Who Learn Differently Overseas
SUPPORT GROUPS, ACTIVITIES,
If there is no support group in your
area, you might want to start one. In order to find members, ask friends and
school personnel to announce your plans to people who might be interested. You
might place ads in the school and area newspapers. Perhaps even a local radio
or TV station would help out.
program is preceded by good publicity. If you raise the level of enthusiasm,
you will raise the level of attendance. Therefore, if you wish to present a program
on learning-differently students for your club members, you need a plan of
Ask for a short speaking slot at all the general meetings
that will precede your program. Feel free to read bits and pieces of Students Who
Learn Differently Overseas to your audience to whet their appetites.
Publish part of the report in your newsletter. We are happy
to send any requested sections via email so you don't have to retype, or you
can download directly from the Internet (http://web.archive.org/web/20071007214912/http://studentswholearn.fawco.org/).
You might like to summarize the report. One rep wrote, "A statement that
we received this report did nothing to arouse interest, whereas a 1 ½ page
summary did get some response. I expect to hear more."
If it is all right with your club, go out into your
community and invite interested persons to your presentation. Host country as
well as international schools might be interested as well as any support groups
in your area. You might also consider inviting host country officials who are
involved in the juvenile justice system. Outreach into your community will
strengthen both your club's and FAWCO's image, and your club members are more
likely to respond when they hear your information presented in different ways
and in different locations.
The amount of the video you will be able to show will depend
on how much time you have been allotted. The video itself runs for 70 minutes,
too long to show in its entirety at a general meeting.
You want to be sure to leave time for questions, especially
if you have invited a guest expert.
You could offer to show the rest of the video at the end of
the meeting to those who are interested, if that is a possibility, or make
other arrangements for viewing the remainder at a later date.
To introduce your program you are
welcome to use any of the information in Students and any part of the speech which was given to
introduce Addendum 2001 to the Luxembourg Conference, which is reprinted below:
DIFFERENTLY: YOUR PERSONAL CONCERN
YOUR FINANCIAL CONSIDERATION
you do to children, they will do to society." Karl Menninger
(1899-1966; famous American psychiatrist)
differently, the condition described by such buzzwords as dyslexia,
dyscalculia, dyspraxia, hyperactivity and attention problems, is your problem.
It is not just the concern of learning-differently students and their families
and their teachers and their school and eventually their employers. It is your
personal concern and your personal financial consideration.
What do we
know about learning differently? Well, there is a lot we know and a lot we
don't know. One of the things we do know is that these students are not stupid.
They are also not dumb, they are not lazy, and they are trying hard enough.
What don't we know? We don't know why some brains are "wired"
differently than others, why otherwise perfectly healthy, intelligent
individuals are not responsive to many conventional teaching methods.
In order to
receive a diagnosis of being a learning-different or LD person, the individual
must be of normal or above normal intelligence. All of the senses, like sight
and hearing, must register in the normal range, the person must not be
suffering from any emotional or mental disorder, and the person must have had
the opportunity to learn. In other words, LD students look just like the
majority of their peers. Because of this, LD is often referred to as a
"hidden disability." Others, however, have referred to it as a hidden
gift. There are always two sides to the coin. But for our purposes today, we
will only be looking at the problem side.
precisely because it is hidden that most of the problems occur. If you break your
leg, you are automatically given special consideration, even by strangers. They
open doors for you, make sure that you have a place to sit, maybe even fetch
something for you to rest your leg on. But when people can't see your problem,
they are inclined to think that one does not exist. And when you are unable to
perform like your peers, you are found to be at fault. In school, you aren't
listening hard enough or you're not paying attention. And to make matters even
worse, there are some days when you can respond to conventional teaching
methods, when you can do well on a test, when you are organized and everything
seems to fall into place. This is what is known as "performance
inconsistency" and it is a very real problem for LD people because it
leads others to assume that you really can do it, you're just not trying hard
So all this
is very interesting, but how does it affect you? Neither you nor any of your
family members have any LD problems of which you aware. Although you might be
surprised. Studies are showing that as much as 20% of the population, 1 in 5
people, are people who learn differently. I personally think it's closer to 1
in 4. But because LD people are bright, or even very bright, they often develop
compensatory techniques on their own that see them through most tasks.
