DYSPEL grew from a group of parents who all had dyslexic children struggling at primary school in the late 80s and early 90s. They shared information and supported each other informally through the ups and downs that accompany dyslexic children in the education system. Then in 1994, when most of these children had found schools where they were at last making progress, it was realised that the information and experience that had been gathered could be useful to others in the same situation. Thus Dyspel was born, thanks to the initiative of Christina Holstein.
Initially the group was mainly English speaking parents with children at the European School but Dyspel quickly grew to include many different nationalities and other learning difficulties in addition to dyslexia, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cerebral palsy, asperges syndrome and autism. We now have a membership of over 100 families from 16 nationalities with children in many different schools in the Grand Duchy.
In March 1999 we hosted the European Dyslexia Association biannual conference here in Luxembourg. This provided a high profile three day event which has had an important influence in raising awareness of the subject of dyslexia among the general public and was opened by Mme Marie-Josée Jacobs and attended by more than 90 participants including a significant number of Luxembourgers.
Since then Dyspel has been contacted by increasing numbers of parents of all nationalities including many Luxembourgers who are concerned that their children may be dyslexic, but who are finding it hard to get diagnoses and effective help for their children. As we have increasing numbers of requests from different nationalities we are trying to translate more of our information and material into French, German and Luxembourgish in order to make Dyspel a truly multinational Luxembourg based association, accessible to all residents of the Grand Duchy.
Dyspel became a non-profit-making association (A.S.B.L.) in January 1999 and in 2000 Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg became its patron.
Dyspel is run entirely by hard working volunteers, many of who have children with dyslexia or other special needs. Over the last seven years we have achieved much but there is still a lot more to do. At the beginning of the new millennium, it should be possible in western Europe to provide an appropriate education which enables all children to reach their full potential; an education which builds up children’s confidence and motivates them to succeed, not one that diminishes their self-esteem and makes them feel failures. Dyspel is working to achieve this.