During SY 2012-2013, about 149 thousand disabled students were enrolled in compulsory education: about 84 thousand in primary school and 65 thousand in lower secondary school.
About 4.3% of the disabled students in primary school had vision-related disabilities, about 5% had hearing difficulties and about 13.3% had problems related to mobility. Regional differences were clearly evident with respect to learning and attention-deficit problems, which affected 19.6% and 24.5% of disabled students. National values range from 14.7% with learning difficulties and 19.2% with attention-deficit issues in the North to 24.4% and 30.0% in the South, respectively.
The difficulties that characterized disabled students in lower secondary school were similar to those found in primary school. Visual and hearing difficulties were experienced by 4% and 4.7%, respectively, of students with disability, while 9.9% were faced with mobility problems. Noteworthy geographical differences were found with respect to learning and attention-deficit difficulties, with higher values detected in the South and Islands area.
The school environment remained fairly inaccessible and the number of schools equipped to overcome architectural barriers appeared to be too low, although this area had shown some improvement. Lower secondary schools seemed to offer better access for disabled students in comparison to lower order schools. In general terms, the removal of architectural barriers for both scholastic orders seems to be improving from one year to the next.
In terms of learning ability, the key professional figures are the curricular teacher and the learning-support teacher, who provide mutual support in the development of communications, relations and socialization. Other professional figures include the cultural education assistant (CEA) and the personal assistant, the communications facilitator, the communicator for the deaf and the scholastic aide with the specific assignment of assisting disabled students.
In SY 2012-2013, the Miur data indicate a total of about 67 thousand learning-support teachers for both scholastic orders of public schools combined. More than 80% of student with disability were supported in the learning activity by the learning support teacher while there was a percentage of student that was supported in the activity of daily living by the teacher in place of others professional figures such as the cultural education assistant (CEA) and the personal assistant (8.6% of students in primary schools and 6.8% of students in lower secondary schools).