DESCRIPTION OF THE SUCCESS STORY
This is the story of a student with learning and integration disabilities in class, diagnosed in the 6th year, with cognitive/affective deficit and integrated into the Special Education Programme. He is 16 years old and he is currently attending the 9th year, with Individual Specific Curriculum (CIS), successfully.
In the 6th year, when he was diagnosed, he featured insecurity, low self-esteem and emotional problems. These traces of his behavior were related to the situation of his family, namely, in a nuclear family, with father, mother and an older brother. His brother attends a professionalization in the locksmith trade, in an Institution for Mentally Disabled Children, because he presented similar problems. The father is often unemployed, with sporadic work, or fixed-term contracts, and the mother works as a seamstress for other people. The qualifications of the parents are low (4th and 9th year); they have a low socio-cultural level and their father is very permissive in what the upbringing of the children is concerning.
The solutions found by the school were through the support of the Special Education Programme and a Specific Individual Curriculum (CIS), since the 6th year. The Social Service, that works at the school since January 2008, began to follow the student and his brother, in collaboration with Special Education teachers and the class directors. Due to the family problems, the student, his brother and his father were sent to a psychological support, in the development department of the Hospital Amato Lusitano, in the academic year of 2009/2010. The psychologist who interviewed the father of the students believes that the guardian, although being an adult, does not filter what is most important in educating young people, also showing a cognitive deficit.
Since March 2011 that the student is attending the Resource Centre for Inclusion (CRI), with the objective of vocational preparation and screening to develop his personal autonomy and professional orientation.
The change to the support in the Special Education Programme, as well as the articulation between the different professionals (Social worker, Teachers, Special Education, Class Director, psychologist, technicians from the Institution for Mentally Disabled Children) proved to be effective. In addition to being more balanced affectively, this student has improved his self-esteem, which had reflections in school integration and results.
The student expresses preference for the profession of train driver or reviewer and he shows detailed knowledge in this area. His inclusion at the Center of Resources for Inclusion (CRI) in the Institution for Mentally Disabled Children has been successful, showing and acquiring some skills in the gardening area.
This success has to do with the integration of the student in the Special Education Programme and in defining a suitable individual curriculum fitting his interests and skills. The interaction involved agents in and out of school (Social Worker, Teachers, Special Education, Class Director, Psychologist, technicians from the Institution for Mentally Disabled Children and there was a structure to support the student’s vocational identification and resolution.
There is a good link between the school and the use of the special educational institution. It is important to respond effectively and in due time when situations of learning difficulties are identified both in economic and affective points of view. We have to organize individual support structures and work with the student to help identifying and realizing his/her interests and preferences. The school alone cannot give appropriate response to cases of this nature if there aren’t external support structures, in a working and complementary partnership.