2.5.1 General aspects of Arts and cultural education in special needs education

High degree of inclusive education

'Since 2000-2001 the proportion of children with special needs integrated into mainstream schooling has on average evened out in Austria at just over 50%'. From a total of all children in compulsory schooling, in Austria only 1.57% are taught in special schools (as in 2009). Austria therefore ranks among the top in special needs education in Europe. 'The quality of special needs education in inclusive classes today is also undisputed' (Feyerer, 2009, 86). As a result arts and cultural education is available to 1 in 2 children with special needs in mainstream secondary schools.

The high degree of inclusive education in Austria gives children with special educational needs the same chances to participate in national projects as other children, including in cultural projects.

Special needs education is adapted to the specific learning and educational needs of the target group. A curriculum for the hearing impaired has been developed: Lehrplan der Sonderschule für gehörlose Kinder, is aimed at both deaf and hearing impaired children (Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur (2008b). There is also a curriculum for the visually impaired: Lehrplan der Sonderschule für blinde Kinder" (Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur (2008c) which is aimed both at blind and visually impaired children.

Arts and cultural education in special schools [AllgemeineSonderschulen (ASO)]

Arts and cultural education for pupils with special needs is regulated according to the national curriculum. Special schools place more emphasis on personal experience and on practical work than mainstream schools: this is also the case as regards arts and cultural education.

Focus on the arts

Schools specialising in the arts, such as Music High Schools [Musikhauptschulen] are available to children with special needs through inclusive education.KulturKontakt AustriaKulturKontakt Austria [KulturKontakt Austria], the centre of competence for arts and cultural education, plays a central role in the teaching of culture in that the institute initiates, communicates and organises particular projects in which artists, dancers, choreographers, etc. cooperate with school in cultural projects.Kulturkontakt