Autism and the right to education in the EU: policy mapping and scoping review of Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, and Sweden.
INTRODUCTION: The universal right to education for people with disabilities has been highlighted by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In this paper, we mapped policies addressing the right to education and special education needs of autistic children in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. METHODS: A policy path analysis was carried out using a scoping review as an underlying framework for data gathering. Policy mapping was performed independently by both lead authors to increase reliability. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: The values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities have been closely translated into the respective education systems of the countries under study, offering special education needs services and support in mainstream education with the aim of including as many children into mainstream education as possible. Even though the education systems are comparable, the approaches between the countries under study are slightly different. Denmark and Sweden have passed several policies specifically geared towards special education needs, while Finland incorporates this more in general education policy. CONCLUSION: All countries under study have incorporated the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in their respective education systems while emphasising the need to include as many children in the mainstream system as possible.