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Initial identification of special educational needs - Germany

According to the recommendation of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs it can be presumed that children or young people have special educational needs if their opportunities for education, development and learning are limited to such an extent that they cannot be sufficiently promoted within the scope of instruction at mainstream schools without additionally receiving special educational assistance. In this regard, therapeutical and social aid provided by other external institutions may be required as well. Special educational needs are to be determined in relation to the tasks, the requirements and the support measures the respective school can provide. A determination of the special educational needs of the child must take into account the tasks, requirements and support facilities of the individual schools. Furthermore, it must take into account the environment of the child, including the school as well as the pupil’s personal abilities, interests and expectations for the future.

The procedure of determining special educational needs comprises establishing the individual need for support as well as deciding on the course of education and the place of support. The responsibility for the procedure lies with the school supervisory authorities: Either the authorities themselves have the competence for special educational needs as well as sufficient experience in the field of educational support for handicapped persons, or they consult experts in the field of special educational support. The procedure of determining special educational needs may be applied for by the parents or legal guardians of the pupil, by the pupil provided he is aged 18 or above, by the school or, if applicable, by other competent services, and is to take into account the competences of the persons who participate or are to participate in the measures of support and instruction in a suitable manner.

Assessment – Determination of special educational needs (Assessment - Feststellung von sonderpädagogischem Förderbedarf)

The procedure of determining special educational needs comprises establishing the individual needs for special assistance as well as deciding on the course of education and the place of support. The responsibility for the procedure lies with the school supervisory authorities: Either the authorities themselves have the required competence and sufficient experience in the field of special needs education for handicapped persons, or they consult experts in the field of special educational support. The procedure of determining special educational needs may be applied for by the parents or legal guardians of the pupil, by the pupil provided he is aged 18 or above, by the school or, if applicable, by other competent services, and is to take into account the competences of the persons who participate or are to participate in the measures of support and instruction in a suitable manner.

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