Short Desciption

This project bring together 6 Special Schools from EU all with a slightly different area of focus and expertise but all school are aware of the social isolation of their pupils. Our project aims to tackle this issue and enable our pupils to play a more productive and involved role in our European society. Our efforts aim to ensure we raise skill levels of these vulnerable students and have a direct and life long impact on the connectivity with society in general.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Staff training and reflection on our learning - summary


Training Undertaken

Methodology underpinning learning

Cultural Activities/

Team building


18 – 23 October 2021

Croatian Education system and about Center Tomislav Spoljar


Social Inclusion as pupils reach adulthood

Class visits in




·       Pastry

·       Traditional Music

·       Ceramics

Participants learned about Croatian Education system by

visiting some educational possibilities for pupils with

intellectual disabilities.

Four different curriculums in practice:

- classes with pupils with intellectual disabilities in

regular schools (adapted programme for some school


- pupils in Center Tomislav Špoljar (individually

adapted programme, small classes, special educators)

- pupils in Center Tomislav Špoljar (special individual

programme for basic skills, small classes, special

educators) until 21 years.

- work occupation older than 21

Participation in workshops with pupils to show the

possibilities for pupils that reach adulthood  - inclusion school

Initial meeting, meals and activities


Guided tour of Varazdin


City Museum



Northern Ireland UK


28th March – 1st April


About Thornfield House School and pupils Special Educational Needs

Class Visits - due to the relaxing of Covid Rules.  Visits to our junior and senior school. 


Staff learning about the NI curriculum and the visual and practical teaching methods accompanied by:


*Paget Gorman Signed Speech and

*Cued Articulation










ICANS – Talk about Talk – Laura Finnegan Teacher (Y11/12)




Social Skills – Brid Tate Speech Therapist lead THS


Promoting e-safety awareness in young people by Constable Steven McAleese (Police Service for NI) Neighbourhood Police


Visit to Jordanstown school for the visually and hearing impaired – some teaching methods and the use of Braille




NI Curriculum


Development Language Disorder – is a life long condition that causes problems for pupil learning’ They need Kinaesthetic approaches along with visual cues:-

Class Visits to showcase the NI curriculum and collaboration with Speech and Language Therapists












*Visual Cues used in Thornfield

·       observed in classes used by Teachers/Classroom Assistants and Speech and Language Therapists

Paget Gorman Signed Speech (these signs grammatically correct sentences as a visual cue to aid speech).

*Cued Articulation are visual signs for the sounds that make up English to help pupils decode to help reading and spelling

I CANS promotes the attitudes to social interaction and how that impacts on the working environments.  Pupils are taught through 13 lessons about social interaction, socially and in the workplace.  Delivered by both Teachers and Speech and Language Therapists.

Key Stage 2 and 3 (pupils from 8 years to 13 years) have social skills lessons with the Speech and Language therapists

The difficulties pupils have using social media.


Staff had the opportunity of learning about the different resources used by the teachers in Jordanstown to aid their visually and hearing-impaired pupils to access the NI Curriculum and functionally in life.

Initial meeting, meals and activities. 

Belfast Cultural Visits – Titantic/Belfast City Hall/Museum/Botanic gardens – Individual group choices depending on what they had visited before (some had been our partners on a previous Erasmus mobility)


Visit to local council offices.  These are housed in an upgraded old linen mill – Historical information about the area – Irish linen and the local hockey club that still exists that was started for the benefit of mill workers




15 - 20 May2022

About Friedrich-Elevers-Schule


Management approaches to support pupils with challenging pupils to improve their abilities to engage with their peers


Work in the Special Education Support Area Emotional and Social Development




Partners were able to visit schools in line with their specialisms.


Guided Tour of Heide


Brahms music museum



3 – 7 October 2022

The Viennese Education System

FIDS10 School Center Quellenstrasse

Will showcase the use of team teaching approaches to address isolation and improve inclusion

Motor skills parkour at the playground: Sports Therapy aimed at increasing the motor skills of our students making them more engaged in activities and the world around them focusing on the five senses.

Technical work in the workroom: Fine motor skills, creativity as well as the safe handling of different tools and materials are in the foreground as well as the cooperation of the two teachers "team-teaching" in dealing with schoolchildren with special needs.

Music and singing in the classroom: Musicality as an expression of the personal mood and individual personality of each student is the focus of this course. The individual creativity as well as the social behaviour in heterogeneous communities by means of music, singing and performing play based on a school class with children with special needs were illustrated to the colleagues in this lesson.

"Inclusion, Diversity and Special Education" and "Special educational needs in the Vienna School system". Both lectures served as a supplement as well as a deepening of the focal points already conveyed during this week. The contents should help the colleagues present to understand the key points, goals, difficulties and solutions for inclusion, diversity and schooling in the field of special education and to recognize the similarities as well as the differences in the national school systems (Croatia, Germany, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Slovenia).


