Learning Difficulties Australia


Current and Previous Recipients of AJLD Awards

2018 AJLD Eminent Researcher Award - Professor Kate Nation

The AJLD Eminent Researcher Award was presented to Professor Kate Nation, Professor in Experimental Psychology and Fellow of St. John's College at Oxford University in the UK. Professor Nation’s research is concerned with the psychology of language, especially reading and its development. She is interested in how children learn to read words and comprehend text, and more generally, the relationship between spoken language and written language. Alongside her research on typical development, Professor Nation studies language and cognitive processes in children with developmental disorders that impact on language and literacy development, including language impairment, autism and dyslexia.

2017 AJLD Eminent Researcher Award – Professor Anne Castles

Anne Castles is Distinguished Professor at Macquarie University, a cognitive scientist, and an expert in development and disorders of reading and language. Anne completed her Honours degree in Psychology at the Australian National University and her PhD at Macquarie University, supervised by another LDA Eminent Researcher, Professor Max Coltheart. For over 20 years she has been contributing important research in this area, sharing this research with the scientific and wider communities.

As well, Anne is a passionate and active advocate for students with learning difficulties and ensuring they are supported by known evidence-based interventions with effective best-practice strategies. She is active in the print and electronic media, using social media effectively to translate and promote key messages from her own research and from other important research undertaken elsewhere.

She undertook teaching and research at the University of Melbourne before returning to Macquarie University. Anne has been recognised with an innovation award for the development of the Motif assessment interface, a fabulous tool of which many in this room will have used.

In 2010, Anne became the Scientific Director of the Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science and then Head of the Department of Cognitive Science. In 2011, she became the Deputy Director and Reading Program Leader for the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders.

Anne has led and contributed to important research projects through ARC grants, published many influential articles and books, supervised and supported postgraduate students, and served on the editorial boards of influential academic journals including Annals of Dyslexia, the Journal of Child Experimental Psychology, and the Scientific Studies of Reading.

Anne is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales and a member of the Steering Committee of the Australian Brain Alliance. Anne has been on the LDA Council since 2009, and has now accepted the position of President of our association. LDA is very privileged to have Anne and her expertise on Council.

To recognise Anne’s significant research contribution, we welcome Eloise Ford, the Managing Editor of Routledge Taylor and Francis Australasia. We thank her for joining us, and on behalf of LDA thank Routledge not only for sponsoring the AJLD Eminent Researcher Award, but also for its ongoing support for the growth and strengthening of its academic publication, the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties.

2016 AJLD Eminent Researcher Award – Professor Maryanne Wolf

Dr Maryanne Wolf was presented with of the LDA 2016 AJLD Eminent Researcher Award, by the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, in September, at the LDA AGM following her Speaking Tour visit to Melbourne, when LDA Members were privileged to hear her acceptance. Professor Maryanne Wolf. Professor Wolf has contributed significantly to reading research over several decades. Her interest in the neurological underpinnings of reading, language and reading difficulties has led to many published papers and books. This theoretical understanding of reading acquisition resulted in the RAVE-O Reading Program, which has assisted thousands of struggling readers.

Click here for further Maryanne Wolf biographical information, publications

Click here to read Maryanne Wolf’s 2013 A Literate Nation White Paper

2015 Eminent Researcher and Early Career Awards

2015 Eminent Researcher Award to Emeritus Professor Max Coltheart AM

The 2015 LDA Eminent Researcher Award, presented by the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, was awarded to Emeritus Professor Max Coltheart AM. The magnitude of Professor Coltheart’s distinguished research contributions and career highlights in relation to reading is substantial.

Click here to the complete 2015 LDA Celebration Awards report.

2015 AJLD Early Career Researcher Award – Dr Tanya Serry

The 2015 Early Career Researcher Award, presented by the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, was awarded to Dr Tanya Serry. The central theme of Tanya Serry’s research is on policy and practices in the Australian context for students at all levels, who struggle with reading and spelling.

Click here to the complete 2015 LDA Celebration Awards report.

2015 AJLD Early Career Highly Commended Award to Dr Anne Bellert

Dr Anne Bellert, of Southern Cross University Faculty of Education and Social Work, received the special 2015 AJLD acclamation of ‘highly commended’ for her paper Effective Re-teaching, AJLD Vol 20 No.2. This review focuses on re-teaching within a formative cycle of instruction in regular classroom settings.

