In Luxembourg, dyslexia is seen as a “disorder occuring during brain development of the child, which prevents the development of skills needed for encoding and decoding written language in the absence of any hearing, visual or intellectual impairment”.
There are several centres of competency in Luxembourg, one of which – Le Centre pour le développement des apprentissages Grande-Duchesse Maria Teresa (CDA) – focuses on:
- attention deficit disorder (with or without hyperactivity) – ADD / HD;
- memory impairment;
- disturbances in auditory and visual perception;
- disturbances in sensory perception.
The other relevant centre of competency may be considered to be the Centre pour le développement moteur (CDM), which also deals with DCD dyspraxia.
In 1912, the first official schooling laws were announced by the government. The Compulsory Education Act gave the general right of education to every child, but children with intellectual and developmental disabilities were refused access and children with physical disabilities were excluded from school attendance. Only the foster care centre of Betzdorf offered some schooling for pupils with disabilities, starting 1904. In 1966, the first ‘experimental classes’ with pupils with special needs e.g. in Esch/Alzette took place. Others like the Centre on hearing and language disorders (Centre de Logopédie Luxembourg), followed sometimes without government authorisation or legislation.
A law of 28 June 1994, amending the law of 10 August 1912 and amending the law of 14 March 1973 concerning the organisation of primary education and the creation of special education institutions and services, indicates that children with motor, sensory, intellectual and emotional difficulties of compulsory age may be integrated into mainstream schools.
The Special Education Act of 1973 obliged children with disabilities to attend school and there emerged several special education institutions and special schools. Currently, there are 16 institutions and special schools all over the country. In 1994/95 the reformulation of the Special Education Act opened the gateway to integration by proposing three ways of schooling for children with disabilities: joining the Luxembourg special education system (éducation différenciée), going to an approved institution abroad and/or participating in mainstream schooling. The Luxembourg administration pointed out the right and responsibility of the parents to decide the type of schooling (special or mainstreaming education) they want for their children. From the early years of the new century the numbers in the special education system have decreased continuously.
In 2009, the Act on Education (loi l’école fondamentale) set up a framework of cooperation between mainstream and special education schools. In 2013, the first special education school changed its name to ‘regional inclusion centre’ (centre scolaire inclusif regional). The current education policy favours inclusive school enrolment, but it does not intend to abolish the special education system. There is no individual right to permanently mainstream schooling for disabled pupils, if they do not meet the defined educational standards. The reform of the Act on Primary Education of 2017 (loi du 29 Juin modification de l’enseignement fondamental) states that a child with special or specific educational needs may satisfy the obligation to attend school by receiving a differentiated education (enseignement différencié) according to his or her needs identified by the school inclusion commission (la commission d’inclusion).
An agreement on primary education was signed, enabling children with attention deficit disorder or dyslexia to be accompanied in classrooms by a specially trained team.
The aim of integration is the acceptance of each person in their own environment, which then allows them to participate as a full member of society.
In accordance with the ministerial directive of 4 November 1991, concerning the school integration of children with special educational needs, integration must be understood as a means to guarantee the fulfilment of potential of children with special needs. The future aim is integration into society. The right to instruction and education includes the right to common instruction and education for all children.
Pre-primary, primary and post-primary teachers and the professionals from special education centres, institutions and services are invited to establish, in line with the different educational standards, the necessary contacts to allow beneficial exchanges in creating a school for all children.
The educational mission of schools involves the bringing together and mutual respect of all children, regardless of their social, cultural, physical or intellectual differences.
Children with special educational needs can and must learn in the context of daily, usual life, which offers them the best stimulation. Children learn through and thanks to other children.
It is estimated that around 5% of children, or 4,500 young people, in Luxembourg have dyslexia. This figure emerged from a parliamentary question and consequently carries some authority. However, in a joint response, Luxembourg Health Minister Lydia Mutsch and Romain Schneider explained there is currently no official body supporting people with the dyslexic disorder in Luxembourg and therefore no exhaustic inventory of cases exists.
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