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Initial identification of special educational needs - Lithuania

The Law on Special Education (1998)

Article 3. Basic definitions of the Law defines that “Persons with Special Educational Needs are children and adults, who because of congenital or acquired impairments have limited opportunities of participating in the educational process and social life”.
According to the Law special educational needs might be mild, moderate, profound and severe.
Legislation act regarding assessment, evaluation and defining special educational needs of persons (2002, signed by three ministers) reads what kind of categories of impairments are and indicates recommendations related to adaptation of educational methods or curricula and educational plans.
Initial detection of a pupil’s problem is done by his/her teacher. Teacher informs parents about the problems and they must sign the Agreement, and only after that an initial assessment of the pupil’s special educational needs is done by specialists (special education teacher, speech therapist, and psychologist). They present their findings and recommendations regarding further modification of the programme to the School Special Needs Education Commission who make a decision. Certain forms (approved by the Ministry of Education and Science) are filled in.
The period for modification of the teaching methods, special pedagogical/ psychological assistance has to be indicated.
If after this period is over the pupil still can not cope with teaching requirements and achieve low results, the School Special Needs Education Commission recommends to parents to apply for further assessment to the local pedagogical psychological service. There is a team of specialists who work at each PPS in almost every municipality. These specialists after a further assessment and evaluation give recommendations to parents and the school the pupil attends. It is indicated what kind of special assistance, education plan/programme that needs to be implemented and when it is necessary to repeat the assessment again.
In controversial cases (when parents don’t agree with the results of initial pedagogical psychological assessment and the conclusions done by local pedagogical psychological service) the pupil’s educational needs are assessed by specialists of the National Centre for Special Needs Education and Psychology.

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