This is a reference for Sulkhani Chargeishvili

Special Needs”: education, participation and social inclusion

The training activity took place
in Budapest, Hungary
organised by Organising Bureau of European School Students' Unions (OBESSU)
4-11 March, 2012

Aims & objectives

The aim of the Study Session was to explore and further develop tools and methods for
social inclusion for school students with special needs in youth project.
The main objectives pursued by the Study Session were:
 to establish a common ground and develop a shared understanding on the topic of
special needs;
 to explore the different levels and definitions of inclusion around Europe;
 to make participants self-reflect about their organisations work on inclusion and share
their personal experiences;
 to encourage networking amongst participants and develop effective follow-up plans.
To be able to stand up for your human rights and be an active part of a democratic system,
individuals have to be able to participate actively in society. This then goes hand in hand with
the factor of inclusion and empowerment of individuals of all ability groups. Therefore the
priorities: “Human rights and democracy: youth policy and youth work promoting the Council
of Europe’s core values” as well as the “Living together in diverse societies: youth policy and
youth work promoting intercultural dialogue” and “Social inclusion of young people” were key
parts of the programme.

Target group & international/intercultural composition of the group & team

Participants were representing different member organizations of OBESSU, more then 16 European countries were part of the training course.
The participants of the Study Session were selected through an open call, which was
disseminated among the OBESSU member, observer and contact organisations as well as
through partner organisations such as EUDY (European Union of the Deaf Students) and
IFHOHYP (The International Federation of Hard of Hearing Young People) who had been
contacted. The call was also circulated through their contacts, such as the EDF (European
Disability Forum) youth lists.
The applicants were thus a diverse group and came from different countries and
backgrounds. The participants from the OBESSU member and observer organisations were
all active in school student organisations at national level. The participants came from very
different organisational backgrounds, where some had regularly facilitated activities for mixed
abilities groups and others who have never worked on the topic. Some had personal
experience through relatives or friends with special needs. Others had experience in working
with a specific disability, though not with mixed-ability groups.
Thirty-one participants attended the Study Session coming from twenty-one different
organisations. The age of the participants ranged between 16 and 27, although the average
age was around 19. The geographical composition of the group was also very spread out,
where there were people living in 19 different countries present, ranging from Iceland, to
Romania, from Spain to Finland, and Kosovo1
to Belgium.
The group was also very diverse when it came to abilities, for instance, there were persons
with dyslexia, deaf persons, hard-or-hearing persons, one participant was in a wheelchair
and was only able to move three fingers, a person who had a mild form of Asperger’s
Syndrome and persons not legally categorized with any specific ability.

Training methods used & main activities

The programme was developed around the following phases:
1. Introduction and foundation
2. Definitions and exploring levels of social inclusion
3. Old and new experience
4. How to multiply
5. Reflection and follow-up

Training course used methods such as : role-plays, simulation games, working in buzz groups, etc.

Outcomes of the activity

This Study Session was a great learning experience for the participants and the prep-team,
where everyone gained the attitudes, skills and knowledge to take action on the topics of
“Special Needs”: education, participation, and social inclusion.
The participants concluded that it is essential to start educating and raising awareness about
these topics with children and young people. By starting young, these perceived differences,
barriers and preconceived notions will be eroded away and mixed abilities and diversity will
become the norm.
Furthermore, it is essential to have a direct experience and meet people. If this does not
happen, interacting with people who are “different” from oneself can be daunting, people feel
uncomfortable because they do not know how to behave. This brings about exclusion, even
though it may not be on purpose. Direct experience enables people to overcome these
barriers and learn how to interact with persons who have different abilities to oneself.
The Study Session would like to move away from the notion of disability and towards that of
difability. It is not that some people are less able than others; it is simply that we all have
different abilities and needs and this should be recognised and respected. Similarly, the
participants also want to promote the concept of working together, rather than “helping”.
Communication is the key – one has to ask the people directly involved what they think is
best, get their input too, not just make decisions and assumptions about what one thinks is
best. Therefore one must communicate and have an open dialogue and work together.
The participants at the Study Session also endorse the idea of active inclusion: meaning that
everyone has the responsibility to include others as well as include oneself. One should not
wait for the other party to include them, but also take the first step, if needed.
The two most important messages of the Study Session “Special Needs”: education,
participation and social inclusion are:
 "Different Abilities, Same Opportunities”, and
 “Nothing about us, without us”.
Council of Europe Action Plan to promote the rights and full participat

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

I was full time trainer as the rest of the trainers team. I was responsible for developing the program, implementing and evaluating it with the rest of the team.

I worked on this training for 7 days as a full time trainer.

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