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Initial identification of special educational needs - Greece

The role of the centre of diagnosis, assessment and supporting (ÊDÁÕ) in inclusive classes

The multidisciplinary team of the Diagnostic Evaluation and Support Centre (KDAY)  has assessed the abilities and the educational needs of pupils who are taught in inclusive classes. This team co-operates with the pupil’s family and continues to consult/support when necessary.

  • Families who have children with similar problems (for example, autism) meet in KDAY almost every month at the same place. At this meeting the parents tell each other about the difficulties as well as the achievements of their children, the atmosphere of the educational community, the difficulties that they face at home. They receive the support of KDAY’s staff but basically they learn to find solutions and to support each other. KDAY also tries to play a mediator role in the potential problems that children may have at school.
  • Before the beginning of the inclusive program KDAY’s teachers inform the school community about the goals of inclusion.
  • The teachers of the integration department of inclusion co-operate with a teacher from KDAY. 

The latter support the teacher with pedagogical material and educational programs 

The teacher and the psychologist of KDAY who support the family are in continuous touch with the school and contribute to the differentiation of the goals and practices when it is necessary. 

The families are of course informed about such initiatives. There are some informative meetings at KDAY place with experts and school teachers in order to be trained in subjects of special needs. 

Particularly in these meetings the school teachers ask for teaching strategies which make the learning procedure easier. In addition they ask for instructions about the way they should approach children with special educational needs. 

Moreover, some questions are posed about the way in which they should manage disputes between pupils and the questions that the other pupils ask about the differentiation of this program which deals with a pupil’s special educational needs.

  • Programs of sensitivity are organised by KDAY’s staff at basic education schools. The goal is the comprehension of the difficulties that AMEA face in every day life.
  • Programs with common demonstrations of mainstream schools and schools of special education are co-ordinated by KDAY to prepare the pupils of mainstream schools to contribute to activities and actions for pupils who have problems in learning and communication.

The above case constitutes one of the first examples of current practise which are considered as pilot programmes in our district of responsibility since they provided us with experience, knowledge and a frame for further action. 

Inclusion has two dimensions: the pupil’s access to the educational process and her/his social involvement in school life. Therefore, curriculum-based assessment is largely about the collection of evidence related to what has been taught, what pupils have learned and how their presence is shown in the mainstream school. As such it should inform teachers and enable them to plan more effectively according to pupils’ needs and the provision’s objectives. Assessment is not synonymous with testing.  Whilst tests may have a role in the assessment of pupils, tests should not be used exclusively to make decisions about a pupil’s learning abilities and needs, but also to provide statistical evidence on a national level. The need for the conduction of standardised educational assessment tools, tests and sociograms, is stressed in order to avoid malpractice and “home made” assessment. These kinds of tools used critically and in innovative ways such as dynamic assessment will provide evidence in order to generate the effective practise towards inclusion. Although the second aspect of inclusion which involves social acceptance and relations with peers has to be monitored using qualitative approaches. 

The past five months several autistic pupils have asked for in-class support for inclusive provision. Our immediate plans are to train specialist teachers according to pupils’ difficulties, provided by the Ministry of Education, to understand autism in order to intervene accordingly; to act as intermediates in the mainstream school service. Moreover, the differentiation of the school programme must be ensured by IEPs which we had no time to form this year.

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