2012 Study Session: “Special Needs”: education, participation, social inclusion
“Nothing About Us, Without Us!”
From the 4th to 11th March OBESSU held the 2012 Study Session entitled “Special Needs”: education, participation and social inclusion in cooperation with the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, at the European Youth Centre in Budapest, Hungary.
Participants from Member, Observer and Contact organisations were present as well as participants from the European Union of Deaf Youth (EUDY), from “Ceva de Spus”, “Surdus Loquens” and The Norwegian Association of Youth with Disabilities. Moreover, Delphine from EUDY was a member of the prep-team and Karina Chupina the President of the International Federation for Hard of Hearing Young People (IFHOHYP) attended as a guest speaker.
The aim of the Study Session was to explore and further develop tools and methods for social inclusion of school students with special needs in youth project. For most of the participants it was the first time working in a mixed ability group, which they expressed to be a very positive and enriching experience. One person stated that the phrase “All Different, All equal” no longer felt like just a ‘quote’ but that they could actually feel the sense of it now.
The Study Session greatly emphasised that it is fundamental to actively include people with disabilities, and that each individual knows his/her needs best. EUDY shared one of their motto’s “Nothing about us, without us” which became one of the slogans of the Study Session. To successfully work on accessibility, the individuals need to be actively involved in the process.
During the free afternoon a Flash-mob in the centre of Budapest was organised by the participants, where the message they tried to relay was “Different abilities – Same opportunities”. This was an outcome of a discussion, where a participant shared a project where the concept of Diffabilities was promoted, rather than the term disabilities. Meaning that one should start looking at the world, not that some people have less abilities than others, but that everyone has different abilities: Diffabilities. Participants also agreed that everyone is unique, and there is no such thing as “normal”.
Seeing as there were three deaf persons present, and three International Sign interpreters there was a great fascination with sign language. Everyone was amazed at how quickly they could learn, and soon could communicate. In addition, everyone was also given a name sign!
During this Study Session participants have expressed that they have learned how to be more inclusive, make their organisations more accessible and that they would like to work further with this topic!
From the participants:
What happened on Day 2??? click here to find out!
and what about the 5th day??? click here to find out!
FLASHMOB!!! 8th March 2012
What about after the Study Session?
A lot has been going on after the Study Session. The participants of the Study Session truly wanted to apply what they had learned in their home organisations, but also continue working on the topic on European Level. Therefore at the General Assembly 2012 they proposed to add a campaign on Social Inclusion to the 2013-14 workplan, and this was adopted!
Moreover, the Council of Europe held a Consultative meeting on the Inclusion of Young People with Disabilities in the Youth Activities at the European Youth Centre in Budapest (EYCB). Both Delphine le Maire (EUDY), who was part of our prep-team, was present as well as Raluca Popescu (Ceva de Spus). To find out more check out this article, and look at the video presentations of their recommendations: In Non-Formal Education every learner is Unique and Nothing for us, without us!
Please click here for the full report of the Study Session.