Summary of the DYSSpeLD project.

Many Specific Learning Difficulties/Disabilities (Sp.L.D.) co-exist or overlap and is the reason why many labels may be attached to the same students. Few EU countries accept that dyslexia is only one of a group of difficulties/disabilities which may also have varying degrees of co-existence.

In 2007, there were 108 million young people aged between 0 to 19 in the 27 EU countries (EU-27). Taking a conservative EU-27 school population of say 80 million, there could be between 18.5 and 35 million children with Sp.L.D. with varying degrees of co-existence. By any definition, such numbers, if they continue to remain unidentified and unsupported, are a massive lost generation that the EU cannot afford to lose in today’s global market.

Unidentified, Sp.L.D. will result in low self esteem, high stress, atypical behaviour, low achievement and early school leaving. This can also lead to violence in school and later anti-social behaviour within communities. In the worst case it can lead to criminal acts and imprisonment. The reverse is also true where children and young persons, having had on-going support for their Sp.L.D., go on to higher education and become valuable citizens.

The Lifelong Learning Programme has funded numerous projects related to dyslexia. However, Dyslexia is but one of 7 learning disabilities, co-existing to varying degrees which, due to the same underlying information processing deficiencies, will require similar pedagogical approaches. This Project will take the first steps in exchanging experiences and information in the field of Sp.L.D., leading to the development of methods and approaches in understanding their co-existence, and to test and implement new organizational and pedagogical approaches.