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DEVELOPMENT OF LOCAL APA INSTRUCTORS' WORK IN Finland Paper by Toni Piispanen from Finnish Society of Sport Sciences ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) and Kari Koivumäki from Ministry of Education and Culture ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

The Constitution of Finland (1999)
Chapter 2 - Basic rights and liberties
Section 2 - Equality

"No one shall, without an acceptable reason, be treated differently from other persons on the ground of sex, age, origin, language, religion, conviction, opinion, health, disability or other reason that concerns his or her person"

The Basic Education Law (1998)

Related to integration this law (17 §) says that "Pupil, who has slight learning or adaptation problems, has right to have special education integrated to mainstream education. ... if a pupil can not be taught normally due to a disability, disease, delay in development or a disorder in emotional life or for some other reason, she/he should be given special education. S.E. has to be organised integrated to normal teaching or otherwise in a special class or other place convenient for the purpose."

The Basic Education Law gives some clear obligations to municipalities. Here is a short extract from those concerning support:

(3 §) "The teaching has to be organized according to pupils age-level and abilities. In teaching there has to be co-operation with families." The statute of this law (15 §) adds, that "before a pupil is moved to special education there has to be negotiations with family" and some (medic/psychol..) investigations as well.

(30 §) "A pupil has a right during schooldays to get teaching according to curriculum and educational counselling as well."

(31 §) "Teaching and all the books, tools, materials and other stuff needed in education are free for a pupil. A pupil with disability or in need with other special support has in addition to this a right to get the services that make it possible to participate in the education free of charge. These services are: interpretation and transportation services, other teaching and pupil care services, special helping aids and the services that will be organized according to paragraph 39."

(39 §) Taking care of the supportive tasks of special education "The ministry involved can decide, that the organizer of education has to take care ... ... of rehabilitation given associated with special education and developmental- , instructive- and supportive tasks that are connected with special education" (In practise this means at the moment, that there are three special schools in the country, where pupils get accommodation, conditioning etc services that the state pays (the school applies and the Ministry decides).
Even if there is this "Basic Education Law", quite few parents use this right to get their child into integrated settings. It is possible, that the law is not very well-known by the parents.
This legislation is not too effective, most of pupils with a disability are still in segregrated settings. Pupils with mental retardation are practically all in segregated settings, even though their special class is often in the same building or area with mainstream classes ("physical integration"). Pupils with a physical disability are more often integrated and pupils with sensory disability (visual/auditive) are quite often integrated. There are no exact numbers available.
Children in integrated settings have the right to additional services in order to make the education free of charge like interpretation or transportation services, teaching and pupil services, helping aids, ...

According to the law, Physical Education is compulsory for all children. Pupils in integrated settings should be integrated in PE classes as well. There are no figures available on integration in PE. In practice, integration is dependent on decisions of single schools.
To the authors perception, integrated PE is developing positively with the improved basic education and in-service training of PE teachers.

Inclusion in Sports and Physical Activity

The Sports Act (1999)

1 § The purpose of the law
... "In addition ... the purpose of the law is - by means of physical activity - to promote equality and tolerance and to support the diversity of cultures and sustainable use of the environment."

2 § Responsibilities and obligations to co-operation...
"The municipality is responsible for creating the necessary conditions for physical activities of the residents ... also taking the special populations (the disabled) into consideration."

4 § National Sports Council
"As an expert organ of the ministry - in the tasks in accordance with this law - acts the National Sports Council. The National Sports Council is appointed by the Government for the parliamentary term (4 years). The National Sports Council has three subcommittees for sports policy, adapted physical activity, and sport science ..."

The Sports Act has had a big effect on the organisation sports in municipalities, especially the organisation of recreational physical activities. For competitive or elite sports there is no specific legislation.

Act on the services and support for the disabled and people with special needs (1987)
7 § Developing of the services
... "The municipalities have to take care, that the public services are suitable also for the disabled"

Employment of youngsters with a disability

Employment Contracts Act 2001
2.2 § Prohibition of Discrimination and Equal Treatment
..."The employer shall not exercise any unjustified discrimination against employees on the basis of age, health, disability, national or ethnic origin, nationality, sexual orientation, language, religion, opinion, belief, family ties, trade union activity, political activity or any other comparable circumstance. Provisions on the prohibition of discrimination based on gender are laid down in the act on Equality between Women and Men (609/1986)."

There is a financial support system available for employers that engage employees



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