about those who can't, or those who are not taught how? What happens when you
take individuals of normal or above normal intelligence and legally force them
into an environment for 16 or 18 years where they cannot succeed or only
succeed poorly? What happens to
these individuals' self-esteem when they are constantly told that it is their
fault that they are failing?
shows that they will find ways they can succeed, and they will engage in
activities that make them feel good. Unfortunately, these ways are often
socially unacceptable and even sometimes criminal. Feeling good can be found
for some in drinking too much or taking drugs. Recent research in the US found
that 52 % of a sample of prisoners was dyslexic. In the UK, studies have shown
that 70 to 80% of inmates were. An astonishing 91% of residents screened at a
drugs and alcohol rehabilitation center were found to be dyslexic. The
probation officer, Wally Morgan, who conducted the study, found the resulting
feelings of inadequacy and rejection were the underlying cause of their
you can perhaps now see where your personal and financial concerns are evident.
Surely you are concerned about your personal safety and that of your loved ones
as you walk the streets, and when you leave your homes unattended, theft might
be a worry. As Mr. Morgan wrote, "If we can give dyslexia a much higher
profile, if judges and lawyers, prison officials and teachers can acquire a
better understanding of it, if people would realize that dyslexia in not an
excuse but a reason, we would quickly see a significant reduction in
think how your tax burden might be lightened if we could more than cut the
prison population in half. Think of the additional savings if we could help
prevent drug addiction and alcoholism. And think how these savings would not
only be financial.
you can make a difference both to your personal well-being and that of others
by helping to educate your community so that it might direct its priorities in
the most constructive directions.
Mead, the noted US cultural anthropologist, noted: "Never doubt that a
small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: indeed it's
the only thing that ever has."
following organizations provide information about new and established groups
Addresses for contact information):
Children in Crisis booklet, Children with
Specific Learning Difficulties, is an excellent example of the information
that might be contained in an area guide.
You will want to create a brochure or flyer that you can leave
with schools, relocations agencies and churches. Examples could be requested
from established support groups (See Useful
Some of the larger groups are able to put out a newsletter.
United in The Netherlands provides a
description of a PTA-based support group.
Dyspel in Luxembourg has a chart which indicates the types of
activities performed by support groups.
There are any number of
organizations online that offer support to anyone involved with the education
of the LD learner. However very
few of them are truly international in scope. Two that do are presented below:
A non-profit organization was
registered in Brussels, Belgium, in August 2000 under the name Dyslexia
International Tools and Technologies (DITT). Since then the organization has shifted its focus somewhat
and now goes under the title of simply DYSLEXIA INTERNATIONAL (www.dyslexia-international.org). They focus now on sharing expertise. Below is a description of the current
association which was supplied by Judith Sanson, Chair of the Board of
Dyslexia International, asbl, has a special position in
representing dyslexia on the world stage. It was recognized as a non-governmental organization in
operational relations with United Nations Education, Science and Culture
Organization (UNESCO)in October 2006.
This means that it represents over 500 million people at risk of
marginalization world wide - in all five UNESCO regions: Africa, the Arab
States, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe and
In organizing the first World Dyslexia Forum that took place at UNESCO
Paris February 3-5 2010, each
ministry of education of all 193 countries was invited to send their teacher
training delegates to best practice in the teaching of reading and writing:
science, good teaching practice reported by specialists from Arabic-, Chinese-,
English-, French-, Russian- and Spanish-speaking regions of the world and
ICT. All these presentations are filmed and available free from the
Dyslexia International website.
We do not sell advice or materials. It is widely recognized that
lack of teacher training is the biggest barrier to literacy. Our e-Campus will offer authentic, scientifically
grounded materials for teachers free of charge.
