Istat releases the results of the survey on students with disabilities in primary and lower secondary schools (public and private) for the 2015-2016 school year.
Conducted as part of a project financed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (Miur), the goal of the survey was to examine the resources and tools that have been adopted by single school centers to facilitate the integration of students with disabilities. The survey response rate was 92%, 23,408 schools have filled the questionnaire.
During SY 2015-2016, more than 156 thousand disabled students were enrolled in compulsory education: 88,281 thousand in primary school and 67,690 thousand in lower secondary school.
About 3.8% of the disabled students in primary school had vision-related disabilities, about 3.6% had hearing difficulties and about 9.9% had problems related to mobility. The learning and attention-deficit problems affected 18.9% and 18.7% of disabled students in primary school and 22.1% and 15.6% of disabled students in lower secondary school. Regional differences were evident for these type of problems, the prevalence was always higher in the Southern regions.
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 4.1% and 4.9%, respectively, of students with disability, while 11.4% were faced with mobility problems. Noteworthy geographical differences were found with respect to learning and attention-deficit difficulties, with higher values detected in the Centre of Italy.
The scholastic 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.
In terms of learning ability, the key professional figures were the curricular teacher and the learning-support teacher, who provided mutual support in the development of communications, relations and socialization. Other professional figures included the cultural education assistant (CEA) or personal assistant , the communications facilitator , the communicator for the deaf and the scholastic aide with the specific assignment of assisting disabled students.
In SY 2015-2016, the MIUR data indicated more than 82 thousand learning-support teachers for both scholastic orders of public schools combined. More than 80% of the learning support teachers provided didactic support, about 14% provided support in the treatment of behavioral problems, while there was a percentage of teacher that provided support in the activity of daily living in place of others professional figures such as the cultural education assistant (CEA) or the personal assistant (about 3% of student in primary and in lower secondary schools).