Anne’s main lecturing and research interests are learning difficulties, effective teaching for literacy and numeracy, neuroscience and education.  Anne was LDA’s 2008 Student Award Winner with her paper Narrowing the gap: A report on the QuickSmart mathematics intervention, published in the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties Vol 14 No.2. This article focuses on the cognitive factors that impact on students in the middle school years experiencing learning difficulties in basic mathematics.

2014 AJLD Eminent Researcher Award

2014 Eminent Researcher Award – Dr Louisa Moats

The 2014 LDA Eminent Researcher Award, presented by the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, has been awarded to Dr Louisa Moats, the distinguished United States expert in the field of learning and reading difficulties.  Dr Moats is widely recognised as one of the world's leading advocates for the application of reading research in teacher preparation and classroom instruction.  Her Award paper, entitled What Teachers Don’t Know and Why They Aren’t Learning It: Addressing the Need for Content and Pedagogy in Teacher Education, will be published in the November issue of the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties (Volume 19, No 2). Dr Moats visited Australia in March 2015 as part of the LDA 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Click here to read Lousia Moats article Systematic, not "balanced" instruction in the October 2014 LDA Bulletin.

Click here for Louisa Moats significant paper Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science and more Louisa Moats Resources.

2013 AJLD Eminent Researcher Award

2013 Eminent Researcher Award -  Margot Prior, PhD, FASSA, FAPS, AO

The 2013 Eminent Researcher Award, presented by the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, was awarded to Professor Margot Prior OA.  Margot Prior has had a long and distinguished career as a researcher and academic in the field of family and child development for over 30 years.  She is currently a Professorial Fellow in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne and Adjunct Professor at La Trobe University. 

She has been a lecturer, clinician, and researcher at Monash, LaTrobe and Melbourne Universities, and between 1994 and 2002 she was Professor and Director of Psychology at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.  She was one of the original leaders of the Australian Temperament Project, a ground-breaking longitudinal study following a large group of Victorians from birth to age 30 years.  She was also the Founder of the Victorian Parenting Centre and the Learning Difficulties Centre at the Royal Children’s Hospital.  Her special research focus has been on autism spectrum disorders and children with learning and behavioural difficulties, particularly in the areas of language and reading.

Margot has published over 250 scientific papers and has been a frequent speaker at national and international scientific meetings in her various areas of expertise in child development and clinical psychology.  She has written and/or edited seven books including: Pathways from Infancy to Adolescence; Understanding Learning Difficulties; Hyperactivity: Diagnosis and Management; Learning and Behaviour Problems in Asperger Syndrome; No Time to Lose: The well-being of Australia’s children, and Children of the Lucky Country (with Fiona Stanley and Sue Richardson).  She consults to many national and international agencies, and writes and presents scientific articles for the media.  She was co-author with Max Coltheart of the 2007 paper Learning to Read in Australia, a Policy Paper commissioned by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia to encourage public debate on issues of national concern.

It is of some interest to note that in addition to her busy career in research and teaching, Margot was also a professional musician as an oboist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and also performing with the Queensland, Tasmanian and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras and with the ABC and BBC, over the period 1958 to 1980.  Indeed, a person of many talents.

Margot was awarded an Order of Australia in 2004 and was the Senior Australian of the year for Victoria in 2006.  She has also been awarded the Australian Psychological Society Prize for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology, and in 1996 received the LDA Mona Tobias Award for her contribution to research, teaching, and clinical practice in the areas of behavioural and learning difficulties.

2012 AJLD Eminent Researcher Award

2012 Eminent Researcher Award - Professor Linda Siegel

The first recipient of the AJLD Eminent Researcher Award was Professor Linda Siegel, Professor of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education at the University of British Columbia.  Professor Siegel has conducted extensive studies of dyslexia and other learning disabilities as well as cognitive and language development, and was awarded the 2010 Canadian Psychological Association Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Lifetime Contributions to Canadian Psychology.  She served as President of the Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD) of the Council for Exceptional Children from July 2009 to June 2010.  Her Award paper, Confessions and Reflections of the Black Sheep of the Learning Disabilities Field, was published in the November issue of the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties (Volume 17, Number 2, November 2012).

There was no recipient of the AJLD Early Career Researcher Award in 2013 or in 2012.


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