The plea of immigrant families with children with Special Educational Needs

6 Novembre 2015


Conference – Foreign students with Special Educational Needs

Master in Migration: Migratory phenomena and social transformations

Ca ‘Foscari University, Venice

Classroom Mario Baratto, 16 October 2015

Viorica Iachimovschi,

Inclusive Immigration Centre of Venice

(synthesis of the speech)



                                                                                             Fight and rights
                                   The plea of immigrant families with children with Special Educational Needs

    Italian perspective
“The existence and the value of The Human Rights are not written in the stars… A big part of the story is therefore occupied by the struggle for the Rights of Man, an eternal struggle in which the final victory can never be reached. Abandoning this struggle, would mean the ruin of the society … ”

“Foreign children with disabilities: a binomial terminology that defines a situation that only recently has begun to be focused, identifying a transversal but independent weave of the two reference areas, migration and disability, from which the big part must be taken in depth.

We have to take into account that the fact of being related with foreign people with disabilities, means questioning on everything just said and on the double condition of diversity, mostly complex due to the conditions that migration puts on, because of the elements of vulnerability. It means working on how the migration factor affects the imaginary disability that migrants make, on how some practices and ideas are reproduced, persist and are the only way of reading that people have culturally available for giving any sense to the situation that are living. This might mean to understand that the choices that migrants make are usually related to how their own culture speaks softly to them and orients their practices.

Hence, we must listen to cultural languages and the declined in real biographie as well. And we also have to comprehend what factors of migration, in migration and related to the iving conditions in the host country, build disorders, discomfort and difficulty especially in children born in Italy, as is confirmed by a large literature about.

And it is necessary to find in migration the rights, the rights that every single foreign kid with disabilities should get the full recognition, as foreign as with disability, but also those rights that, even when they are formally recognized, are not actually accessible.

Finding the rights means, working on removing those conditions os disadvantage, of double disadvantage, in the case of the foreign students with SEN (Special Education Needs), which are determined by the context.

It can be hypothesize that foreign students with disabilities are, for the society, for the school, a double inclusion challenge: they have a double complexity of integration and a double risk of exclusion because to the difficulties related to disability are linked the difficulties related to the lived things and the possible migratory trauma, and to different cultural and religious conceptions that are often don’t belong to our more immediate understanding and therefore, the procedures for dealing with them. The attention of the scientific phenomenon is, for now, is quite limited. In Italy, there are numerous and detailed studies about the condition of disability, as well as about interculturalism, but when the two phenomena (pertained to different cultures and disabilities) are crossed, the studies are minimized.

The photography of a growing phenomenon that escapes not only from statistics but also to institutions and often also to the civil social organization. Being immigrant,  be disabled: the risk of that double discrimination feared by the ONU convention about the rights of the people with disabilities is an evident impact  in Italy but still unfathomed in the consistency in the way in which is expressed.

In conclusion

Acting for the protection of human rights of foreigners with Special Education Needs means considering the deficit not as a medical model, but as a social relationship between the characteristics of people and the environment, through the bio-psycho-social model. A way of thinking consecrated, first by the World Health Organization and later by the UNO  in the art. 3 of the Convention, where among the general principles is given “the full and effective participation and inclusion in society”.

From the side of the school community, it requires the individualisation and the valorization of the useful elements to build a coordinated intervention of resources and possibilities of action. On the othe hand, the part of the territory requires the construction of an important and well-coordinated job.

Today we need quickly a dual focus on the cultural, educational and teaching aspects according to foreign students with Special Education Needs: cultural because it investigates the cultural conception of health/ disease and disability, about migration dynamics, habits, customs and issues related to the inclusion in new company; educational and teaching because it reflects on the inclusion of such pupils school in Italy. I would say that the phenomenon is emerging and becoming fundamental in our society, together with the migratory flow.

It requires the scientific attention to analyse the phenomenon that is still little known, even if this is present and is not explored exhaustively. It’s neccesary to understand the extent of the phenomenon through quantitative / statistical researches on national level.

It requires a new transcultural analysis with which pedagogy and special didactic are called to observe the new challenges that society imposes. It promises a transcultural look that can read in a multidimensional way the reality of a growing phenomenon, that of foreign pupils with Special Educational Needs to guarantee a global intervention and integrated to each person.

I conclude with the quotation of the Doctor Pietro Basso,  Director of the Master in Immigration, of the Ca’ Foscari University, also valid in our context “Everything is already written, anything is already decided.

THANKS to all of you, I hope that today is just the beginning!



TAG: BES, Differenze culturali, diritti, doppia esclusione., oms, onu, politiche
CAT: Integrazione

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