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Nicholls to host dyslexia conference

THIBODAUX – Despite the recently mandated budget cuts to higher education, the Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders at Nicholls State University continues to thrive.

On Saturday, Jan. 31, the dyslexia center will present “Unmasking Their Potential,” a one-day conference for parents, teachers, guidance counselors and anyone else interested in making a difference in the lives of students with dyslexia. Sponsored by the Louisiana branch of the International Dyslexia Association, the Giardina Family Foundation and Coastal Commerce Bank, the event will kick off in the Peltier Hall auditorium.

Rob Langston, chairman and CEO of the For the Children Foundation and president of the Langston Company Inc., is scheduled as keynote speaker. He has conducted assemblies for more than 400,000 children in the United States, traveling 100,000 miles annually to present his message of inspiration — based on his personal battle with dyslexia.

Additional presenters will include staff of the Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders; members of the board of directors of the Louisiana branch of the International Dyslexia Association; independent educational consultants; and representatives from the Region 1 Educational Service Center and the Parent Training and Information Center.

The conference will also include various breakout sessions — covering such subjects as elementary phonics and college readiness.

Registration is $50 per participant until Monday, Jan. 26. Late registration will begin Tuesday, Jan. 27, at $55 per participant and will continue until the day of the conference — including on-site registration. Full-time students will be admitted at $20 per participant as long as proof of status is provided.

Fees include a continental breakfast and lunch.

“All in all, we believe 2009 will be another great year for the center,” Karen Chauvin, dyslexia center director, said. “We are receiving an overwhelming response regarding the upcoming conference. Attendees are expected from throughout Louisiana and beyond. We have also begun making preparations for the center’s annual summer camp, and our tutoring centers are set to begin their spring sessions during the week of Jan. 26. Without a doubt, our program’s commitment to excellence and expansion is on track.”

The dyslexia center serves Bayou Region residents who have been identified as having characteristics of dyslexia and/or a related disorder. College students in all majors are provided support services, and comprehensive assessments are available for children, adolescents and adults. Screening is provided for children ages 4 to 6, and after-school tutoring programs are conducted in Thibodaux, Houma and Morgan City.

Staff members provide teacher training as well, via in-service workshops and pre-service classes.

One of several distinct learning disabilities, dyslexia is a specific, language-based disorder characterized by difficulties in single-word decoding. The condition is manifested by variable difficulty with different forms of language, including reading, writing and spelling.

For additional information, or to register for the conference, call the dyslexia center at (985) 448-4214.

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