04 SES 08 C, Teacher Training
Parallel Paper Session
Contemporary approaches within the special education field contend that outlining assessment and intervention processes for children with additional needs requires a functional perspective on their needs rather than a developmental point of view about their delays (Florian et al., 2006; Simeonsson, Sauer-Lee, Granlund, & Björk-Åkesson, 2010).
This assumption inspired recent advances regarding special education legislation in Portugal. The Decree-Law 3/2008 prescribed new orientations, introducing the principle that the documentation of students’ functioning profiles (FP) should be the basis for eligibility decision-making - replacing the need of a diagnosis - and for planning educational intervention strategies focused on students’ participation (Sanches-Ferreira et al., 2010). The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF, WHO, 2001) was the selected framework to support the description of students’ FPs.
The ICF portrays a holistic view of functioning from a biopsychosocial perspective, providing a taxonomy for documenting interactions among body functions and structures, activities and participation and environmental factors (Ustün, Chatterji, Bickenbach, Kostanjsek, & Schneider, 2003).
The ICF framework is also consistent with the person-environment fit approach, which states that the promotion of a “(…) better fit between students' capacities and the educational context (…) has the potential of increasing the quality of inclusive practices and consequently respond to the ethical demands that postulate everyone’s right to be part of social valued activities and roles” (Silveira-Maia et al., 2011).
Since the endorsement of the new law some problems were identified regarding the way special and regular teachers were framing assessment information and intervention plans within the conceptual grounds underlying the ICF. Although, the ICF was identified with the potential “to develop a more adequate representation of the complex issues arising in the education of children with disabilities” (Florian et al., 2006, p.42), it has been difficult for teachers to move from a traditional linear description of students’ characteristics (unidimensional perspective) to a innovative holistic functioning profile (multidimensional perspective).
It was in this context that we conceived and implemented an in-service teachers’ training program intended to promote the development of problem solving strategies focused on the enhancement of trainees’ skills in generating more accurate, more comprehensive, and clearer portrayals of students’ functional characteristics. The program followed several steps which included theoretical presentations, practical demonstrations, oriented-practices throughout contact sessions and autonomous practice activities.
The aim of this paper was to evaluate the impact of this teacher training program on the descriptions of the students’ functional characteristics, by comparing functioning profiles designed prior and after the training program.
Decreto-Lei n.º 3/2008 (Decree-Law 3/2008). Ministério da Educação. Diário da República – Série n.º 4 – 7 de Janeiro de 2008, pp. 154–164. Florian, L., Hollenweger, J., Simeonsson, R., Wedell, K., Riddell, S., Terzi, L., & Holland, A. (2006). Cross-Cultural Perspectives on the Classification of Children with Disabilities. The Journal of Special Education, 40(1), 36-45. Sanches-Ferreira, M., Simeonsson, R., Maia, M., Pinheiro, S., Tavares, A., & Alves, S. (2010). Projecto da Avaliação Externa da Implementação do Decreto-Lei n.º 3/2008: Relatório Final. Lisboa: Direcção-Geral de Inovação e de Desenvolvimento Curricular. Available in: http://www.dgidc.min-edu.pt/educacaoespecial/data/ensinoespecial/estudo_simeonsson.pdf Silveira-Maia, M., Lopes-dos-Santos, P., Sanches-Ferreira, M., Tavares, A., Alves, S., & Pinheiro, S. (2011). Environmental Approach on Individualized Education Programs: The Use of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Framework. In Proceedings of the London International Conference on Education, UK. Simeonsson, R., Sauer-Lee, A., Granlund, M., & Björck-Åkesson. (2010). Developmental and health assessment in rehabilitation with the international classification of functioning, disability and health for children and youth. In: E. Mpofu, & T. Oakland (editors). Rehabilitation and health assessment: applying ICF guidelines (pp. 27-46). New York: Springer. Ustün, B. T., Chatterji, S., Bickenbach, J., Kostanjsek, N., & Schneider, M. (2003). The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: a new tool for understanding disability and health. Disability & Rehabilitation, 25, 565–71. World Health Organization. (2001). International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. Geneva: World Health Organization.
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