Definition of the Target Group
Children with developmental disabilities and difficulties who cannot receive education at schools are educated at resource centres, when this is in their best interest, because of the necessary support and tight connection between education, habilitation and rehabilitation. Provision at resource centres is carried out according to special educational programme.
Referral of children with special educational needs is done on the basis of a decision passed by a body of local authority in charge of education, following the proposal of the commission for referral of children with special educational needs which is composed of: paediatrician and doctors of adequate specialty, psychologist, school counsellor, special education teacher of certain specialty and social worker. The parent and the teacher, or preschool teacher of the child being referred take part in the work of the commission. As the basis for the referral, particularly focusing on the process of acquiring and adopting skills and knowledge necessary for everyday life, the Commission assess the child’s level of development, the potential for learning and the adoption of knowledge standards, personal characteristics, obstacles and aggravating factors of the environment.
Admission Requirements and the Choice of School
In local communities, commissions for referral of children with special educational needs are formed under the authority in charge of education. The commissions for referral, composed of a paediatrician, psychologist, school counsellor, social worker and special education teacher, suggest programmes, professional assistance, staff, spatial, material and other conditions regarding each child with special educational needs.
- Programme including the provision of additional conditions, tools and professional assistance is carried out by inclusion in educational groups or classes alongside other children i.e. students, with the provision of additional conditions and tools, and additional professional assistance.
- Programme with adapted provision and additional professional assistance – children with special educational needs receive education by being included in educational groups or classes together with other children, according to the educational programme with adapted provision and additional professional assistance.
- Special education programme is carried out in integrated classes at mainstream schools and resource centres, having in mind the best interest of children with developmental disabilities and difficulties who cannot be educated at school due to the degree of their difficulties, because of the necessary support and tight connection between education, habilitation and rehabilitation. Resource centres provide professional assistance to integrated classes.
Parent, adoptive parent or guardian of a child with special educational is entitled to participate in the selection of programme of education, in accordance with the Law on Education of Children with Special Educational Needs.
Parent, or a child with special educational needs, may change the education programme in the process of acquiring education.
In Montenegro, there is a curriculum, i.e. a programme is adopted for each subject. They are developed by the Bureau for Educational Services, and adopted by the National Council for Education.
The basis for working with children with special educational needs is the Individual Development and Education Programme (IDEP) which sets out educational and developmental objectives based on the relationship between the current and planned performance of the child (cognitive, emotional, social and physical), his/her level of knowledge and skills. The individual programme prescribes forms of educational work for educational areas, i.e. subjects, additional professional assistance, scope of technical assistance, class timetable, testing and assessment of educational and developmental achievements and progression in line with their individual capabilities. The individual programme allows for: shortening or expanding the programme contents; altering, adapting and individualising methods for delivering the contents, supplementing it with alternative forms of communication, sign language, Braille alphabet, system of communication through images, use of specialised didactics, equipment, tools, assistive technologies, etc. For the purpose of preparing, applying, monitoring and adapting the programme, school or resource centre, forms a professional team composed of: teachers, professional associates from the school or resource centre, with the involvement of parents. For third-cycle primary school students, individual transition plan (ITP) is designed and implemented as part of the individual development and education programme. Its objectives, measures and activities are aimed at providing timely professional guidance for students in the process of transitioning from one education level to another, or, in case of students of final grades of secondary school, from the system of education to labour market.
Depending on the developmental disabilities and difficulties, capabilities and needs of the child, individual programme allows for altering, adapting and personalising the methods for delivering its contents. It is also possible to shorten or expand the contents of the programme, alter, adapt and personalise the methods for implementing the contents. In secondary vocational education, a student may follow full educational programme with adapted provision and additional professional assistance, or part of the programme that would train them for certain groups of jobs, which can lead to a professional qualification, if it is defined by the programme.
For students in integrated classes, certain subjects are taught alongside their peers in mainstream classes in accordance with the individual development and education programme and class timetable.
Teaching Methods and Materials
Assistive technology, sign language, teaching aids, system for communication through images, designing and printing textbooks (Braille letter), Digital Accessible Information System - Daisy, textbooks and other teaching resources related to developmental disabilities, tools, schemes, words, symbols, images, reminders have been in use. Assistance units have been created at resource centres, which make to order or lend teaching and other materials.
The individualized approach implies that the level of the child’s performance and needs, their interests, rights and characteristics are particularly considered when creating a support program. In relation to that, objectives are planned and the effects of support monitored. It is teacher’s responsibility to recognize the abilities, needs and characteristics of each student and with that in mind adapt (individualize) their approach, creating a whole. Modifying and adapting educational programme refers to: the size and the extent of what a student is expected to acquire; more time for work, learning, doing tasks; level of support; variations in teaching methods and the manner in which the contents is delivered; testing the achieved using materials and adequate communication strategies.
Progression of Students
IDEP reflects a compilation of a child’s characteristics, needs and the objectives of the relevant programme. It defines the manners of support, adaptation of the learning process, fulfilment of individual needs and potentials of the child. It defines: forms of educational work for areas, i.e. subjects, provision of additional professional assistance, mobility between programmes, adaptation in organization, standards of knowledge, achievements and skills, testing, assessment of knowledge, achievement and progression of the child.
The individual transition plan has been precisely defined and legally grounded as: objectives, measures and activities aimed at supporting students in the process of transition from one level of education to another, or from education system to the labour market - employment. The Individual Transition Plan (ITP) is a complementary part of the Individual Development Education Program (IDEP). The first stage, carried out within ITP-1, implies establishing cooperation between primary and secondary schools, and determining responsible persons and mechanism of cooperation. This cooperation is aimed at sharing information, identifying the potential and inclination of the child with a view to his/her transitioning to the next level of education that needs to train them for independent professional life. In the second stage, which takes place before the completion of secondary education within ITP - 2, it is focused on the preparation for employment and skills for independent life. The school cooperates with various service providers, those performing the capacity assessment, professional rehabilitation practitioners, resource centres, employment services, employers, etc. The team for the ITP development and implementation consists of: the student, parents, teachers, professional associates of the school and resource centre, employment service, employer, etc. The mechanism of transition from secondary school to university has been designed, as guidelines for connecting secondary and tertiary education. It was called ITP - 3. Objectives, measures and activities are focused on preparing for enrolling in the faculty (Support Plan: responsibilities/tasks/timeframe). Recommendations for further movement towards the faculty derive from the student’s achievements, particularly in relation to the skills and styles of communication, then measures for further adaptation and organization of the teaching process in accordance with the needs.
In primary education, the documentation is identical for all children, which includes children with special educational needs, however, the number of the decision and the program which the child followed are also noted. Modularization of educational programmes in vocational education has opened opportunities for students with special educational needs, i.e. enabled them to reach the second, third or fourth qualification level of the National Qualifications Framework; therefore, by completing a certain number of modules a child can acquire 1) the qualification of assistant (second level of the National Qualifications Framework ); 2) by completing a number of additional modules, the qualification of craftsman (third level of the National Qualifications Framework); 3) by completing a number of additional modules, the qualification of technician (fourth level of the National Qualifications Framework).