Special education

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Special Education deals with young people and children , for a so-called special or special educational needs have been identified. It sees itself as support and accompaniment for those classified as "particularly worthy of support" through individual help in order to achieve the greatest possible degree of school and professional " integration " or so-called social participation and independent life. Their aim is also to research and improve measures for those affected.



Historical stages in the development and meaning of the term integration or inclusion

The Viennese educational scientist Gottfried Biewer sees the replacement of the term curative education by special education as a result of the expansion of a structured special school system in the 1960s. At that time, special education was to be understood as special education and was associated with the establishment of this subject at educational colleges and universities. The expansion of their tasks to all ages and areas of life in the 1970s, the emergence of an integrative pedagogy and today's demand for inclusion would have called the legitimacy of the term into question. According to the interpretation of UNESCO, education has gone through four stages of development: exclusion , separation , from which special education emerged, integration and inclusion . The transitions between these stages of development are fluid. Inclusion, the proponents of which refer primarily to the ambitions and formulated (legal) claims of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities , which Germany ratified in 2009 , is controversial with regard to its implementation.

While terms such as remedies or curative education were used in pedagogical contexts earlier, the term curative education established itself in the mid-19th century. Until well into the 20th century, so-called curative or special education was viewed more as a medical than an educational discipline: it was not until the middle of the 20th century that an educational perspective prevailed. In general, however, the understanding of “people with disabilities” was initially very poor. So teachers and educators did not see it as their job to help disabled people by creating special educational facilities. The establishment of the first special facilities for children “with disabilities”, who mostly lived in great poverty , such as auxiliary schools , as well as the development of the theoretical basis for this is closely linked to the so-called German auxiliary school association at the time . The different point of view of viewing special facilities for children and young people with disabilities as (medical) healing or therapy institutions instead of educational institutions or the mixing of these two tasks also burdens the discussion about inclusion and repeatedly leads to fundamental misunderstandings.


From 1945

After Germany's liberation from the National Socialist German Reich , the “Examination Regulations” came into force on April 14, 1948 in Hamburg, together with the “Training Regulations for Teaching at Auxiliary Schools”. According to Hänsel (2014) these regulations have “unmistakable similarities” with the draft of the nationwide “Training and Examination Regulations for Auxiliary School Teachers” from 1941.

After 1949, special education was restructured with largely staff continuity: the first issue of the magazine “Heilpädagogische Blätter” appeared in the same year. The “Auxiliary School Teachers Association”, which was incorporated into the “National Socialist Teachers' Association” during the National Socialist era, was re-established that year (initially as the “Association of German Aid Schools”, from 1955 as the “Association of German Special Schools”). Attempts were made to renew special education in the sense of a “ zero hour ” and to connect it to the “bloom of curative education” of the Weimar Republic . In fact, the twelve years under the National Socialist past have largely been pushed aside. With Gustav Lesemann , the last association chairman in the Weimar Republic, and Josef Spieler , who spent the war years in Switzerland, the association also had two politically less burdened people. Despite this -  propagated  - new beginning, it was actually the case that “in terms of personnel, law and ideology, in the majority of the newly created federal states after the Second World War , the guidelines and structures of the Third Reich ” were initially followed . Finally, the various special education disciplines have now been merged into a joint training course that has been developed since 1950 and comprised eight types of special school, initially without education for the deaf and dumb and the blind.

German Democratic Republic
"Auxiliary Student" in Buckau (June 1953)

In the Soviet Occupation Zone (SBZ), too, the structures of the Nazi era were initially linked. In October 1945, the first “auxiliary schools” resumed their work without any legal basis. In 1946 “special schools” were legitimized, which were now considered the only type of school “for all educable, disabled or disabled children”. As in the other occupation zones , the auxiliary school was perceived as a “meaningful and constitutive element” of the special school system. As before, the focus in the Soviet Zone was on relieving general schools . At the same time, the general compulsory schooling for disabled children should also represent the humanitarian character of the new regime. However, children with “intellectual disabilities” who were not included in the general school system until the end of the GDR and were housed in separate “ rehabilitation facilities ” or “institutions” were still excluded . From 1948 to 1952, the special schools in the GDR managed to differentiate themselves from general pedagogy . This process was completed in 1952 and the special education system now had a “direct social support function” and was considered a “guarantee for the planned socialist construction”. By 1957, the number of special schools in the GDR had increased from 120 to 626. The new special schools, in addition to influences from Soviet and Communist pedagogy, largely fell back on the legal norms from the Nazi era. The "AAoPr" of the German Reich of 1938 was the template for the passages relating to the auxiliary school in the “Guidelines of the German Administration for National Education in the Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany” from 1948. The national auxiliary school curriculum was also adopted from the Nazi era, However, the content showed no parallels to National Socialist pedagogy, but was based heavily on curative educational efforts of the 1920s.

