Professor. Amanda Kirby

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Biography and Keynote Speaker Abstract

While working as a GP, Amanda had a child diagnosed Developmental Co-ordination Disorder. Nearly 30 years ago she wanted to find answers to support him as there was little known about the condition. At the same time she recognised other parents were having similar experiences of having to navigate education and health systems and gain knowledge. As a consequence of this she founded The Dyscovery Centre in 1997 as a specialist interdisciplinary centre for children and adults with developmental disorders, now a part of the University of South Wales. She has held a chair in developmental disorders at the university since 2008 and undertaken a PhD in emerging adulthood in DCD from Leeds University.

Amanda’s work in the field of DCD and co-occurring disorders has resulted in writing more than 8 books, which have been translated into many languages and publishing many peer reviewed papers which include gaining an understanding of the underlying aetiology of DCD, understanding issues in emerging adulthood and as adults with developmental disorders. Additionally, she has published work considering the barriers to delivering economical support for all developmental disorders in mainstream and community settings. She is chair of the UK umbrella organisation for movement difficulties( She has been on the committee for the latest European guidelines for DCD and sits on the Hidden Impairment National Group and has recently helped develop a new site for employers

Amanda is also the CEO of DO-IT Solutions (

The system has been used by education, Welfare to Work, in employment and in prison settings and has worked collaboratively with the BDA providing free and other workplace and educational screening tools in the past 2 years.

Useful links:


Dyslexia – into and in employment –latest understanding from research and practice

The UK government  in 2017 described the need to reduce the employment gap for people with disabilities (81% of non-disabled people in work compared to 49% with disabilities). While this statistic encompasses all disabilities, there is some evidence of the economic, social, and health impacts of being unemployed with Dyslexia and co-occurring neurodiverse conditions. At the same time there remains little research into the benefits of employment, and considering the contextual support that may be required for some.

This presentation aims to bring together the current literature and offer some research questions that need to be answered to gain a deeper understanding.  It will highlight practical approaches that have been used to enhance employability and harness skills. This will be presented from employer and employee/family perspectives.

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