The educational process does not end with the passage through the institutions, for those who have had the opportunity to write a paper for me, nor with the period of formal education. We do not stop learning from the moment we are born, living new experiences that invite us to acquire skills for daily life. However, we must continue working for full inclusion, from the educational care of adults with special education needs.

In 2017, the Plena Inclusión platform published a study in which they collected the different needs that people with disabilities present for their full inclusion in society.

The personal development process is determined by the possibilities of receiving an adequate education, having different skills and knowledge to be able to develop an autonomous life. Thus, having the opportunity to participate in social life, learn, and feel part of citizenship, represents a fundamental aspect to improve one’s quality of life.

The United Nations organization (UN) in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, stated:

“The States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to education … they will ensure an inclusive education system at all levels as well as lifelong learning”

Despite the precepts of this convention, ratified by the member states, including Spain, it is essential to continue working to overcome educational methods and approaches that still today are based on segregation based on capabilities.

The provision of sufficient resources, research work to improve the conditions of participation and inclusion in schools and institutes, as well as the recognition of inclusive practices, become essential factors to guarantee the full citizen inclusion of all people in our society.

What does the law say about special educational needs?

One of the most urgent needs is related to the acquisition of a commitment in relation to the development of public policies that allow access and permanence in all stages of the educational system, under equal conditions, guaranteeing the construction of an inclusive educational system.

The implementation of Law 51/2003, of December 2, on equal opportunities, non-discrimination, and universal accessibility for people with disabilities complimented the progress made with the Law on Social Integration of the Disabled (LISMI), culminating later in Law 39/2006, of December 14, on the Promotion of Personal Autonomy and Attention to people in a situation of Dependency.

However, despite the advances made in relation to the rights of people with a diversity of abilities, the aforementioned laws were based on conceptions based on the medical model, centered on welfare proposals, and based on dependency as a phenomenon that limits the possibilities of these people, to the detriment of the possibilities of autonomy and independence.

Education of adults with special educational needs

The impetus for the appearance of a transformation in social awareness and therefore in the educational model in reference to people with disabilities was promoted by UNESCO, with its definitive support for the inclusive education model, including educational institutions as communities of support that will guarantee the participation, development and promotion of all students beyond their capacities.

These transformations have been reflected in the different state and regional regulations on education. Although, as indicated in the latest UN Report, carried out by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, there are still serious violations in our educational system in relation to the achievement of full inclusion by people with disabilities.