School help for child with mild cerebral palsy

Availability of special-needs help near Lörrach


paulg
Our son, who is 5 yrs old, has mild cerebral palsy which affects his balance and co-ordination. It is actually very mild, and in the UK he goes to the same school as our other kids but gets some special help when he needs it (eg in PE lessons). Does anyone know whether local schools in Germany offer this kind of help for 'special need' kids?
westvan
You'd really have to contact the schools you're interested in to find out. Some schools will take physically challenged children, others won't. At our local elementary school there was a little girl in a wheelchair - I don't know her exact condition, she was unable to walk but had the use of her upper body, and she was accompanied throughout the day by a Zivildienstleistender, a young man who had chosen to do public service instead of serving in the military.
rhody
There are several choices in Baden-Württemberg but it depends on how engaged your local school authorities are. Unfortunately, in Germany, there is no law that says they have to integrate children in to what they call "normal" schools (Regelschule). It is all up to the principals/head masters and the bureaucrats to decide.

Up here in the Rhein-Neckar Kreis there are some schools that cooperate with a private school called the Stephen Hawkins Schule and offer satellite classes within a regular school as well as having their main school near Heidelberg. Typically the kids in the satellite school will share some common classes like sports, religion etc but stay within their own class for math, German etc. They also offer physical therapy in the school as well.

Westvan's school has also accepted a child based on the availability and funding of a Zivildienstleistender which requires approval of the principal/headmaster and the bureaucrats. As long as the child has no learning disabilities and can keep up with the rest of the class academically, they normally do not cause any problems in asking for this. I would have his teacher in the UK write a report that says this so that there is no question. They might require he take an interview test with one of the school authorities specialists but I am not sure how they do that with a non-German speaker. I am sure they must have come across it before.

Lastly, and I must harp on this, although the laws say that the schools are supposed to be handicap accessible, even some new schools do not meet this requirement. As there are no fines or teeth in the law, communities get away with this scot-free. Hopefully the local school in your area is newer and the town decided the ramp or elevator was more important than an extra two swings in the playground or hardwood floors in the foyer. I once even heard a principal say that an old building would look bad with a ramp in front. It took a lot of effort not to slap her upside the head and knock some sense in to her. But that's how the German school system is - basically an educational apartheid system and sometimes you have to fight to get what you think is best for your child if and when you come across these ignorant types. PM me if you need more info on how to go about some of this stuff.
Holsteiner
There exists a system of "Förderschulen" onto which disabled/challenged children are distributed according to their disabilities, physical, mental, social-emotional or learning.
These school have an obligation to periodically assess the children and determine whether they are fit to attend the Regelschule, with or without additional assistance. If that is the case the "normal" school doeesn't have the right to refuse to integrate the child.
rhody
Exactly - school apartheid.

In one sentence you say that the kids with physical disabilities are sent to a Foerderschule and in the other you say that the normal school doesn't have the right to refuse to integrate a child. And who decides this? Who defines fit? Isn't always the school/Schulamt and not the parents? Please point me to where the law says a child has to be integrated. I'd be interested in reading it.
Holsteiner
Regulation in Lower Saxony:

Vorrangiges Ziel ist es, dem sonderpädagogischen Förderbedarf
einer Schülerin oder eines Schülers zu entsprechen. Dabei ist
als Förderort die zuständige allgemeine Schule anzustreben
.
Wenn die pädagogischen Maßnahmen und Möglichkeiten der
allgemeinen Schule für eine angemessene individuelle Förderung
nicht hinreichen, sind Fördermaßnahmen in Zusammenarbeit
mit einer Förderschule durchzuführen.

http://www.mk.niedersachsen.de/master/C266...20_D0_I579.html
Kazalphaville
Integration in schools in Germany is still not so common compared to back in the UK and integration into mainstream schools for special needs kids here is really very different to what you'd be used to back home (and it really frustrates me as a teacher). A lot of the differences are down to funding issues and also how teachers are trained. More of an explanation of how it works in Germany is here:

http://www.kmk.org/fileadmin/doc/Dokumenta...dfs/special.pdf
Holsteiner
Our daughter spent her first year in a special needs school with eight children in the class. That was about what she could handle at that time. Now she is in a normal school with sixteen in the class. It is stressful but she can manage.
Do I understand right that in the US or in the UK she would have been sent to a normal school right away, as there don't exist any special needs schools and that they would have set up a class of eight for her?
westvan
Now she is in a normal school with sixteen in the class. It is stressful but she can manage.
But how many normal schools have a class size of 16? At our elementary school it's more like 32.

Do I understand right that in the US or in the UK she would have been sent to a normal school right away, as there don't exist any special needs schools...
I can only speak for Canada and the US, but yes, special needs schools do exist, however children with disabilites who are deemed to profit by attending a normal school would have something called a special education teacher in the classroom with them as well as the regular teacher. The special ed teacher works with the disabled kids individually or in groups and helps them keep up. I don't think that exists in Germany.
Holsteiner
The class size of sixteen is what made it possible to send her to normal school otherwise she probably wouldn't be able to cope. However, we could still apply for a Zivi to help her as Schulbegleitung.
Don't know about special education teachers coming to the school as our daughter doesn't need it, but the school gets a special allowance of hours for teachers to deal exclusively with her.
Kazalphaville
I worked in a mainstream school in the UK that was set up especially to deal with kids with cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy and other disorders but this was an extra special case. The UK is like the US and Canada with regard to special needs provision in mainstream schools. This is the Code of Practice:

http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/_doc/3755/391...E_WEB_READY.pdf
petjin
Hello, I am a teacher from Czech with a degree in English and education for children with special needs. If you could use an assistent for your child, please let me know on petra.jindrova@gmail.com.
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