From 1980

Since the 1980s, increased efforts have been made to restructure the special education system in Germany , which largely isolates people with disabilities from people without disabilities and thus contributes to their exclusion from society. A first step in this direction was the renaming of “special schools” to “special needs schools” in most of the federal states. Special educational care in special facilities for people with disabilities should, as far as possible, take place through joint teaching (possibly in so-called integration classes ) , so that children can live and learn together longer and benefit in the social and educational area. In day-care centers , kindergartens , etc., there are the same efforts towards inclusion.

Authors such as the Bremen publisher of the journal "Disabled Education " Wolfgang Jantzen and the Berlin educational psychologist Manfred Günther also used the term "differential pedagogy" during these years, which however did not exist.

In June 1994, the UNESCO Conference on Education for Special Needs: Access and Quality in Salamanca (Spain) adopted the Salamanca Declaration with the mention of "inclusion".

In November 1994 a new sentence in Article 3 of the German Basic Law came into force:

"Nobody may be disadvantaged because of his disability."

This manifested the change of perspective from viewing (and treating) “disabled people” as “objects of care ” to their perception as independently acting and individually treated subjects.

From 2000

2009 was the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted by the commitment of the signatory states, an inclusive education system (Engl., Dt. Inclusive education system ) to build, in the joint education of students with and without disabilities is the normal case . As the first school law in Germany, the Bremen School Act of 2009 formulates in § 3 paragraph 4 the mandate that all schools should develop into inclusive schools.

An inclusive education does not get along more than responsible for any particularly reportable clientele, but as expertise on specific knowledge and skill stocks for crises learning and development processes; it follows the motto: "The experts to the children and not the children to the experts!" The question of whether the conclusion must be drawn from this motto that all children have to attend a regular school , including those whose parents do , is politically controversial in the interests of the child's best interests, consider it necessary that their child is taught at a special school.

In 2013, Wolfgang Rhein questioned the thesis according to which special education must be completely incorporated into general education: Special education is due when general education fails. “A special need for support demands that you face it with appropriate, special expertise. However, people with the same or similar needs are not grouped together from a special need for support. "

In most of Germany's federal states, school laws have been passed which (largely) abolished “ compulsory special education ”. As early as 1999, the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs decided that regular schools could be suitable learning locations for children and young people with special educational needs.

In several federal states it is no longer possible to have children of lower grades with a special focus on learning taught at a special school. The state of Lower Saxony has even decided to close all special needs schools of this type.


Special education is a science that can be studied at a university . It deals with the school and extracurricular education and support of people with disabilities in the sense of an introduction to independence or the maintenance of skills and functions.

The title special education may use:


The training of special or special school teachers takes place at universities and teacher training colleges

  • in the subject of diploma pedagogy / educational science with special pedagogy as a focus in the main course,
  • with the desired degree "First State Examination " with the professional goal of special education teacher or special education teacher with one or two special education subjects depending on the federal state,
  • Magister Artium (MA) with the main subject Special Education, usually also in the form of one or more subjects,
  • Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Education (M.Ed.), with, in contrast to the Magister Artium, a qualification for teaching at special schools associated with the Master’s degree.

The following subjects are currently available, depending on what the universities offer:

In some cases, the terminology of the disciplines changes in order to signal a paradigm shift in the subject, but the target group remains the same.

The knowledge to be imparted includes causes and symptoms of the various disabilities, special support programs and support diagnostics as well as special educational questions with practical relevance such as adult education for people with intellectual disabilities, work with severely disabled people, speech therapy , sexuality or the family situation . But also the ethical positioning on socio-political issues such as the sterilization of mentally handicapped women, for example during the time of National Socialism , or questions of contraception for mentally handicapped people are topics of the training.

In addition, specific issues (e.g. early intervention for children with cognitive disabilities , speech therapy, etc.) can be addressed. Due to the multiple disabilities almost always present , studying a single subject in isolation is not recommended. In the context of integrative kindergartens instead of special kindergartens (e.g. for the speech-impaired), special educators are no longer confronted with specific disabilities. Similar developments can be observed for living and working areas.

