Autism and family involvement in the right to education in the EU: policy mapping in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.


INTRODUCTION: In recent years, the universal right to education has been emphasised by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In this paper, we mapped policies relevant to special education needs and parental involvement of children with autism at an international level and in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. METHODS: A policy path analysis was performed using a scoping review as an underlying methodological framework. This allowed for a rapid gathering of available data from which a timeline of adopted policies was derived. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Internationally, the universal right to education has been reinforced repeatedly and the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have been reiterated with every reinforcement. Also, the additional support that a child with special education needs requires is acknowledged and measures are taken to facilitate access to any education for all children. There are slight cross-country differences between the countries under study, attributable to differences in national regulation of education. However, all countries have progressed to a state where the right to education for all children is integrated on a policy level and measures are taken to enable children with special needs to participate in education. Recently, an attempt to implement a form of inclusive education was made as a form of special needs provision. Nevertheless, nowhere has this been implemented successfully yet. CONCLUSION: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a critical juncture in international policy and created an environment where the universal right to education has been implemented for all children in the countries under study.