifying the challenges they face, ways of overcoming barriers and to re-address the deficit model of dyslexia.

To book a place please e-mail – [email protected]

Summary

Dyslexic academics are under-regarded and under-supported in Higher Education.  Dyslexics tend to be isolated and fail to take steps towards self-advocacy even within the university sectors own disability, equity and diversity frameworks. The strategies that dyslexics use to become academics; self-reliance, individually developed compensatory strategies and hard work are the very things that cloud the issues and has the effect of obscuring underlying difficulties. Dyslexic academics share a range of characteristics and experiences that define them as a distinct group. Not least amongst which is that the arena in which they are expected to excel is precisely where the effects of their disability are most likely to be profound.

Dyslexia is a syndrome that manifests itself differently in each person.  It is mostly understood using a deficit model but it might be better conceived in terms of neuro-diversity that can bring additional values such as; creativity, holistic and abstract thinking, high visual and spatial awareness and simultaneous multiple thought processing. DAN will support the understanding and promotion of these traits within professional frameworks.

DAN will act as a support, advocacy, information and policy development forum to campaign for greater support for and understanding of the unique position of the dyslexic working in Higher Education.

The purpose of the Network.

Provide a forum for challenging the deficit model of dyslexia by exploring the much-mooted advantages of dyslexia, such as; abstract thinking and creativity, heterogenic and multi-paradigmatic thought processing, holistic thinking, dissecting arguments and making unexpected links.

*           To provide advocacy within the Higher Education sector and more widely.  Help the sector understand the needs of the Dyslexic employee.

*           Raise the profile of the dyslexic academic and help identify a discreet group with a shared identity and profile.

*           Help to remove barriers to career advancement and counter pockets of intolerance and yet to be resolved discriminatory practices.

*           Provide a campaigning voice to represent the views of the Dyslexic Academic community and inspire dyslexics to enter academia.

*           To provide support to dyslexics numbered amongst the 40% of academic staff who, on part-time and temporary contracts, are doubly isolated and disadvantaged.

*           Share best practice regarding compensatory strategies and in provision and policy.

*           As dyslexia can have emotional effects relating to anxiety, depression and embarrassment provide a forum the sharing of experiences.

*           To present a different ‘map’ of dyslexia drawing attention the fact that it is a wide-ranging syndrome effecting far more than the processing of printed symbols especially how the disability effects crucial features of performance such as timekeeping, short term memory, information retrieval, organisation and planning.

*           Help the sector to develop strategies to uncover the ‘hidden dyslexic’.

Provide information and strategy guidance to the existing, mostly student orientated, dyslexic support sector and Access to Work Schemes.

*           Write a code of practice to help the sector and individual Universities meet their obligations under disabilities legislation and to develop standards, fairness and consistency.

*           Create a forum for mutual support where dyslexics can assist each other with developing career strategies and maximising their strengths.

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