Prevalence in the Student Population
Dyslexia is seen in 10%-15% of primary school children (more often in boys than in girls, in a ratio of four to one), while Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity (ADHD) is estimated to present a rate of 5 % to 12% of the student population.
Dyslexia is a form of learning disability in which the person, young or old, presents difficulties in analyzing words into syllabic sound units and in composing syllabic sound units into verbal sets with conceptual content.
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, which in recent years affects the daily teaching practice in Greek schools, as children with ADHD present difficulties in attention and sometimes face problems of hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Legislative Framework and Educational Policies
Law 3699/2008: A Milestone in Inclusivity
Greek legislation, particularly Law 3699/2008, acknowledges disability as a multifaceted social and political issue. The law mandates special educational provisions for all eligible children across all education levels. This includes implementing Universal Design principles, ensuring that educational environments are accessible and inclusive for all learners.
Educational Institutions for Children with Special Educational Needs in Greece
- Regular Classroom: Children with mild learning difficulties may attend regular classrooms. They receive support from their class teacher, who may collaborate with Interdisciplinary Assessment Centers (KΕ.D.A.S.Y.) and special education consultants for guidance and support.
- Regular Classroom with Parallel Support: This is for children who require additional support due to the nature and extent of their special educational needs. Parallel support is provided to students who can follow the regular curriculum with appropriate support, or in cases where no other special education framework is available locally. This support is determined and recommended by KE.D.A.S.Y. on a case-by-case basis.
- Integration Departments (T.E.): These departments operate within general and vocational schools and are specially organized and staffed to support students with special needs. In primary schools, support is provided by teachers specializing in special education. In secondary schools, students are supported by teachers of specific subjects (such as philology, mathematics, natural sciences) who specialize in special educational needs (SEN). There are two types of programs in T.E:
- Mainstream and specialized programs for students with less severe disabilities.
- Specialized group or individual long term program for students with more severe needs.
- Special Education and Training School Units: These units serve children whose special educational needs make it particularly difficult for them to attend regular schools or integration sections. They include nursery schools, primary schools, secondary schools and special training schools.
- Schools or Departments in Special Institutions: These are operated in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, juvenile facilities, chronic care facilities, or mental health units. They cater for school-age persons with disabilities and/or special educational needs living in these institutions. These educational structures implement programs supervised by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.