• Curriculum;
  • Finland;
  • intellectual disabilities;
  • teaching methods

Accessible summary

  • • 
    To find out what models for educational planning and which methods are currently in use with severely intellectually disabled students in Finland.
  • • 
    Teaching praxis is based on small child’s normal psychological development and behavioral analytic tradition.


Ten years ago children diagnosed as having severe/profound intellectual disabilities were allowed to attend and study in Finnish comprehensive schools. The nationwide intensive developmental work for creating a curriculum for this group of students began earlier, in the 1980s.The aim of this study was to discover what types of models of curriculums and which teaching methods are currently in use. The reason for this was the lack of recent research in this area, and the current strong emphasis on developing quality education for this group which continues to be focused away from segregated systems. The findings of this survey indicated that the most widely used principle for planning teaching directed at this group of students is based on normal psychological development of a young child. Of all teaching methods used the most popular ones were categorized as sensory and environmental enrichment and stimulation. Another large group of teaching methods was discovered to be based on behavior analysis.