A brief history of Inclusive Education: Characteristics of specialized educational care

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RODRIGUES, Murilo Raposo [1]

RODRIGUES, Murilo Raposo. A brief history of Inclusive Education: Characteristics of specialized educational care. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Year 05, Ed. 10, Vol. 13, pp. 164-174. October 2020. ISSN: 2448-0959, Access link: https://www.nucleodoconhecimento.com.br/education/characteristics-of-specialized


This is an analysis of the trajectory of special education in Brazil, going on a 26-year path from the Salamanca Declaration, where it was determined that every child should have the right to education preserved, until the present day. As a basis for studies, we examine: some books and scientific articles by certain authors in this area, the Law of Guidelines and Bases of National Education, the Federal Constitution of 1988 and the document prepared at the World Conference on Special Education at the meeting promoted by the United Nations in Salamanca, Spain, in 1994. Through this study, we show that, although we have advanced a lot with the debate on this theme among education professionals, it is still necessary to delve deeper into the reflections on how to implement a school that really provides accessibility to children with special needs and, another aspect also very important, create a welcoming environment for these students, involving the entire school community in this project of inclusion and citizenship training.

Keywords: Special Education, accessibility, School Community, inclusion.


In the history of education of children with some kind of special need, we can observe that, until a few years ago, we found several paradigms of an exclusionary nature in relation to the teaching-learning process of these students. In the trajectory of Special Education, it was remarkable the exclusion of these people as full citizens, observing from the impediment of their living in society, without being able to enjoy common spaces of social coexistence, to actions that segregated these individuals to the classrooms of Special Education to stimulate their capacities, with a partial look more focused on “disease” and limitations , than for its potential.

Although the concept of inclusion is always being widely discussed by education scholars, unfortunately this theme can still be misunderstood by some people, as we often see expressions such as “inclusion room” even within the school community itself.

Thus, it is worth mentioning that inclusion should be an example that we need to disseminate and apply in the most varied spaces, whether educational, symbolic, cultural, physical and social, because from inclusion we can recognize each individual in the diversity of their specificities, their identities, their genders, their characteristics, their cultural heritages, their descendants, etc.

As Camargo (2017, p. 1) states, “inclusion, therefore, is a social practice that applies in work, architecture, leisure, education, culture, but, mainly, in attitude and understanding of things, of oneanother and of others”.

From this context, we must exercise this look at each individual, because, according to Mantoan (2006, p. 7-8), “there are differ[…]ences and there are equalities, and not everything should be equal, not everything should be […]different, it is necessary that we have the right to be different when equality mischaracterizes us and the right to be equal when the difference inferiorizes us”.

Of great importance for the inclusion process within the school environments, the implementation of specialized educational care rooms (ESA) from the 2000s, favored debates in various spaces such as Continuing Education courses, Pedagogical Political Projects, meetings with the school community, among others. And there are still many aspects in its implementation that must be discussed, evaluated and clarified with education professionals so that the objectives are truly achieved, such as the social and cognitive development of special students, as well as, and not least, their interaction with other students.


Assuming that studying our history is essential to understand our reality in Education, in this respect, Saviani (1990) observes that the historical changes that occur in our society, in a way, influence education, and this, in turn, contributes to these transformations. Thus, we must analyze the political milestones of Special Education in the context of Specialized Educational Care and Multifunctional Resource Rooms (SRM’s) implemented in many Brazilian schools.

Article 208 of Article 208 of our Federal Constitution of 1988 guarantees that “[…] the duty of the State with education will be carried out by guaranteeing specialized educational care to people with disabilities, preferably in the regular school system” (BRASIL, 2020, n. p.). At this time, there was no legal precedent, nor in-depth theoretical studies for the immediate implementation of Specialized Educational Care in regular education networks.