We work with teams of recognized international experts including the
BBC, and all our productions are overseen by distinguished professors and
researchers who make up our Scientific Advisory Committee.
Dr. Ian Smythe has extensive international
experience in the field of LD learning and his current work can be seen at http://www.ibisconsultants.info/expertise.html
. What follows are excerpts from
Ibis has build
its reputation around development of lasting solutions in the field of literacy
support which include inspiration, innovation and imagination. We use a
combination of internal expertise and an international network of colleagues to
provide input into project in over 40 languages in the three key areas of:
o Ibis helps develop and
deliver training for teacher and other literacy related professionals, each
designed to suit the local needs. This has been carried out in many countries
including Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Denmark, England, Egypt, Greece, Hong Kong,
Hungary, Romania and Sweden.
Dr. Smythe also has an online publication, Dyslexia
Projects Newsletter, which offers a wealth of information on such
topics as upcoming conferences, new technologies, and free downloads. Should you wish to subscribe, contact
him at email@example.com .
groups can engage in a range of activities from educating the public to support
of individual members. Below are
just three additional possibilities:
· Lobbying: Some support groups keep track of pending legislation in
their host country. Sometimes members are asked to or volunteer to testify
before ministers or legislative committees when laws concerning education are
up for discussion. Support groups also lobby schools and teachers in an attempt
to bring about greater understanding and more facilities for the learning
Association for Children & Adults with Learning Difficulties (See Useful
Addresses), a host-country based support group in Ireland, notes that they
have been given a grant from the E.U. under the Horizon Program to run a course
in information technology for adults with dyslexia who want to get into
employment or become self-employed.
For the Students Themselves: Children
learn well from each other, and support groups for children themselves could
lead to an exchange of coping techniques and strategies.
Some of you might not be aware that the FAWCO Foundation,
the philanthropic arm of the Federation, offers financial support, currently in
the form $3000 for the parent of a student, 5 – 15 years of age, with special
challenges whose mother is a member of a FAWCO club. Go to
to view the
current description and requirements for this award.
If you type “awards for students
with learning disabilities” into Google, you will find a number of scholarships
available specifically for LD learners.
Now in its third year, Clements International's Expat Youth Scholarship
is a unique contest exclusively for expat students who spend their childhoods
moving between different countries and cultures. The 2011 Expat Youth Scholarship is
open to students ages 12-18 of any nationality who have resided in a foreign
country for at least two consecutive years. This year's theme asks participants
to create a video explaining their favorite thing about their host country and its
culture. A total of $10,000 in scholarships will be awarded to six students in
two age categories. Visit for more
information. This year the entry deadline is May 13, 2011. 
Currently Clements, an expat insurance specialist, is supporting the FAWCO website as a Platinum Partner.
Created by Council for Exceptional Children, these awards recognize the accomplishments of children and youth with exceptionalities. Thousands of children and youth have been recognized since the program’s inception in 1982.
for the 2013 Yes I Can! Awards are now open!
The deadline is is Oct. 19, 2012.
CEC will select 21 winners for their outstanding achievements in:
School and Community Activities
But everyone is a winner! Each individual nominated for the Yes I Can! Awards will receive a certificate of accomplishment.
Students Who Learn Differently Overseas by Susan van Alsenoy, AWC Antwerp Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Page created 10/29/99 EvE. Last updated 03/01/11
SvA. Copyright © fawco.org. All rights reserved.
Candidates must be 2–21 years of age when they are nominated.
The nominee must have an identified disability.
Each candidate may be nominated in only one category.
International nominations are accepted.
Posthumous nominations are not accepted.
For complete information, go to http://www.cec.sped.org/content/navigationmenu/aboutcec/yesicanfoundation/default.htm .
Students Who Learn Differently Overseas
by Susan van Alsenoy, AWC Antwerp
Page created 10/29/99 EvE. Last updated 03/01/11
Copyright © fawco.org. All rights reserved.