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Argument


By developing integration strategies and policies we intend to:

– act upon mainstream schools teachers’, pupils’ and their parents’ mentality for a better understanding of the particular requirements of children with autism or special educational needs;

– increase the level of socialising as well as the school integration chances of pupils with autism or other development disturbances by directly exposing them to the behaviour of their neuro-typical peers, creating adaptive environments to foster their integration in mainstream schools, thus implementing the European norms and provisions regarding the rights and needs of people with such disabilities.

* decrease the level of any kind of discrimination in the community by supporting information and sensitivity raising campaigns to emphasize the qualities of such people.

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Status quo:

Social integration is an essential social inclusion measure, as individual training in mainstream education significantly increases the chances of pre-school children and students with special educational needs to integrate in the community and to improve their socialising and communication skills. At present, they are facing exclusion and discrimination and their access to education is limited on account of their disability. The success of social inclusion directly depends on the training of the teachers directly involved in the inclusion process and on the cooperation between the social actors – schools – civil society – public authorities.

Currently:

  • children with autism do not benefit from inclusive education in mainstream schools and most of them do not benefit from any kind of formal education.
  • out of the 864 disabled children, 393 do not go to school or have left school.
  • Out of the 68 children with autistic disorders, who have a disability certificate in our county, 12 have never been to school and 28 go to special schools.
  • in 2012 there were 8628 children who have never gone to school, children with different disabilities, autism included.
  • at present, there are 3.240 disabled children among the 3 to 6 year-olds who do not attend any form of education, but the authors think their number might be underestimated.
  • over 2.700 severely disabled children between 7 and 10 years of age do not attend school; this number might be underestimated, say the authors.
  • children with autism attending mainstream schools individually benefit from specialised NGO’s support and, in most cases, from companions paid by their parents or by NGOs.
  • there is a great percentage of Rroma people in the communities involved in the project, so the drop outs’ rate is high.
  • disabled children represent an important category as to school leaving rate in primary schools.
  • integrating special educational needs children in mainstream schools has been, in Romania, an educational policy measure abruptly implemented, without sufficient preparation of the educational system.