In 2007, a group of collaborators, including professionals and researchers in the field of Education, together with members of the Secretariat of Special Education of mec (Ministry of Education and Culture), began to prepare a document that was delivered to the then Minister of Education Fernando Haddad, on January 7, 2008, entitled National Policy of Special Education in the Perspective of Inclusive Education , where it presents, in item IV, the objective of Special Education in the educational networks:

[…] aims to ensure the school inclusion of students with disabilities, global development disorders and high skills/gifting, guiding education systems to ensure: access to regular education, participation, learning and continuity at the highest levels of education; transversality of the modality of special education from early childhood education to higher education; offer of specialized educational care; teacher training for specialized educational care and other education professionals for inclusion; participation of the family and the community; architectural accessibility, in transport, furniture, communications and information; and intersectoral articulation in the implementation of public policies. (BRASIL, 2008, p. 14)

Thus, we can assess that from the perspective of Inclusive Education, the National Policy of Special Education has as its main objective, to ensure the school inclusion of all students with disabilities, global development disorders and high skills/giftedness, guiding that the education systems guarantee these students access to regular education, with participation and involvement of all school professionals.

The Specialized Educational Service, in accordance with the document already mentioned above – National Policy of Special Education in the Perspective of Inclusive Education – is an important instrument to achieve the objectives immediately listed above, because it is through it that:

[…] identifies, develops and organizes pedagogical and accessibility resources that remove barriers to full participation of students, considering their specific needs. The activities developed in specialized educational care differ from those performed in the common classroom, and are not substitute to schooling. This service complements and/or supplements the training of students with a view to autonomy and independence in school and outside it. (BRASIL, 2008, p. 16)

Thus, the ESA and the RmS have an important role as facilitators in the elaboration of activities and in the provision of pedagogical materials that stimulate the learning of students with special needs, in addition to the guidance of teachers and families.

Regarding the activities to be developed by the ESA, the document prepared in 2007 and delivered to the Minister of Education in 2008 clarifies that:

The specialized educational service provides curriculum enrichment programs, the teaching of specific languages and codes of communication and signaling, technical aid and assistive technology, among others. Throughout the schooling process, this service should be articulated with the pedagogical proposal of common education. (BRASIL, 2008, p. 16)


From these placements, we tried to reflect on what the relationship of Specialized Educational Care with Pedagogical Political Projects (PPP) would look like in schools. This, in turn, when elaborated with the help of the entire school community, indicates a direction to be followed by managers, teachers, employees, students and parents to achieve objectives that are proposed in the PPP.

Another important point to consider is about the possibilities that the work that is developed by the ESA in the specific needs of each student:

Specialized educational care is performed through the performance of professionals with specific knowledge in the teaching of the Brazilian Sign Language, the Portuguese language in the written modality as a second language, the Braille system, soroban, guidance and mobility, autonomous life activities, alternative communication, the development of superior mental processes, curriculum enrichment programs, the adequacy and production of educational and pedagogical materials , the use of optical and non-optical resources, assistive technology and others. (BRASIL, 2008, p. 17)

In this sense, it is necessary to reflect on the need for the formation of the entire faculty of a school and, mainly, the training of teachers who work in specialized educational care and multifunctional resource rooms.

Article 87 of the Transitional Provisions of the Law of Guidelines and Bases (LDB) designated as the “Decade of Education” the decade following its publication, expanding this debate especially from the end of 1997, also establishing, in its §4, that all teachers of Basic Education would need to be qualified at a higher level or should be formed by in-service training.

It should be noted, however, that the suso cited device of the LDB was tacitly repealed by Article 62 of the same legal document, with the wording given to it by Law No. 13,415/2017. Thus, teachers with training in secondary education courses, in the normal modality, are qualified to practice teaching in Early Childhood Education and Fundamental I:

Art. 62. The training of teachers to work in basic education will be at a higher level, in a full degree course, admitted, as minimum training for the exercise of teaching in early childhood education and in the first five years of elementary school, that offered at secondary level, in the normal modality. (BRAZIL, 2017, n. p.)

It is essential to emphasize that undergraduate and continuing education should be part of an educational program where teachers receive the opportunity to renew their knowledge and that this is an aspect to be valued by the Departments of Education of each state and municipality, as well as observing the working conditions in each school and the resources specifically destined to Special Education (GATTI , 1998).

Thus, pursuant to Law No. 9,394 of December 20, 1996, it determines:

Art. 63. Higher education institutes will maintain:

I – professional training courses for basic education, including the normal higher education course, aimed at training teachers for early childhood education and for the first grades of elementary school[…]. (BRAZIL, 1996, n. p.)

