Support for Students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in Spain

Support for Students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in Spain. Image - Pixabay

Finding support for students with special education needs in Spain doesn’t need to be difficult!

Spanish schools are obliged to follow certain requirements laid out by the government. When facilities permit, schools must aim to educate students with special educational needs (SEN), known as ‘Necesidades Educativas Especiales’ (NEE) in Spanish, in mainstream schools. To encourage schools to participate, grants for incorporating specialist staff, such as speech therapists (‘logopedas’) are awarded.
Learners with special educational needs refers to pupils who require certain support and specific educational attention due to disability or serious behavioural disorders, either for a period or throughout all their schooling.

The Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education (LOMCE, 2013) considers five types of specific educational support needs:

  • Learners with special educational needs, associated physical, intellectual or sensory disability, or serious behavioural disorder
  • High-ability learners
  • Late entries into the Spanish education system
  • Specific learning difficulties
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

These pupils require specialised support in accordance with non-discrimination and educational normalisation principles, with the purpose of achieving inclusion. Learners with special educational needs can attend special education or mainstream schools, however, schooling should ideally be provided in mainstream schools, adapting programmes to each learner’s capabilities.
Upon assessment, students who need assistance may be referred to a Centre for Special Needs, known as ‘Centro de Valoración y Orientación de Discapacitados’ in Spanish.
Assessment entails determining the most suitable tools and procedures and the possible adaptations of these commonly used tools. The use of varied and diverse assessment tools and procedures is recommended, since a procedure such as a written or oral test entails huge difficulties for some students with motor functional difficulties or with problems in expressing themselves.
The European Agency website says: “The education system will arrange the necessary resources for pupils with temporary or permanent special educational needs (SEN) to achieve the objectives established within the general programme for all pupils. The public administrations give pupils the necessary support from the beginning of their schooling or as soon as they are diagnosed as having special educational needs.”
Students attending a Centre for SEN are monitored regularly by their teachers to assess if they can return to a mainstream school. As part of the integration process, schools provide students with counselling from an outside specialist to work on their self-esteem and prepare for the transition.
Support for SEN students and their families is available in Spain. Organisations such as the National Association of Centers for Special Education (ANCEE) work to raise awareness, enhance SEN education, and empower those with different abilities.
Grants are available for SEN students to fund any support they may need, like physiotherapy. To qualify for these grants, applicants must be assessed by a local assessment centre called ‘Centro de Valoración de Discapacitados’.

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Written by

Laura Kemp

Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]