Mrs. Webb to Give Paper on Dyslexia in the Netherlands

Mrs. Webb to Give Paper on Dyslexia in the Netherlands

A Curry College Educator who has been a pioneer in the field of Learning Disabilities in children will present a paper at the Annual Conference of the International Federation of Learning Disabilities (IFLD) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Jan. 4-7.

Mrs. Gertrude Webb of Waltham, director of the Curry Learning Center, is among several Americans who are participating in the conference, which is being conducted in cooperation with the Department of Special Pedagogy at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands.

Mrs. Webb is a member of the Waltham School Committee.

The objective of the conference, according to Prof. Webb, is to generate on an international basis, a more effective communication of the advances in the field of learning administrators, students, mental health workers, psychologists, curriculum specialists, educators, and professional clinical staff from all over the world will be in attendance.

Prof. Webb, founder and first president of the Massachusetts Association for Children with Learning Disabilities, will deliver a paper on Curry College’s Program of Assistance in Learning (PAL).

The PAL program was instituted at Curry’s Learning Center in the fall of 1971 with the aim of providing tutorial assistance to intellectually able, but learning-disabled students, most of whom suffer from dyslexia.

Four students were enrolled in the program that first season; this year more than four times that number are participating. Most of these students would never have been able to get a college education because of their special needs, according to Mrs. Webb. “Even when such people have been admitted to college, no provision has been made to assist them in their learning.”

A key feature of the PAL tutorial program is the use of tape-recorded textbooks which the student listens to as he reads along in his printed textbook. Reading difficulty is a principal symptom of dyslexia.

The individually-designed PAL program is in addition to the regular college curriculum, according to Mrs. Webb. “All PAL students are integrated into the college for their regular courses. They carry a full academic load and are in no way segregated from the regular population.”

In addition to the PAL program, the Learning Center also trained diagnostic and prescriptive teachers for servicing children with special needs in public and private schools, and conducts its own Laboratory School.