We also highlight that all pedagogical work, with specific resources and pedagogical proposals, should always be in constant debate and requires investment, preparation, study, support, experience and analysis, in addition to exchanging information with professionals from other areas of knowledge.

Decree No. 6,571, of December 17, 2008, already repealed by Decree No. 7,611 of 2011, determined that the Specialized Educational Service would be financed through the Fund for the Maintenance and Development of Basic Education and the Valorization of Education Professionals (Fundeb). In this Decree, the Federal Government undertook to provide financial and technical support to the public education systems of the States, the Federal District and the Municipalities, and also presented, as a priority, the increase in the offer of The ESA to students with disabilities, global development disorders and high skills or gifted upreach enrolled in the public regular education network.

However, as anticipated above, Decree No. 7,611 of November 17, 2011 repealed the previous provisions on Specialized Educational Care, establishing new and various measures on Special Education. Article 1 of the novel establishes that:

Art. 1º The duty of the State with the education of the public target persons of special education will be carried out according to the following guidelines:

I – ensuring an inclusive educational system at all levels, without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunities;

II – lifelong learning;

III – non-exclusion from the general educational system on the grounds of disability;

IV – guarantee of free and compulsory primary education, ensuring reasonable adaptations according to individual needs;

V – provision of necessary support, within the framework of the general educational system, in order to facilitate its effective education;

VI – adoption of individualized and effective support measures, in environments that maximize academic and social development, according to the goal of full inclusion;

VII – provision of special education preferably in the regular school system; And

VIII – technical and financial support by the Government to private non-profit institutions, specialized and exclusively acting in special education. (BRAZIL, 2011, n. p.)

Article 2 of the same legislative edict stresses that Special Education needs to guarantee a specialized support service, and these services are considered as the ESA, deliberating as follows:

Art. 2º Special education should ensure specialized support services aimed at eliminating barriers that may obstruct the schooling process of students with disabilities, global development disorders and high skills or gifted.

§ 1 – For the purposes of this Decree, the services referred to in the caput will be called specialized educational care, understood as the set of activities, accessibility resources and pedagogical organized institutionally and continuously, provided in the following ways:

I – complementary to the training of students with disabilities, global developmental disorders, such as permanent and limited support in the time and frequency of students to multifunctional resource rooms; Or

II – supplement to the training of students with high skills or gifted.

§ 2 – Specialized educational care should integrate the pedagogical proposal of the school, involve the participation of the family to ensure full access and participation of students, meet the specific needs of the target people of special education, and be carried out in conjunction with other public policies. (BRAZIL, 2011, n. p.)

Thus, the Federal Government, through the preparation of this document, points out the set of actions to be implemented in the SRM’s, without specifically directing how these activities should be developed by specialized teachers. In fact, the teacher’s practice, his experience with each student is what will direct his work planning.

Therefore, also in Decree No. 7,611, the Federal Government validates the right to knowledge and pedagogical development of students with special educational needs, emphasizing in article 3 the objectives that must be understood in the ESA:

I – provide conditions for access, participation and learning in regular education and ensure specialized support services according to the individual needs of students;

II – ensure the transversality of special education actions in regular education;

III – to promote the development of educational and pedagogical resources that eliminate barriers in the teaching and learning process; And

IV – ensure conditions for the continuity of studies at other levels, stages and modalities of teaching. (BRAZIL, 2011, n. p.)

On the methodology we should develop to stimulate the knowledge of the student, Camargo (2017, p. 3-4) proposes:

The structure proposed by universal design presupposes diversity and work with identity and difference in its constitution. Methodology, communication process and instructional material thought about the structure mentioned need to be applied to the entire classroom, and should be contemplated in the methodology, communication process and instructional material, elements specific to the principles of diversity, identity and difference, and not of homogeneity and homogenizing spaces, these last products of social construction.


