FC Barbara Paggi Speaker 

Dr. Barbara Paggi  

Psychologist, Psychotherapist


Cooperation Models Among the Public Health Sector and School System: Inclusion of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Italian law prescribes that all children have the right to education in an inclusive school system, regardless of their impairments or special needs. This means that students without disability and students with difficulties or impairments are being placed in the same classroom. This system is in place since the elimination of special schools in Italy in 1977. The law contains instructions and definitions where schools must implement specific measures to enhance and promote children’s development. The intention is that teachers, parents and professionals create together an individual education plan for every student with special needs, based on the assumption that not all students should follow the same program as it’s necessary to consider their different performing levels.

A strong and well-working cooperation of the involved families, teachers and professionals is important to implement the concept of an inclusive school. In addition to regular teachers, integration-teachers (teachers with special qualification in addition to the standard teacher education) can be assigned to the entire class including students with special needs. Furthermore, in some cases, the presence of an integration-assistant for students with autonomy impairments is possible. Other important people in this context can be the headmaster and the integration-coordinator (coordinating the integration-teachers or assistants at that school). Besides that, there are school counselling services in every district.

The public health system and the school system have defined a clear agreement containing cooperation, rules, and procedures to guarantee the success of the inclusion model. In addition to the school system, the public health system is strongly involved in the support of these specific cases, for example with making diagnoses, writing necessary documents for the school or providing support and therapy for the child and its family.

Through presenting of fundamental conditions and various examples from practice with students with autism spectrum disorder it is shown how a network of families, schools and the public health system can successfully work together in an inclusive education system.


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