The LEAD! Project (No more Specific Learning Disorders!) is closer to its final purpose: promoting inclusion of students with SLD (Specific Learning Disorders – dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dysorthography, and dyslexia).
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, and in order to ensure the smooth development of the activities and of the online platform hosting the training modules, a help desk and a community for families, schools and SLD students, the project was extended by 12 months.
During the last months, project partners have been engaged in the development of training modules, tool detection, and the first versions of the #MySkills platform. On top of this, focus groups have been organised in all partner countries. These focus groups were held online: by the University of Valladolid, on November 12, 2020, by ENFOR on November 26, 2020, by the Inspectoratul Scolar Jedetean on November 26, 2020, by the Comprehensive Institute 2 on December 3, 2020, and by the Lifelong Learning Platform on April 29, 2021.
Each meeting saw the participation of experts from different fields: university professors, managers and teachers of schools, representatives of VET companies, professionals of enterprises producing compensatory tools and instruments, local administrations and representatives of ministries, associations, social companies and professional categories.
During the meeting, the following topics were discussed
- Topic I: Learning difficulties detection and identification system.
- Topic II: Instruments and use of compensation tools at school and at home.
- Topic III: MY SKILLS Platform.
Among the most relevant aspects, we highlighted that teacher training, compensatory tools and dispensative measures are essential to provide the appropriate and needed support to students. A personalized educational and didactic project, commensurate with the potential of each student, thus becomes a necessary tool for: planning interventions, continuously improving assistance, identifying tools and educational solutions suitable for students. Furthermore, it shows how the emotional aspects are fundamental in the learning process, but also in the personal growth as a person. Proper teacher training and particular attention to emotional aspects guarantee an inclusive process, an aspect that we will highlight in the next steps we will take in the further development of the project.
The project launch event was a webinar held on 7 May 2021. More than 30 people from the different partner countries met to discuss the progress of the LEAD! project and the presentation of the #MYSKILLS platform. After the welcoming speech and introductory observations by Cosimo Minonni, president of ENFOR (project coordinator), each project partner presented the different facets of the project in their mother tongue: a multicultural and very satisfying day!
In conclusion, the LEAD! project must be prepared to adequately train the main educational agents of students with SLD (parents and teachers), as well as to provide the necessary support in the acquisition of the use of compensatory tools by children and adolescents with learning difficulties.
Unfortunately, these focus groups couldn’t be held face-to-face, although they do meet online every month. What’s next? A project meeting will take place in autumn 2021 – at the University of Valladolid (Spain).