Provision of educational psychological help in the Lithuanian and United States education system

Ligita Šimanskienė, Kęstutis Trakšelys

Abstract


This article analyzes Lithuanian and foreign scientific literature in the area of special needs education. The theoretical part reviews certain legislative issues which define the idea of special support to such children. Families who have children with special needs and do not attend educational institutions are in a similar social and economic position as those with healthy children. The economic and social position of such families is explored. Nevertheless, there are favorable conditions for special needs children in Lithuania and abroad. Education and psychological centers are established in all towns. It is noteworthy that children with special needs receive the help as soon as possible. However, as a rule, in Lithuania children with special needs are enrolled only special separate schools, and do not have the opportunity to attend the same age-appropriate classes as other children.
The main purpose of education in Lithuania is to educate, develop, and foster children. All general education is oriented towards children's or youth's needs and abilities. Educational institutions foster the individual's creativity, abilities, and satisfaction of his/her natural needs: self-expression, love and respect, purport, creativity, regulation and harmony. The article discusses the concept of special education in Lithuania: it describes the laws of the Republic of Lithuania, which guarantee the provision of special education psychological assistance. The extent of needed assistance is divided into 4 levels, which are based on the child special needs and and required level of assistance.
The law of the Ministry of Educational and Science guarantees that special needs children receive educational, psychological, social and medical help. The majority of parents of special needs children who took part in the survey reported that it is very difficult to get the necessary help. This factor is influenced by the parents' economic situation. However, they also stated that the support received is sufficiently professional. In order to improve the quality of support provided to children with special needs and their parents, we need to find ways to motivate socially neglected families to seek available help.
The article compares the special education models in Lithuanian and the USA and finds several similarities and differences. In the US, about a quarter of disabled children and youth receive education in separate specialized classes and only 6 percent – in separate schools or other specialized institutions. The US education system provides several different special education options. We find that the Lithuanian and American educational requirements for children with special needs, in part, are similar.

Keywords


special education; secondary school; children with special needs

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789