Initial meeting, meals and activities:

Guided tour of the sights in Vienna's city center;

Traditional Austrian evening with classical home songs, local delicacies and regional clothing (traditional costume, dirndl, lederhosen);

Visit the houses of Parliament at the famous “Ringstraße”

History exhibition "The Wedding in Auschwitz" at the city hall;

Visit the Danube Tower in the Danube Park;

One round at the famous Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel







20.-24.March 2023


The Slovenian Education System






The concept of swimming for the disabled




















Mobile service provided by disability experts

In mainstream schools





















The use of Animal  assisted therapy - Therapy to increase pupil engagement with isolated pupils

Activity 1: Presentation of the Slovenian Special Education System and the schools program through ppt. presentation and open discussion.

The partners were get a knowledge about Slovenian school system for special needs. In this way they were able to compare Slovenian school system with their and see similarities or differences between school systems.








Activity 2: Presentation of the Halliwick Concept of swimming for disabled people. Partners were get familiar with the theoretical frame of the Halliwick concept of swimming in accordance with new experiences and scientific advances. It was also presented the connection of swimming with the expression of emotions and the importance of this activity for the regulation of abnormal behaviors. All participant will had chance to see this method in the swimming pool with our teachers and students in video and see how Halliwick concept of swimming for children work.

Our aim was to promote to the partners the Halliwick Concept of teaching swimming and rehabilitation in water throughout the partner's visit and develop a better understanding of the therapeutic needs of children with neuro developmental difficulties (Cerebral Palsy and similar conditions), how to address these needs using the Halliwick Concept of swimming and rehabilitation in water, at an advanced level.






Activity 3: Mobile service provided by disability experts : Within special institutions and schools with the adapted programme, there is a mobile service provided by disability experts. They are responsible for the provision of aid required to overcome deficiencies, barriers and disorders. Their job is to visit children, pupils and students at pre-schools. Special educational support is offered by specialized mobile teachers in mainstream elementary schools. This support is generally offered to special needs pupils with specific learning disabilities. All partners had a chance to hear from school expert Mrs. Aleksandra Serec Šijanec,  mobile teachers, how this work with students takes place.

Our goal was to show Slovenian idea about individual support to the students with SEN in Mainstraim schools and how this support works. Partners also learned about the process of identifying children with special needs.




Activity 4: Presentation of Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) This is a type of therapy that involves animals as a form of treatment. The use of therapy animals in schools has just recently become popular. The goal of AAT is to improve a patient’s social, emotional, or cognitive functioning. Surveys about therapy animals have proven to lower anxiety and motivate participation of SEN pupils. In school education, the pupil may be motivated to brush the animal or walk with it. The purpose of this activity is to explore how animal-assisted therapy in schools, specifically using dogs, could be a complimentary and supportive form of intervention provided by social workers in a school setting. The animal is seen as a friend and ally, thus presenting a safe atmosphere for sharing and interaction. Therapy animals serve as non-judgmental companions in the process of learning and development. They are used for everything from help with lessons to teaching social skills and responsibility. They help pupils with emotional problems that interfere with school, including grief and personal crisis – theory. Slovenian techer Mrs. Tanja Kaučevič has got a lincec for activities with dog, so she presented her work with his dog Vilma in the school, also partners saw the video how our students also socialize with other animals in and out of school.

All partners had opportunity to see the benefits of having therapy dogs in the classroom which are: -Physical benefits. Interaction with therapy dogs has been shown to reduce blood pressure, provide physical stimulation and assist with pain management. –Social benefits. A visiting therapy dog promotes greater self-esteem and focused interaction with other students and teachers. -Cognitive benefits. It has been empirically proven that therapy dogs stimulate memory and problem-solving skills. -Emotional and mental health benefits. A recent national survey of adolescent mental health found that about 8 to 10 percent of teens ages 13 to 18 have an anxiety disorder. A therapy dog can lift moods in the classroom, often provoking laughter. The therapy dog is also there to offer friendship and a shoulder to lean on for students.






Visiting the Slovenian capital city Ljubljana with all the sights and cuisine



A visit to the largest European underground cave, the Postojna cave








discovering the cultural and historical heritage of the oldest Slovenian city,  Ptuj


Social Integration programme


TEAACH as part of their ASD support portfolio

Participants were given a presentation on the Irish Special Education system and the programme offered by a special school and that offered by a special class in Ireland.

Partners were also presented with an introduction to PECS and TEACCH by psychologist, Patrick McGinley.  PECS is a picture exchange system designed for individual pupils who struggle with verbal communication and social skills.  TEACCH, in contrast, is a school wide programme grounded in providing visual guides to assist the pupil understand daily and work schedules, working systems, daily routines and the physical structure of the school.  This is done by providing an organised, visual structure throughout their school day.