The course content also relates to knowledge from the field of general special education :

  • Ethical issues
  • History of the discipline and the clientele
  • Institutions of special education
  • Intercultural special education
  • Methods of special education
  • Special Education Theories

This knowledge is a necessary condition for determining one's own position and thus for the ability to critically reflect on existing professional practice, especially internships. Special funding programs or diagnostic tasks must be scrutinized critically. Society-related tasks in special education (integration, ethics, normalization, self-determined life) can only be solved by reflecting on the respective point of view (e.g. dialogical versus interactionist or materialistic curative education). The learning requirement here is the ability to reflect.

In East German universities , the course content and degrees as well as the fields of work and activities are the same. There it is sometimes called rehabilitation / integration education .

In Schleswig-Holstein there are courses of study for pedagogy for the learning disability and for special needs pedagogy , which have common contents in the first semesters because there are so many similarities:

  • Learning disabilities as an educational problem against the background of developmental delay
  • Special educational qualifications and professionalization should be strived for in the following areas in particular: teacher personality, upbringing, teaching, diagnostics and concept-related support, advice, team skills, cooperation with institutions
  • Mediation of support skills in the area of ​​mathematical thinking and mathematics teaching
  • Conveyance of support skills in the areas of language and written language
  • Mediation of facts from subject subjects under difficult conditions

Occupational fields

Career opportunities arise for special school teachers or special needs teachers primarily at special needs schools or at schools with integrated classes . For formal legal reasons, qualified pedagogues often cannot find a job in public schools. For career opportunities in working with people of all ages and all disabilities ( cognitive / mental retardation , learning disabilities , behavioral impairment, speech impairment , physical disability , hearing or visual impairment ). Diagnosis (determination of the location and scope of special educational measures) and counseling of those affected or their relatives are essential special educational tasks.

For the child and - Adolescence of special education in the field of early intervention , services for families relief, in integrative and special kindergartens , in the special school social work, in leisure education and in children's homes involved.

For the adult age are the fields of activity in residential areas ( nursing homes , assisted living ), inpatient and ambulatory in the work area ( workshops , job assistance, vocational and Vocational training ), in adult education (especially adult education for people with cognitive disabilities ) and so-called family projects .

The problems to be overcome in professional practice are as numerous as the fields of work. In addition to the application of medical , developmental and diagnostic knowledge, special education teachers must be able to establish relationships with children and their families . Special education moves here in the border area to therapy and requires high ethics , balance and the ability to love . Working with the problems of families and the behavioral problems of children requires a high degree of self-reflection and the ability to develop relationships (in the sense of a dialogical curative education that has replaced the medical paradigm in special education). The demands for the integration of disabled and non-disabled children should in the long term lead to the work of special educators in almost all regular institutions. The promotion of integrative processes that do not take place naturally will play an important role, as will the cooperation with educators without special educational qualifications.

In adulthood, the normalization principle will result in new institutional requirements. Self-determined life and integration into the “normal” world are goals that special educational practice must meet. There are already model projects in the living and working area that are trend-setting. Special pedagogues become residential and work assistants. Legal knowledge to exhaust the existing support and the implementation of projects is essential here. The area of ​​adult education is becoming increasingly important, as it creates the necessary conditions for lifelong learning and independence for people with disabilities in adulthood.


Critics describe the diagnosis (of “ disability ” or support needs), which is shaped by special education, as being too exclusively deficit-oriented; it is also derived too much from terms and usages that were influenced by National Socialism . Learning disabilities cannot be measured objectively, and special needs education is too self-referential . Diagnostics with a special educational character can be dispensed with:

“So, under the auspices of inclusion, it cannot be a matter of sophisticatedly refining special educational diagnostics, standardizing them through standardized programs and procedures, and making them less“ error-prone ”through improved control mechanisms so that they can continue to be pedagogically and educationally-politically specialized in diagnostics to legitimize. Special education diagnostics is theoretically and practically unsuitable for supporting inclusive learning processes because it is anchored in special education and the associated segregated structures. It is dispensable. "

