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Erasmus + Project

The project falls under Key Action 2 – Cross Sectoral Strategic Partnerships.

A three year project running from September 2014 to August 2017.

Title: EU Specific Learning Disabilities (Sp.L.D.) Policy and Roadmap and Sp.L.D. Teacher and Adult Learner Training

Project Language: English

Therefore, the question of translation of the projects outcomes will be the subject of a future potential project.


Between 2011 and 2013, Colin Lannen was the joint Project Co-ordinator of an EU Lifelong Learning Grundtvig Project, entitled ‘Sp.L.D. Roadmap for Teacher and Adult Learner Training’

This project established that Sp.L.D.:

  • Exists in all nations, ethnicities, cultures and socio-economic backgrounds.
  • L.D.are hereditary, life-long, neurodevelopmental conditions.
  • Although neurological in origin the response to Sp.L.D. is educational.
  • L.D. consists of 7 learning disabilities, co-existing to varying degrees which, due to the same underlying information processing deficiencies, will require similar pedagogical approaches.
  • In the majority of EU nations, co-existence of such disabilities is neither accepted nor diagnosed. Therefore, there is little or no training for adults, teachers nor support for children/students
  • Unidentified, Sp.L.D. results in low self esteem, high stress, atypical behaviour, mental health problems, low achievement and early school leaving. This can also lead to violence in school and later anti-social behaviour within communities. In the worst case it can lead to criminal acts and imprisonment.
  • The reverse is also true where children and young persons, having had on-going support for their Sp.L.D., go on to higher education and become valuable citizens.

This Grundtvig project took the first steps in exchanging experiences and information in the field of Sp.L.D., leading to the development of methods and approaches in understanding their co-existence.

Now and for the first time, as one of the first Erasmus + projects, Europe can take the next critical and essential steps to produce an EU Sp.L.D. roadmap and create an effective and consistent European Sp.L.D. Adult Learner & Teacher Training Programme which will finally address the major problems with unidentified and, as a consequence, unsupported Sp.L.D.

The Sp.L.D. umbrella includes: Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia/Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD), High-functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Speech & Language Impairment, Attention Deficit Disorder, including Hyperactivity (ADHD) and associated Emotional & Social difficulties.

All individuals with Sp.L.D. all have average or above average cognitive abilities.

What is the prevelance of Sp.L.D. in Europe?

Right now it is impossible to establish the actual prevelance of Sp.L.D. in the EU-28 for two main reasons – the co-morbidity of Sp.L.D. and the lack of available statistics on Sp.L.D. in the EU-28. However, using the UK Sp.L.D. statistics for 2014 and making a very conservative extrapolation to the 2012/2013 Eurostat Statistics,

In 2012 there could be at least 41 million persons with generally unidentified and unsupported Sp.L.D. in the EU-28 primary and secondary educations systems.

Remember this is using a very conservative extrapolation. And it excludes all persons with Sp.L.D. who have exited full-time education pre-2012 or who have Sp.L.D. in pre-primary or tertiary education. It also excludes all the EU-28 adult population who have Sp.L.D.

For such a number to remain unidentified and, as a consequence unsupported, will be a massive lost generation that the EU cannot afford to lose in today’s global market. More importantly, the potential to translate lost generations into effective citizens will increase the GDP of all the EU-28 nations.

Key to our work is the strategic framework for European Cooperation in Education and Training or ET 2020.