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The Role of Families in Education:
Kick-off for independence

26 to 28 May 2016, Lisbon, Portugal

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Inclusion Europe and Fenacerci welcomed more than 150 participants to the Europe in Action Conference 2016. This annual event has become an unmissable opportunity for many persons with intellectual disabilities, families, carers and representative organisations to share knowledge, experiences and ideas.

The event, which took place in Lisbon from 26 to 28 May, gathered participants from 23 European countries, but also Australia, Canada and the United States. This year’s conference focused on the role of families in the promotion and implementation of inclusive education.

For 3 days, self-advocates, support persons, family members and professionals addressed different aspects of inclusive education. The conference programme offered a great mix of personal stories from self-advocates and sessions delivered by experts and policy-makers. Through various sessions, participants discussed the right to inclusive education and the current situation in different European countries. Speakers and participants also had the opportunity to learn from each other when sharing good practices that make schools more inclusive or presenting various projects related to inclusion in education.

The high level of interaction throughout the conference was truly appreciated by the participants. Europe in Action 2016 has once again served as a platform of debate enabling self-advocates, family members and experts to formulate common positions aiming for full and effective inclusion of all children with disabilities in schools. Their conclusions highlighted the urgency to end segregation of children with disabilities in Europe while acknowledging that transition to a model of inclusive education will require a lot of effort. Quality education is required to ensure the active participation of all children with intellectual disabilities, including children with complex needs. Disseminating success stories, promoting self-advocacy at an early age, promoting peer-support and reminding others that inclusive education benefits all children without mentioning the importance of the role of parents in the process were all recognised as imperatives to making inclusive education a reality in Europe.

Inclusion Europe and Fenacerci are delighted that the success of the event showed, once again, that the movement towards inclusion is getting stronger.

You can find all the presentations of the speakers here.

Pictures from the conference are available on Inclusion Europe’s Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/inclusioneurope/