Friday, September 24

Special educational needs: where boys outnumber girls

More than twice the number of students with special educational needs associated with disabilities (auditory, motor, visual and, above all, intellectual) and serious behavioral, personality and developmental disorders (the third most common), together with what is classified as ” multiple deficiencies “are children. A total of 155,619 in the country as a whole compared to 68,186 girls. The greatest distance occurs mainly in developmental disorders, with almost five times more men than women: 46,640 vs. 9,061. All this despite the fact that, if you look at the total number of students enrolled in non-university education, the difference between the sexes is the usual one in the population: 51% men and 49% women.

This student body represents 2.8% of the total, according to a report just published by the Ministry of Education for the 2019-2020 academic year. Only 20% are enrolled in special education centers. After much of the debate that has led to the Lomloe (Organic Law of Modification of the Organic Law of Education) It will focus on the so-called special education, since the detractors of the change used the proposals in this field to attack the norm, data are published that allow an X-ray of what this group represents.

There is some variability between the different autonomous communities at this point. Asturias stands out, with an integration percentage of more than 90%, and at the opposite extreme, Aragon, 10 points below the average. Andalusia is the autonomous community in absolute numbers with the most students in special education (2,484 girls and 4,762 boys), which corresponds to its weight in non-university education as a whole. In integration it exceeds 80%. The path marked by Lomloe leads to a commitment to maximum integration.

Antonio Molina, manager Andalusian Federation of Down Syndrome Associations (Down Andalusia). explains that effectively around two-thirds of diagnoses are in boys, so that translates into the numbers in school. He defends the change that Lomloe has brought about so that, in a decade, full integration has been achieved “because it is expected” since Spain included the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in its legal system. “We advocate full inclusion and that this right is guaranteed for all children, regardless of the need for support elements. We cannot forget that school is also a means of socialization from which certain children cannot be deprived for diversity, “he explains. He believes that the debate has been distorted “by focusing on what it may mean for special education centers when we are talking about administrations complying with the obligation to guarantee equal rights in the system for all children.”

Juan Quiros, president of the Andalusian Federation of Associations to Help ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), understand that The greater presence of boys may be due to the fact that in the case of this disorder they are the ones that most present the modality that is reflected in “hyperactivity and impulsivity”, while in girls there is more the type of “inattention” and spend more unnoticed. “That can lead to less diagnosis among them because the alarms in families do not go off so clearly,” he explains.

Along these lines, he clarifies that within ADHD there is a lot of diversity and therefore needs. He believes that the situation varies according to the autonomous communities, but in what is the management of the Government of Spain, it is missing a fairer criterion in the calls for subsidies. He relates that for issues “such as Asperger’s or high intellectual abilities, for example, they are very present in subsidies, while others, such as dyslexia or ADHD itself are relegated” with the excuse that funds have been exhausted . “If those that exist are those that exist, perhaps it would be necessary to make a fairer distribution between the different needs,” he emphasizes. On the other hand, a recent “achievement” stands out and that is that the Ministry of Education has just published in the Official Gazette of the Junta de Andalucía the Attention Protocol for People with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder to coordinate education and health services and improve screening.

Twice as many men also with high intellectual abilities

Regardless of these special educational needs, there are others associated with language, communication and learning disorders, serious ignorance of the language, maturational delay, late integration into the system and socio-educational disadvantage, so in its As a whole, this report raises practically one in 10 students who need some kind of support. The difference between the sexes is narrowing, although boys continue to be above their total representation in the classroom: 313,947 children compared to 210,272 in the country as a whole. In the case of Andalusia, there are 18,992 girls compared to 33,861 boys.

This second group also includes those who require them due to high intellectual capacities, where there are twice as many boys as there are girls. Andalusia is among the autonomous communities with the most diagnoses: a total of 15,664 (9,618 boys and 6,046 girls). These students represent 1% of its student body, only behind Asturias and Región de Murcia, with 1.1%.

“The statistics confirm, once again, the scarce identification of students with high intellectual capacities in relation to the school population both in Spain and Andalusia”, emphasizes Carmen Trillo, president of the Andalusian Federation of High Capacities (FASI). In this line, he comments that the FASI values ​​”all the efforts of the administration towards these students, but focuses on unidentified students and that, therefore, they are not the object of attention to the diversity derived from their characteristics and needs” . In your opinion, “Girls hide their talents as a result of a decrease in their motivation, self-concept and self-esteem in the face of gender stereotypes.” This, coupled with social pressures, “leads to being perceived as less talented and fearful of feeling rejected, so they prefer not to stand out.”

Carmen Trillo believes that the statistics “highlight the urgent need to make girls visible so that they do not stay on the road, lose opportunities for their full development and to achieve the achievement of their personal, educational and professional needs, with the emotional consequences that this may cause “. For this reason, he sees “necessary to look back at both initial and permanent teacher training in the field of high intellectual capacities, since what is unknown or not suspected is not identified, due to the lack of knowledge”.

Regarding the fact that Andalusia is in the lead in this census, he attributes it to its trajectory. In the 2011-2013 biennium, a specific plan was established for the educational care of students with specific needs for educational support due to their high intellectual abilities in Andalusia, which included a specific and systematic identification protocol that has had results with respect to those autonomous communities that do not they own it. In any case, he believes that by the results, “the need to establish more agile, systematic and effective protocols is evidenced”. For this reason, from FASI they take the opportunity to request the Ministry of Education and Sports the possibility of implementing a new action plan for the attention of these students, because “the one completed in 2013 laid the foundations” but we must move forward.