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Knowledge and understanding of Specific Learning Difficulties like Dyslexia has grown and fundamentally changed over the years.

For example:

Pre 1900, people believed in the concept of “word-blindness” which was described as a reading-specific learning disorder.

In the 1970s, researchers found that dyslexic children needed “special education”.

But in 2017, “It’s time we all understand dyslexia properly as a different thinking skill-set, not a disadvantage”. (Sir Richard Branson)

Without the correct and current information, Specific Learning Difficulties can be so confronting, confounding and confusing.

This is why SPELD Victoria will only support and advocate for evidenced based interventions.  By that we mean independently peer reviewed and verified programs and interventions.

Self-assessed programs do not meet this standard.  This is how savvy marketers can succeed at your expense. At the same time some accommodations work for some people and not for others no matter what the current research says.

So in order to stay on the front foot, SPELD Victoria has established a Research Committee for two key purposes:

1- Being informed of current research developments in the area of Specific Learning Difficulties (SLDs) including Dyslexia; and

2- Assisting SPELD Victoria to progress its own research goals either through accessing research grants directly or through partnerships.

We expect our research journey to be an evolving one.  Over time, we intend to build up the membership of this exciting new Research Committee.  SPELD Victoria Members and Stakeholders will be informed directly of new research outcomes.


Inaugural Research Committee Membership

Keith Houghton, Chair, Emeritus Professor and SPELD Victoria Patron

Matt Foran, SPELD Victoria Committee Chair

Dr Cathy Catroppa, PhD; M.Ed.Psych., Dip.Ed.Psych., BBSc; M.A.Ps.S,
Educational & Developmental Psychologist, SPELD Victoria
Senior Research Fellow, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital

Laura Uebergang, MEdPsych Melb, BA(Psych)(Hons), BPsychSc, MAPS. SPELD Victoria Psychologist

Neil Alexander-Passe, Head of Additional Educational Needs at East Barnet School, UK

Dr Michelle Ronksley-Pavia, PhD; MEd (G&T); GrDipEd(Sec); PGCE; BA(Hons)(Vis.Arts), GIER Adjunct Research Fellow at Griffith University

Claire Stonier-Kipen, CEO, SPELD Victoria

Current Activities 2020

SPELD Victoria is currently participating in the following:

1. Project title: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the wellbeing and mental health of vulnerable children and adolescents.

Past Research

SPELD Victoria is currently participating in the following:
1. Project title: Self-esteem and locus of control in children who have trouble reading – Emily Scott, Australian Catholic University
Aim: Opportunity to participate in research. We want to learn about Self-esteem and locus of control in children who have trouble reading – Australian Catholic University
• age 9-12 years
• diagnosed with dyslexia/reading difficulty.
What will I be asked to do?
• fill out a background information form on your child
Your child will be asked to:
• answer yes/no questions (read aloud) about feeling of control in general situations and about themselves in different contexts
• a brief reading & language task (if not done in the past 12 months)
For more information please contact – Emily Scott (honors student) to discuss participation
Estimated completion date: TBC.

2. Project title: Improving educational outcomes for children with a disability in Victoria.
Aim: To explore the issues, tensions and successes associated with trying to facilitate the inclusion of children with disabilities in Victorian schools.
Lead investigator: Dr Claire Spivakovsky.
Lead organisation: Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University
Estimated completion date: Mid 2018.

View research articles