Early childhood intervention in norway



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EARLY CHILDHOOD INTERVENTION IN NORWAY

CONTENT:
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1. LIFELINE FROM BIRTH TO SCHOOL FOR A CHILD AT RISK
(0-5/6 years of age) 2


2. EARLY CHILDHOOD INTERVENTION SERVICES/CENTRES/PROVISION 3

3. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING ECI IN NORWAY 5

4. CONTACTS 7

1. LIFELINE FROM BIRTH TO SCHOOL FOR A CHILD AT RISK
(0-5/6 years of age)




Age Range

Birth-1 year

1-5/6 years

Centres/ Provision

Home/

Child Health Centre




Kindergarten

Child Health Centre



Responsible

Services

Local Health System

Educational Psychological Service

Children and Youth Service

Social Security



Type of Support

Guidance

Training


Special Education

Guidance

Special Education

Personal assistance

Training


Professionals

Visiting Health Nurse Physiotherapist

Family Doctor

Special Educator


Special Educator

Visiting Health Nurse

Physiotherapist

Personal assistant

Speech Therapist


Comments

  • All children go to a mainstream kindergarten

  • Children with special needs have the right to get special education from birth

  • Most children go to kindergarten, support is given mainly in the kindergarten (not at home)




2. EARLY CHILDHOOD INTERVENTION SERVICES/CENTRES/PROVISION





Centres/ Provision

Maternal and Child Health Centres

Social Service and

Child protection



Educational and Psychological Service (EP)

Responsible services


Local authority


Public Health Services

Public Social Services

Education Services

Number of centres/ provision

All 430 municipalities

295 (some joint offices)

Age range of children

0-6 years

0-18 years

0-18+ years

Type of Support

Medical service Assessment

Guidance


Guidance Financial support

Assessment Guidance

Supervision



Professionals

Visiting Health nurse Physiotherapist

Paediatrician Occupational therapists

(Special Educator)


Social worker

Counsellor



Special educattion teatcher

Speech therapist

Psychologist

Social worker



Comments

Children at risk are followed over time

- Parents can get in contact with the Social Service and Child Protection

- Child protection takes place when it seems necessary (to professionals or others)



- All municipalities have an Education –Psychological (EP) Service.

- Parents can contact EP Service (no application needed) Kindergarten can make contact after permission from parents





CENTRES/

PROVISION

Habilitation Centres for Children

Support System for SNE/ Resource Centres

Child Psychiatry Service


Child Protection Service

Responsible services


Governmental


Health

Education

Health

Social

Number of centres/ provision

19

(each county)



17

19

(each county)



5 (each region with de-centralised service)

Age range of children

0-18 years

All ages

0-18 years

0-18 years

Type of Support

Assessment and guidance of parents/ local authorities

Supervision of parents/ local authorities and services oriented to competence building

Assessment, Treatment,

Supervision



Guidance for parents

Assessment,

Supervision

Taking children into care



Professionals

Paediatricians,

Psychologists,

Special education teachers,

Social workers, Physiotherapists,

Occupational therapists


Special educators, Teachers

Psychologists,

Speech Therapists,

Teachers for hearing and visual impaired,

Social worker, Physiotherapist,

Occupational therapists



Psychologists,

Doctors,


Special educators,

Social workers




Social workers,

Lawyers,


Psychologists,

Preschool teachers





Comments

Severe disabled children; on recommendation from doctor/ hospital

Focus on medical support



- Application from Education- Psychological (EP) Service;

- Support given to local services in case of lack of competence;

- Educational focus


Applications from Family Doctor

Child’s mental heath in focus



The decision to move the child away from the family, to take the child in care (child protection) is taken by a special board of lawyers, social workers, psychologists, politicians



3. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING ECI IN NORWAY


Norway is a small country, but very long and narrow. It extends from the Russian border in the north, with the Finnish and Swedish boarder to the south tip not far from the coast of Denmark. We have 5 regions (for the health system), 19 counties and 434 municipalities (some small municipalities with only 1000-2000 inhabitants) and Norway has 4 ½ millions inhabitants.

In Norway the local authorities have the responsibility for providing professional and economic resources to children with special needs and their families, and also for coordinating the support and resources given to the children and the families.

The kindergartens/nurseries are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs and the special education under the Ministry of Education and Research.