While the school has a fundamental role in the propagation of knowledge, we sometimes realize that a form of teaching is still conceived that prioritizes the intellect and disappreciates the affective and emotional side, not giving due importance that the human being is an individual whose intellectuality and emotion unite and, in this way, influences cognitive development and that can leave gaps in the integral formation of students. In relation to Special Education, if we do not exercise inclusion, we reproduce the molds of our society, in which there is still social exclusion, because it follows the same line of structure as traditional education (COELHO; SCHMIDT, 2018).

In the role of the teacher who works in the SRM’s, we emphasize that there is an important need to learn from the student who seeks care, understand their internal world, establishing with him an affective bond so that this student can feel confident and motivated to participate and collaborate with the activities proposed to him, besides needing to have sensitivity to understand how we can work the contents with these students.

In this modality of pedagogical care, it is necessary to emphasize the respect for the peculiarities of each student, their individual processes where the teacher knows his sociability, his limits, his cognition, his way of being and being in the world (PIAGET, 1975).

It becomes of paramount importance to stimulate in students the entrance to the symbolism of culture that has been assimilated and expanded by human beings throughout its history. According to Vygotsky, Luria and Leontiev (2010), learning has an autonomous characteristic, it is not only a way to develop mental abilities, but, by itself, it provides transformation.

When entering the school, the student needs to feel welcomed and accepted, needs to be perceived as a being under construction. In this sense, we must consider their particular history of life before their school life, which will certainly be essential in this teaching-learning process.

According to Alves (2002, p. 6):

Every learning experience begins with an affective experience. It is hunger that puts the thinking device into operation. Hunger is affection. Thought is born of affection, born of hunger. Do not confuse affection with kisses and affections. Affection, from the Latin “afettare”, means “go after”. It is the movement of the soul in the search for the object of its hunger. It is the platonic Eros, the hunger that makes the soul fly in search of the dreamed fruit.”

We seek what has meaning for students with special needs, within contextualized themes that are concretely important to them and that are related to their experiences, starting from the previous knowledge they already have to transform simple content into more complex content, should be the objective of the teachers of the SRM’s to be able to stimulate the social and cognitive development of these children.

According to Piaget (apud OLIVEIRA, 1992), intellectual development is related to two important components: affective and cognitive. These two aspects, in Education, are related to stimulate the teaching-learning process and achieve the objectives proposed in the pedagogical plans. In fact, all children, with special needs or not, have different potentialities, because each has its differences in cultural, cognitive, biological, physical and psychic aspects, when they are stimulated and motivated they demonstrate a greater interest in the contents and a better result in learning.

Thus, when a relationship of trust and commitment between teachers and students develops, this emotional and affective involvement contributes to an evolution in the learning process, besides establishing an improvement in the social relationship of students with special needs with other children in the school (OLIVEIRA, 1992).


In view of all the exhibitions and analyses, in order to corroborate what Vygotsky (2005) defends, we can conclude that school learning plays a fundamental and decisive role for children to become aware of their cognitive processes. These mental processes that children develop from school learning stimulate critical thinking, thus contributing to the way of thinking and acting in the face of everyday situations in life. These are processes that are constantly developing and do not stagnate. Stimulating learning will always be the starting point for any child’s cognitive development.

It is necessary that the professor of Special Education understands that the student with special needs is a complex, contextualized and thinking, reflective individual, and his development in learning has a correlation with the affective and cognitive aspects. Therefore, we need to understand that the understanding of these children about the contents worked in the classroom, as subjects in the teaching-learning process, has a specific and singular cognitive level that will be developed from the affective relationship between the teacher and the student. In addition, it is important to realize that each student, in his/her specificities, has a history derived from the relationships that were previously established within his family, psychological, cultural and social environment that precede his/her relationship with the school (FERNANDEZ, 2001).

We emphasize that it is essential that the school, as an environment of work, knowledge, creativity, stimuli and reflection, consider a humanized and affective education to develop throughout the school community an environment of socialization among the agents involved, as well as a space for inclusion and, mainly, of welcoming its students and a place that seeks to develop its individual and collective potentialities , exercising daily the construction of citizenship and critical sense in each of these children.


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[1] Postgraduate in Libras and Inclusive Education of the Deaf Person (Santa Emília College); Degree in Artistic Education – Qualification in Performing Arts (Federal University of Pernambuco).

Sent: June, 2020.

Approved: October, 2020.

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