The members of the board of the European Dyslexia Association met the European Disability Forum (EDF) secretariat team in Brussels. Both organisations highlighted the convergence of their actions for an inclusive Europe for all and accessible to people with specific learning difficulties (SpLD).
On the occasion of the meeting of its Board of Directors in Brussels on Friday 12 January, representatives of EDA and its President Michael Kalmar exchanged with some of the staff of the European Disability Forum and its Director Catherine Naughton.
Accessibility to everything for everyone
The European Union has important responsibilities for the accessibility of services and products for all European citizens. The accessibility of educational tools and content particularly concerns people "DYS". The exchanges showed that the lobbying actions carried out by EDF were in line with EDA actions for a better inclusion of people with specific learning disabilities.
EDF is lobbying the European institutions to ensure that strong accessibility criteria are defined at European level. This includes buildings and transport, but also many aspects that concern persons with specific learning difficulties and more widely those who are struggling with specific skills including reading. Thus EDF acts with the European authorities to ensure that all digital content, the signage of public places, is accessible to everyone, including people with dyslexia or specific learning difficulties. Both organisations agreed that the lobbying made by EDF for blind or visually impaired people are also often useful for people with specific learning disabilities. Michael Kalmar is proud to say that EDA contributed to the lobbying for ratification of the Marrakesh treaty by the EU. Thanks to enhanced accessibility standards, DYS people can better access to alternative formats and can use assistive technology compensation tools on an individual basis.
Mobility for students in Europe
Even though education issues are not a competence of the European Union, but remain under the authority of the Member States, certain points of European policy are the duty of the European Union, i.e. the mobility of European students is the responsibility of the EU. EDA and EDF note that young Europeans with specific learning disabilities do not always have the same opportunities to travel in Europe for their studies.
Employment and Learning Disabilities.
Access to employment for adults with dyslexia or specific learning disabilities in Europe face some similar difficulties as those with a disability: difficulty in obtaining "reasonable adaptations" of the work space, fear of people to see their career slowed down because of their special needs.