This past week, I had the honor of attending the 65th Annual International Dyslexia Association (IDA) Conference in San Diego, California. It was an honor to learn from leaders, researchers and practitioners in the field of learning disabilities. With four full days of sessions and explorative learning, I have returned back to the TECHniques Center with a deeper understanding of current trends in the field.
The most informative and inspiring learning experience for me was a symposium focused on “The Impact of Stress and Anxiety on Cognitive and Behavior in Students with Dyslexia: What to Know and What to Do”. In this session, we heard from three predominant leaders in the field: a clinical neuropsychologist, a director of behavioral services, and a child and adolescent psychiatrist. Together, these phenomenal presenters dove deep into the effects of anxiety on academic functioning in students. The most profound take away is that anxiety, in itself, is a learning disability. Anxiety inhibits the learning process, working memory and performance.
One of the presenters anecdotally mentioned that high anxiety and stress can drop your functional IQ as many as 20 points. This seems very practical. Imagine you go to class, only to realize you left your car running with the keys inside. Would you be able to focus on the lecture, or would you be horribly anxious and stressed to the point where it would hinder your learning? In attending this session, I now have a deeper understanding of how stress truly alters our learning experience. I hope to utilize this information through positive student interactions and future tutor trainings.
I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow as a professional within the field of learning disabilities. I have returned to the TECHniques Center with a rejuvenated passion and drive to best serve our students.