In most cases in Norway, both parents are working and most children from the age of 1-2 years go to kindergartens/nurseries. The goal in 2005 is that all children have access to kindergarten/nursery. The kindergartens/nurseries are mostly run and owned by the municipality, but some private kindergartens/nurseries belong to private institutions or bodies. They are all economically public-supported and under the control and supervision of the municipality authorities. 92 % of the access to kindergartens/nurseries (public and private) are administrated by the municipalities. Children start at school at the age of 6 years.

Children with disabilities are given priority access to kindergarten/nurseries. All children with special needs have the right to attend mainstream kindergartens/ nurseries, where they get different supports. Less than 0,5% of children with special needs go to special kindergartens or special groups in mainstream kindergartens/nurseries, e.g. deaf children or children with profound and multiple learning disabilities. This exists in a few places in Norway, mostly in big cities.

All children with special needs are by law entitled to get an Individual Plan. The municipality authority has the responsibility for preparing the Individual Plan including Individual Educational Plan, elaborated for children with special needs in cooperation with the child’s parents.

Each municipality authority provides an Educational and Psychological Service (EP); this service shall ensure that expert assessments are undertaken when required. The EP Service assists kindergartens/nurseries on organisational development and development of expertise in order to improve the tuition for the individual child with special needs.

Children with special needs have the right by law to get special education from birth. The special needs education that is provided is planned in cooperation with parents, and considerable emphasis is placed on their views. Before the municipality authority makes a decision concerning special education, an expert assessment should be made of the child’s specific needs: this assessment establishes the child’s needs and suggests what kind of tuition should be provided. Parents are entitled to make a complaint and appeal against the decision. The use of special tuition and the entire support system for children with special needs vary a lot from municipality to municipality.

Special education is mainly given in the kindergarten/nurseries, but can also be provided at home, e.g. when the child has not yet started attending kindergarten. Children can get special education from a few hours to 25 hours a week. In addition, many children have a personal assistant (from a few hours per week to full time support). Some kindergartens/nurseries have extra staff to assist and include children with special needs in the group. Special education and personal assistance are free of charge.

Child protection and other municipality services are closely cooperating.

If the competence in the municipality is not sufficient, the municipality may ask for support from the county level. They can get support from the child habilitation centre (each county has one) to make assessment and guidance. Families need a doctor’s recommendation to get this service. Child habilitation centres are part of the hospital, but they have multidisciplinary staff: although they have a medical focus on children and are often working with children having severe difficulties, habilitation centres usually have also speech therapists and special education teachers.

If the municipality is in lack of competence and needs support concerning special needs education it can get support from The National Support System for Special Education (Statped) covering 16 resource centres, at governmental level, offering a broad spectrum of services. Some of these centres are responsible at national level for some specific groups (like for example speech/hearing or visually impaired people); others are responsible at regional level (for instance for complex learning difficulties). The general objective of Statped is to give guidance and support to those in charge of education in municipalities and county administrations in order to ensure that children with major and special educational needs are given well-advised educational and developmental provisions. Statped has a department for Early Childhood Intervention in Children with Special Needs (0-5 years of age) with a national responsibility. (www.statped.no)

Locally, the Educational Psychological Service is responsible for all age groups; no particular agency/institution addresses specifically the preschool age groups (0-6 years old). A similar situation exists within the regional health specialist service, working with children from birth to 18 years of age.

Challenges are many: the Norwegian system has the possibility to give children and families early help, but often the system does not work at its best for families.

Many aspects need to be improved. Main challenges are to coordinate the different services and to get high competence in all small municipalities. Are also necessary: early identification; interdisciplinary team building; further education of the staff; transition to primary school; information to parents (about their rights, the available services and anything they could wonder about). As professionals, we still have more to learn about how to meet parents as partners and also about how to listen to the child’s voice.



4. CONTACTS

Norwegian Early Childhood Intervention expert involved in the project:



Name: Ms. Monica INGEMARSSON

Institution: Norwegian Support System for Special Education

Sørlandet Resource Centre

Department for Early Intervention

Address: Serviceboks 430

N-4604 Kristiansand

Norway

Fax: +47 38 05 83 99

Email: monica.ingemarsson@statped.no

For contact details of the Norwegian representatives of the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, go to:



www.european-agency.org (National Pages)







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