Monday October 10th, The Lebanese Center for Special Education (CLES) launched the second annual 10.10.DYS conference under the patronage of HE Minister Elias Bou Saab and with the presence of CLES Ambassador, French Movie Star Nathalie Baye.
The conference, that took place at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut, had for its title “TOGETHER for DYS” to commemorate Specific Learning Disabilities Day (DYS). The conference focused on creating stronger partnerships between families, academic institutions and communities to ensure the success of children with specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysorthographia, dysphasia, and ADHD.
Mrs. Carmen Chahine Debbane founder and president of CLES opened the conference and welcomed all attendees saying that “Life is about encounters and what led to the creation of CLES was a series of encounters starting with my own son who has learning difficulties” Mrs. Debbane explained that this year’s conference with the title “Together for DYS” sheds light on CLES national scope of work, on the families of DYS children and their roles, and on the academic and educational options that DYS children have whether vocational or academic.” Mrs. Debbane ended her speech by announcing the DYS Grant to assist students in technical and vocational education.
CLES ambassador, French Actress Nathalie Baye said that she was impressed with the work that CLES does in Lebanon and then spoke about her own experience with Dyslexia saying that “as a child with dyslexia, what motivated me to learn was finding the joy in learning, when learning becomes a stressful situation, a child will turn away from it.” She added that “sometimes children who are very intelligent are perceived as stupid or lazy just because they have learning disabilities.” Mrs. Baye concluded by commending the Minister of education on the work being done with DYS in Lebanon.
HE Minister Elias Bou Saab, Minister of Education and Higher Education spoke thanking Mrs. Carmen Chahine Debbane the founder of CLES and her husband Mr. Raymond Debbane, saying that what they have done to improve the educational sector is what builds nations. The Minister asserted that he was particularly interested in children with learning difficulties and that he advocates for them in all different occasions and with all types of organizations. Minister Bou Saab said: “the 10.10.DYS conference has become a yearly station where we stop in order to renew the collaboration between the ministry and this prestigious organization. CLES and the ministry are working on creating 200 Learning Support Classes in public schools all over Lebanon, and training teachers in early detection and help for DYS children”. He then thanked all the education professionals present and commended the efforts of CLES.
Three sessions were presented; the opening session introduced the CLES national scope of work in a dynamic display about the organization’s special learning centers, its partnership with the Ministry of Education for the Learning Support Classes project in public schools and teacher training, and its awareness campaigns.
The second session shared challenges and successes of DYS family members with testimonials from parents and siblings of DYS children, in addition to highlighting the importance of community support and early detection and intervention.
A third session highlighted the academic future of DYS students and included interventions from representatives of universities and technical and vocational schools, as well as testimonials from DYS and technical education and university students. At the closing of the third session Mrs. Debbane announced the DYS grant for the academic year 2017-2018.
An Award and Certificate Distribution Ceremony took place at the closing of the conference officiated by HE Minister Elias Bou Saab, Minister of Education and Higher Education.
The conference was attended by over 400 specialists including level educators from public and private schools, psychologists, speech therapists, motor skills therapists, special educators, representatives of local and international NGOs concerned with children’s education, government officials, foreign embassy representatives, parents and guardians of DYS children.