State special needs schools in Sweden – of which there are both regional and national – receive pupils who need an alternative to regular primary school. It is the parents who apply for their children to attend a special needs school. If the pupil does not live within commuting distance, it is possible for him or her to live at the school and take active part in leisure time activities during the school term.
Regional special needs schools
Pupils with deafness or impaired hearing can attend one of our regional special needs schools. The teaching is bilingual, meaning it takes place in Swedish sign language, in spoken or/and written Swedish.
There are five regional special needs schools in Sweden:
National special needs schools
The special needs schools that receive pupils from around the country have several different target groups. The teaching, environment and means of communication are adapted to the needs of the pupils:
• Åsbackaskolan in Örebro is for pupils with congenital deaf-blindness and pupils with impaired hearing in combination with severe learning disorders.
• Hällsboskolan in Stockholm and Umeå is for pupils with severe speech and language disorders.
• Ekeskolan in Örebro is for pupils with impaired vision in combination with other disabilities.
Being a pupil at our schools
The teaching at our schools is adapted to the pupil. Usually, our pupils are studying full-time, but we can also offer part-time education if there is a need. We also have boarding houses for those children and youths who live far from the school.
The content of the education in special needs schools does not differ significantly from that of compulsory schools. All who work in special needs schools have knowledge about language and communication, alternative tools, adapted teaching materials and aids. Special needs schools have a higher teacher-to-pupil ratio and smaller teaching groups in order to meet the pupils based on their individual prerequisites.
Special needs schools cover ten years. Special needs schools have a dual language mandate for pupils who are deaf or have impaired hearing. The pupils are expected to develop both Swedish and Swedish sign language in all subjects. The pupils thus study one more subject than at compulsory school; namely sign language. The special needs schools that have other target groups of pupils also cover ten years, as the pupils who attend them have a need for more time for their learning.