See also


  • Heinz Bach et al. (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Sonderpädagogik. 12 volumes. Edition Marhold in Wissenschafts-Verlag Spiess, Berlin 1985–1991.
  • Gottfried Biewer : Basics of Curative Education and Inclusive Education (= UTB . 2985). 3rd, revised and expanded edition. Klinkhardt, Bad Heilbrunn 2017, ISBN 978-3-8252-4694-5 .
  • Ulrich Bleidick, Sieglind Luise Ellger-Rüttgardt : Pedagogy for the disabled - a balance sheet. Educational policy and theory development from 1950 to the present. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-17-020532-1 .
  • Markus Dederich : Disability, Medicine, Ethics. Disabled pedagogical reflections on borderline situations at the beginning and end of life. Klinkhardt, Bad Heilbrunn 2000, ISBN 3-7815-1092-1 (At the same time: Cologne, University., Habilitation paper).
  • Sieglind Luise Ellger-Rüttgardt: History of special education. An introduction (= UTB. 8362). Reinhardt, Munich et al. 2008, ISBN 978-3-8252-8362-9 .
  • Stephan Ellinger, Roland Stein (Ed.): Basic studies in special education (= teaching and learning with disabled people. 9). 2nd, revised and expanded edition. ATHENA, Oberhausen 2006, ISBN 3-89896-267-9 .
  • Urs Haeberlin : Curative education as a science based on values. A propaedeutic introductory book on basic questions of a pedagogy for the disadvantaged and excluded (= supplement to the quarterly journal for curative pedagogy and its neighboring areas. 20). Haupt, Bern et al. 1996, ISBN 3-258-05302-2 .
  • Ingeborg Hedderich , Gottfried Biewer, Judith Hollenweger, Reinhard Markowetz (eds.): Handbook Inclusion and Special Education (= UTB. 8643). Klinkhardt, Bad Heilbrunn 2016, ISBN 978-3-8252-8643-9 .
  • Ulrich Hensle, Monika A. Vernooij: Introduction to working with disabled people. Volume 1: Theoretical Basics (= UTB. 936). 6th, completely revised and expanded edition. Quelle and Meyer, Wiebelsheim 2000, ISBN 3-494-02257-7 .
  • Jürg Jegge : Stupidity can be learned. (Experience with “school failures”). 7th edition. Zytglogge, Bern 1976, ISBN 3-7296-0058-3 .
  • Ernst J. Kiphard : Motopädagogik (= psychomotor development promotion. Volume 1). 8th, improved and enlarged edition. Modern learning, Dortmund 1998, ISBN 3-8080-0410-X .
  • Emil E. Kobi : Basic questions of curative education. An introduction to curative educational thinking. 6th, revised and supplemented edition. BHP, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-936649-07-3 .
  • Karl Leitner: Longing for security. Problem behavior in people with disabilities. self-determined life, Düsseldorf 2007, ISBN 978-3-910095-68-7 .
  • Andreas Möckel : History of curative education or the power and powerlessness of education. 2nd, completely revised new edition. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-608-94489-1 .
  • Vera Moser: Construction and Criticism. Special education as a discipline. Leske + Budrich, Opladen 2003, ISBN 3-8100-3794-X .
  • Günther Opp, Franz Peterander (ed.): Focus curative education. Project future. Reinhardt, Munich et al. 1996, ISBN 3-497-01391-9 .
  • Eckhard Rohrmann : Myths and Realities of Being Different. Social constructions since early modern times. VS - Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2007, ISBN 978-3-531-15527-2 .
  • Brigitte Schumann : pamphlet inclusion. What special education and educational policy hide. Debus Pedagogy, Frankfurt am Main 2018, ISBN 978-3-95414-106-7 .
  • Svetluse Solarová (ed.): History of special education. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart et al. 1983, ISBN 3-17-007307-9 ( http://www.pedocs.de/volltexte/2013/7018/ (pedocs.de)).
  • Otto Speck : People with intellectual disabilities. A textbook for upbringing and education. 11th, revised edition. Reinhardt, Munich et al. 2012, ISBN 978-3-497-02285-4 .
  • Georg Theunissen , Wolfgang Plaute: Handbook Empowerment and Curative Education. Lambertus, Freiburg (Breisgau) 2002, ISBN 3-7841-1336-2 .
  • Günther Thomé, Dorothea Thomé: OLFA 3–9. Oldenburg error analysis for grades 3–9. Instrument and manual for determining orthographic competence and performance from free texts and for planning and quality assurance of support measures. With color marking of the development phases. With an OLFA list for Switzerland. With templates. 4th, improved edition. Isb - Institute for Linguistic Education, Oldenburg 2016, ISBN 978-3-942122-03-0 ( Support diagnostics for spelling disorders and spelling weaknesses (LRS, dyslexia)).
