Almost 37,000 students are enrolled in Special Education, 18% more than a decade ago, figures that begin to resemble those of the nineties, when it reached more than 42,000 students in these types of centers, about the future of which Some controversy has arisen.
The students with specific need for educational support in Special Education centers have been rising since 2009, when there were 30,643, reaching in the 2017-18 academic year 36,436 (advance data from the Ministry of Education).
They represent 16.5% of the total number of students with disabilities, enrolled in the more than 470 Special Education centers that exist in Spain.
The other 83.5% of the students with special educational needs are in ordinary centers.
The following categories are distinguished: auditory, motor, intellectual and visual impairment, generalized developmental disorders, serious behavioral / personality disorders and multi-disability.
"The increase of students in Special Education centers may be due to the cuts that have taken these years and that these children have been assumed in them," says Efe Ana Delgado, director of the Cepri Special Education College of Majadahonda (Madrid) , specialized in autism disorders.
"Inclusion is a very nice word, but you need media," says Delgado, member of the Stem union. He argues that there is "a lot of ignorance" about the world of disability, in which there are kids with very different needs.
He studied Teaching, specializing in Therapeutic Pedagogy, since the eighties in Special Education and, to the question of whether inclusion serves for all, he answers: "Surely, no".
But he urges "normalize everything you can" the reality of these guys are not all like the movie "Champions."
For years, students of Special Education already carry out "normalization activities" and "relationships with peers" through leisure time with children from ordinary centers of the same age and even from the same neighborhood, he adds.
For her part, Elvira Rodríguez, head of studies at the Center Nuestra Señora de las Victorias in Madrid (belongs to Afanias), uses a simile to defend Special Education: "We go to the general doctor and, if he sees that it is necessary, he derives us to the specialists for more specific attention ".
After 30 years of experience, Rodriguez, licensed in Therapeutic Pedagogy, ensures that "inclusion does not occur simply because of being in an ordinary school" and that the Special is "the most appropriate and recommended option to achieve personal autonomy and the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. "
Affirms that in its center there is a multidisciplinary team: teachers of Therapeutic Pedagogy, speech therapists, counselors, physiotherapists, technical educational assistants or social workers, whose work responds to the needs that "each student needs".
These centers are "open to neighborhoods, spaces and transportation" and seek the development of personal, academic and pre-employment skills to achieve inclusion.
Example of inclusion in an ordinary center is the Ponce de León of the Montemadrid Foundation, where by class there are five deaf students in Infant, Primary and ESO, and the result is "excellent" for all, says its director, Montserrat Pérez.
It was the first center in Madrid to offer a teaching model based on shared education (deaf-listeners) and with a bilingual approach (oral language-sign language).
The increase in enrollment in Special Education coincides with the uncertainty of many schools and parents after the educational reform that wants to promote the Minister Isabel Celaá, now standing by the elections, consider incorporating these students to ordinary centers within the term of ten years, although it has been stressed that it does not involve the closure of centers.
It responds in a certain way to the UN report that states that Spain does not comply with the right to Inclusive Education, defended by the Spanish Committee of Representatives of Persons with Disabilities (Cermi), which urges "a single model of inclusive education in which can be schooled all the students with disabilities ".
Precisely, the Civic Platform has been launched in defense of Inclusive Education, defending this model of "common school that stops segregating the most vulnerable".
Meanwhile, the Inclusive Education Yes, Special platform also supports the current model, where both coexist.
The following table shows, by Autonomous Communities, the Special Education students of the 2017-18 academic year (advance data):
CCAA Course 2017-18
Balearic Islands 796
Canary Islands 1,964
Castile and Leon 1,324
Castilla-La Mancha 1.452
C. Valenciana 4.172
Basque Country 1,423
La Rioja 228
By Pilar Rodríguez Veiga.