The organisation of studies for students with special educational needs is based on the principle of inclusive education, i.e. such students attend, as a rule, in regular schools.
Organisation of studies for students with special educational needs
If a student’s disability or disorder requires a highly specialised organisation of studies or support services, he or she is provided an opportunity to study in a special group or attend a special school. Parents can choose what suits their child better – a regular or special school. The trends in the state co-ordinated development of the organisation of studies for students with special educational needs are described in the relevant concept for the organisation of studies for special needs students.
Support measures for students with special educational needs
If it becomes apparent that a student has special educational needs, the co-ordinator for specialised studies initiates the necessary educational and psychological research and additional supportive measures are implemented. The services of special education teachers, psychologists or social pedagogues are made available to such student, if needed. The additional support measures most often implemented by schools include differentiated instruction in the classroom, extra help after classes, special-pedagogical help and speech therapy sessions in study support groups and individual learning curriculum.
An individual curriculum is a curriculum tailor-made for a student with special educational needs, detailing the necessary conditions for the student’s learning and development. The curriculum is compiled in a school or a class in order to cope with a variety of cases. Individual curriculum can be compiled for one, several or all subjects.
Regional guidance centres
If the supportive measures applied by schools do not give the required results, the schools and parents can seek for additional advice from the regional guidance centres.
Additional psychological or medical research is performed, if necessary, and the counselling committee will propose an optimal learning curriculum for the student.
Recommendations of the counselling committee are mandatory for the schools. Information on the regional guidance centres is available on the website of Foundation Innove.
Study materials for students with special educational needsWhen organising studies for students with special educational needs, it is important to use the curricula and study materials that take into account the student’s abilities.
Assessment of the students with special educational needsWhen it comes to the students with special educational needs, it is important to work together with the child and his/her parents to determine which skills and levels of knowledge are expected from the student and how to best assess his/her academic achievement. According to the underlying principle, the student should be able to receive grades from "satisfactory" to "excellent" depending on his/her motivation and determination in learning. In cases where the special conditions are made available to the student (i.e. use of dictionaries, formulas, computers, extra time for accomplishing tasks, etc.) while studying, the same conditions should also apply when passing tests or basic school final exams.
State supportThe state supports the organisation of studies for students with special educational needs on a case-by-case basis by taking into account the capacities prescribed for special classes and national curricula which take into consideration the specifics of study.
European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education
Estonia is a member of the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education. The objective of the agency is to develop common policy guidelines for better organisation of studies for students with special educational needs by taking into account the experience and best practices of the member states. The Agency conducts both short and long-term projects and studies, which are open for participation to all member states.
Scools for students with special educational needs
The state runs schools for students with visual, hearing or speech impairment, mobility disability (coupled with an educational special need), multiple disabilities, intellectual disability, emotional and behavioural disorders as well as for students with chronic somatic illnesses who need special educational attention.