  • Herbert Wagner : Segregation and stigmatization in the education sector. Structural comparison of special school students and mainstream school students (= space and stigma. 2 = Bad Bentheim work reports and studies on socio-spatial educational research. 4). Research center for international social spatial educational research and its didactics, Bad Bentheim 1986, ISBN 3-88683-006-3 .
  • Herbert Wagner: Educational biographies of learning disabled. A regional longitudinal study of the conditions and results of school socialization (= space and stigma. 4 = Bad Bentheim work reports and studies on socio-spatial educational research. 6/7). Research Center for International Social Spatial Educational Research and its Didactics, Bad Bentheim 1986, ISBN 3-88683-014-4 .
  • Birgit Werner: Special education in the field of tension between ideology and tradition. On the history of special education with special consideration of auxiliary school education in the Soviet occupation zone and the GDR between 1945 and 1952 (= series of publications studies on school education. 18). Kovač, Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-86064-946-9 (also: Leipzig, University, dissertation, 1999).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Gottfried Biewer: Fundamentals of Curative Education and Inclusive Education (= UTB. 2985). 2nd, revised edition. Klinkhardt, Bad Heilbrunn 2010, ISBN 978-3-8252-2985-6 , pp. 27-32.
  2. UNESCO: Guidelines for Inclusion. Ensuring Access to Education for All. UNESCO, Paris 2005.
  3. The auxiliary Education Association 's 1898 among others by Henry Strakerjahn as Association of auxiliary schools of Germany was founded.
  4. ^ A b Brigitte Schumann : reassessment of the history of special needs education? Review of Dagmar Hansel : Special school teacher training under National Socialism. Bad Heilbrunn 2014. On: bildungsklick.de. December 8, 2014, accessed December 10, 2014.
  5. ^ Ellger-Rüttgardt: History of special education. An introduction . 2008, p. 293 ff .
  6. ^ Sieglind Ellger-Rüttgard: History of the special educational institutions. In: Klaus Harney, Heinz-Hermann Krüger (Hrsg.): Introduction to the history of educational science and educational reality (= introductory course in educational science . 3 = UTB. 8109). 3rd, expanded and updated edition. Budrich, Opladen et al. 2006, ISBN 3-938094-59-1 , pp. 269–290, here p. 280.
  7. Dagmar Hänsel: The Nazi period as an asset for auxiliary school teachers . Klinkhardt, Bad Heilbrunn 2006, ISBN 3-7815-1491-9 , p. 118 f .
  8. a b Birgit Werner: Special education in the field of tension between ideology and tradition . 1999, p. 18 f .
  9. Birgit Werner: Special education in the field of tension between ideology and tradition . 1999, p. 19 .
  10. ^ Ellger-Rüttgardt: History of special education. An introduction . 2008, p. 321 .
  11. a b Birgit Werner: Special education in the field of tension between ideology and tradition . 1999, p. 21 .
  12. Birgit Werner: Special education in the field of tension between ideology and tradition . 1999, p. 22 .
  13. In the German translation, the English terms of the original document inclusion or inclusive with integration , integrative etc. are translated throughout .
  14. The Salamanca Declaration and Framework for Action on Education for Special Needs. ( Memento of the original from February 28, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: unesco.at , December 29, 2011 (PDF; 66 kB). @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.unesco.at
  15. 20 years of amendment to the Basic Law. In: netzwerk-artikel-3.de , November 15, 2014.
  16. New questions about inclusion. ( Memento from July 19, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  17. Dieter Katzenbach, Joachim Schroeder: “Being able to be different without fear”. About inclusion and its feasibility. In: inklusion-online.net , magazine for inclusion, issue 1-2007. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  18. Jürgen Kleinschnitger: What perspective do special schools have? . Westdeutscher Rundfunk , February 23, 2017.
  19. Wolfgang Rhein: Work and Disability . Konrad Adenauer Foundation . 2013, p. 312
  20. Kultusministerkonferenz: Announcement of the KMK - Recommendations on the funding priority learning. Decision of the Conference of Ministers of Education of October 1, 1999
  21. Lower Saxony Ministry of Culture: Special School and Support Center
  22. ^ Arno Rädler: Brigitte Schumann: Streitschrift Inklusion - a review. (March 7, 2018).