« This child does not learn like others though he is intelligent»

The Lebanese Centre for Special Education (CLES) was established in 1999 by the initiative of Mrs. Carmen Chahine, a Lebanese/Belgian residing in  Belgium  with the   help  and  support of Lebanese  expatriates living  or  immigrants in  different  countries. Its goal is to help all the children who are learning disabled   « The Forgotten Children of Lebanon ».  These  Children  risk  developing  a spiral failure by having a negative image of themselves  and  undergoing progressive marginalization  if they don’t  receive professional individualized help early enough.

Mrs. Carmen Chahine,   who is herself  a mother to  child (now 16)  suffering  from  severe learning  disabilities  reiterate  the  following message based  on her own experience:

Regions where CLES have helped children
Regions where CLES have helped children

« The faster we detect the problem, the more successfully we can help the child »

CLES wishes to offer these children the chance to overcome their problems and to give the best of them.  Instead  of  becoming  a  burden  to  their  family  and  to society, they can  become  active  and  productive,  also contribute  to  the  development  of  the  country.

CLES is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, independent of all political and religious ties. There are a number of minor sponsors, but the centre is indebted to one main organization for their funding and support, the Foundation of Raymond Debbane and Family, based in New York. 

Learning DisabIlities

11,000 schoolchildren in Lebanon suffer from specific learning difficulties.

The public in general has been slow to accept that specific learning disabilities exist.

  1.  A student may be as intelligent as every other person in the class, yet unable to fulfill his or education potential because of a disability.
  2. There is a tendency among the public to resist admitting that someone in the family has a disability
  3. A lot of people don’t seek help because they don’t realize that many learning disabilities can be treated with extremely impressive results.

These three factors combined mean that many students who have a learning disability do not receive treatment.

Dyslexia: Difficulty in learning to read
Dysorthographia: Difficulty in writing
Dyscalculia: Difficulty to perform with number and math operations at normal level
Hyperactivity, Dysphasia, among other specific learning difficulties.

The children facing learning difficulties at school usually have troubles with visual and auditory perception; they can see and hear quite perfectly, but their brains do not decode what their eyes and ears receive. This makes it extremely difficult to learn at school. In general, it takes around two years to recuperate while having treatments twice weekly.

Founding members: Carmen Chahine, Anne Marie Hajji Touma, Joumana Bassil Chelala, Samia Sinno, Leila Mouzannar, Rabiya Kaddoura

Board and Committee: Raymond Debbane, Marianne Klees, Jean Boghossian, Rima Mourtada, Xavier Otte, Lina Baban, Anne Marie Frère, Claire Campolini, Dr. Henri Sliwowski

© Interactive Partners 2004