Following the presentation, the partners had the opportunity to tour St. Joseph’s Special School and see how our classrooms and general school environment are set up to offer our pupils visual aids so that they can predict what is happening throughout their school day.

Partners, had the opportunity to then observe how both TEACCH and PECS are used with our pupils, by observing in classroom settings and attending workshops with our senior pupils (woodwork, cookery, music and P.E.).  During these events, they were able to see these communications systems being used to aid pupils communication and learning.

Partners were also brought to an adult programme, where they were able to observe how PECS and TEACCH are brought from the classroom setting to adult services and how these communication systems aid not only communication but also preparation for work programmes and social integration.

Partners also visited some special classes in our city schools to observe how PECS and TEACCH are used in these settings and also to compare the social integration programme within St. Joseph’s Special School with that of mainstream special classes.


Partners were invited to attend a musical evening where pupils from St. Joseph’s Special School joined pupils from a number of schools within the city to perform some musical pieces.  This evening was a final presentation following a year long project offered by the Arts Council of Ireland.  This illustrated one of the social integration projects that St. Joseph’s Special School is involved in within our city.

While attending a number of workshops in St. Joseph’s Special School, partners, worked alongside our senior pupils where the social skills developed by the pupils through our social integration programme, were in evidence.



Participants engaged in:

·       Trad on the Prom – a night of traditional music, song and dance performances.

·       A guided walking tour of Galway city.

·       A guided bus tour of Connemara

·       An introduction to Hurling – our national sport

·       A traditional Irish dinner (Irish stew) prepared and served in school.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

At the end of our 3 years journey - Tanja Nikolovski, Ptuj - Slovenia

Dear  coordinators and all "Get to know us" participants   .... we have reached almost to the end... only the final report needs to be written. 

At the end of our 3 years  journey, I would like to  thank you for your contribution to the realization of the project idea. What findings and results we came to, it will be clear to us  when we come into the final report and analyze our work. Anyone who has never participated in a project with an international dimension cannot imagine how much time and effort has actually been put into it. I want to say to all of you a BIG THANK YOU.

Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if we haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, we really haven’t learned anything.




Wishing you everything the best in your personal and profesional life.

Let just say to each other: "See you again in another oportunity." 

A big hug. 


Friday, June 2, 2023

Centar Tomislav Špoljar Day - OŠ Tomislav Špoljar Varaždin, Croatia

On Friday, June 2, 2023, Center Day was solemnly celebrated at the Croatian National Theater in Varaždin. The students prepared a performance in which they showed their acting and dancing abilities. The numerous audience rewarded all the performers with strong applause.


Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Mobility to Galway . 22nd - 26th Maj 2023

 Delegates from Varzdin (Croatia), Jordanstown (Northern Ireland), Heide (Germany), Vienna (Austria) and Ptui (Slovenia) gathered at St. Joseph’s Special School on May 22, 2023 at the start of our Galway mobility.

The theme of this mobility was an introduction to how PECS, TEACCH and Social Integration occurs in our school.  The week began with a workshop given by Mr. Patrick McGinley, psychologist, highlighting the importance of visual cues and aids for people with developmental difficulties.  Following the workshop, the following events occurred to illustrate and reinforce the concepts of PECS, TEACCH and Social Integration.

·       A treasure hunt around our school to find examples of PECS and TEACCH in each of our classrooms and general areas within the school

·       Attendance at a performance by pupils from schools across the city of Galway which also included pupils from St. Joseph’s Special School.

·       Classroom observations to observe PECS and TEACCH used by pupils and classroom staff.

·       Attendance at workshops within the school in cookery, woodwork and music – where lessons were given using the principals of PECS and TEACCH.

·       A visit to an adult service to observe how PECS and TEACCH principals are carried with our pupils to their adult services when they graduate.

·       Visits to different special classes within a variety of main stream schools within the city – Scoil Chatriona – senior and junior schools, Colaiste Iognaid, Claddagh School and Educate Together School.  Delegates had the opportunity to observe further examples of PECS and TEACCH being implemented in these schools.

·       On our last day, Friday, 26th, May 2023, the mobility ended with a demonstration and lessons in Irish Dancing in the school hall.  Guest dancers performed a number of set dances to music performed by school staff and parents.  Following the demonstration, pupils and delegates had the opportunity to practice dancing themselves.  This was to illustrate the opportunities of Social Integration offered to our pupils, on a regular basis, within the school.

During the mobility, the delegates were offered a number of cultural experiences relating to the west of Ireland.  These opportunities included:

·       A guided tour to Connemara.  The tour included - Cong, Co. Mayo, Killary Harbour, Kylemore Abbey, Connemara National Park and Clifden.

·       A guided walking tour of Galway City

·       “Trad on the Prom” – an evening of Irish music, song and dance

·       An evening of folk music