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Special needs at school

Children learn things in different ways and at their own pace. 

During a lesson, the teacher is helping a child who needs special support in their studies.

If your child has, for example, 

  • A learning difficulty,
  • difficulties with concentration, 
  • special talents, or 
  • an illness causing regular absences, 

they may require support with their schooling.


Intensified and special support

Intensified support is given to a pupil who needs regular support or several simultaneous support forms in their studies. Intensified support is based on a pedagogical assessment. A learning plan will be compiled for a pupil receiving this support.

Special support is available to a pupil if intensified support measures are insufficient. Receiving special support requires a decision to be issued on the matter.

Special support decision

In order to make a proposal for the decision, the school performs a comprehensive pedagogical assessment of the pupil’s situation and the intensified support they have received. The assessment is complemented with a statement from an expert, if necessary.

A special support decision can be made without prior pedagogical assessment and provision of special support. However, this requires there to be psychological or medical grounds.

A special support decision is given for a fixed term and will be re-evaluated in the 3rd and 6th grades, or at another specified date.

When the special support decision has been made, an individual educational plan (HOJKS) will be made for the pupil.



Attention difficulties

Source: psychiatrist Ben Furman, MuksuoppiAppi

Paying attention is a composite skill

Being able to pay attention is not a single skill but a collection of skills. It is much like the skill of driving a car, another complex skill that consists of numerous individual skills. To drive a car, we have to master skills including starting the engine, clutch control, changing gear, steering, accelerating and braking, observing traffic and what other drivers are doing and knowing the highway code. A wealth of skills must be learnt before we can drive safely in traffic.

The same is true about paying attention. Learning to be attentive requires children to master the numerous skills that jointly make success in paying attention possible.

Start with one small skill

To help your child improve how they pay attention, first spend time together discussing the individual skills they need to learn. Allow them to take the role of an expert as you talk about different skills, decide where to begin and how to make learning each new skill fun and rewarding.

Examples of individual skills that make up the complex skill of paying attention are listed in the info box. Consult the Kids’Skills Guide to find out how you can present the idea of learning each new skill to your child and how you can help them learn these skills.
Examples of skills contributing to our ability to concentrate

  1. The skill of transitioning from one activity to another: the ability to terminate one activity and move on to the next.
  2. The skill of accepting failure: the ability to cope with failures, defeats and mistakes, and feeling ok about not always winning, succeeding or being first.
  3. The skill of persistence: being able to maintain your focus for longer periods.
  4. The skill of asking for help: being able to ask others for help when you need it.
  5. The skill of accepting help: allowing others to help you when you need help and they are willing to help you.
  6. The skill of taking breaks: the ability to pause and rest for a while so you can regain your focus.
  7. The skill of planning ahead: the ability to think through an assignment and draw up a step-by-step plan for completing it.
  8. The skill of enjoying success and taking pride in it: being able to feel content and/or happy about your achievements.
  9. The skill of ignoring distractions: the ability to keep paying attention without being distracted or disturbed.






12.03.2019 14:58