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How we began...
The European Dyslexia Association was the brain child of Monsieur Marcel Seynave (Belgium), who put into practice the idea of forming a European- wide association for dyslexia so that all countries in Europe could agree as to what ‘dyslexia’ meant and to speak with one voice on behalf of all dyslexic children and adults.
In this he was ably supported by his wife, Madame Liliane Seynave.
The first discussions
In 1986 the association, APEDA* Belgique, invited Dr. Albert Galaburda, the Head of Research at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachussetts in America to participate in a conference on developmental dyslexia in Brussels. The conference was organised for the benefit of its members and the scientific world. APEDA-France and the German association, Bundesverband Legasthenie (BVL), took the opportunity to invite Dr Galaburda to make another conference for their respective organisations at a later date.
Marcel Seynave was invited to attend the congress of BVL in Hannover as the President of APEDA-Belgique and he travelled with Dr Galaburda. During their conversations, Dr Galaburda was quite surprised at the diversity of approaches in Europe towards dyslexia which he believed were influenced by the Anglo-Saxon theories of Piaget. Dr Galaburda then suggested the idea of creating an association to agree a common approach for the benefit of dyslexics in Europe.
Two years previously in 1984, there had been a study organised in England by the British Dyslexia Association with delegates from Belgium, France and Germany at which the same idea had been germinated; but at that time nothing was done!
At the congress in Hannover, there was a reunion of the contacts made in Britain between the delegates from France, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden. Marcel proposed he should take the first necessary steps for the creation of a European Association for dyslexia.
Living in Brussels, it was easy for him to establish contacts with the European Community. Mr Daunt, the Director at that time of the Bureau of Action for Handicapped Persons, showed great interest in the initiative. Marcel obtained from the European Commission a financial subvention to cover the entire costs of preparation and organisation of the first assembly.
EDA was founded
‘European Dyslexia Association’, an international association under Belgian law was founded at Brussels on 18 October 1987. Twenty-five representatives from dyslexia associations in the following eight countries set the course for the future of the Association:
- * l’Association de Parents d’Enfants en Difficulte d’Apprentissage for Belgium
- Association for Children & Adults with Learning Difficulties for Ireland
- British Dyslexia Association for United Kingdom
- Bundesverband Legasthenie for Germany
- Landsforeningen For Ordblindesagen for Denmark
- Norsk Dysleksiforbund for Norway
- Balans/Stichting Dyslexie for The Netherlands
- Union Nationale France Dyslexie for France
The first EDA board consisted of Marcel Seynave (Belgium), Dr Lisa Dummer-Smoch (Germany), Gyda Skat Nielsen (Denmark ), Aaldert van der Horst (The Netherlands), Turid GammelsrØd (Norway), Robin Salter (United Kingdom) and Dr Anne-Marie Montarnal (France)
In December 1988, the European Commission officially recognised the ‘European Dyslexia Association (EDA)’ as a Non-Governmental Organisation representing dyslexia and its specific learning difficulties.
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