Spain

Key documents: Spanish Constitution, Law on the Social Integration of the Handicapped, Non-Discrimination Act, Equal Opportunities Act, and the Spanish Strategy for ASD.

Characteristics: As part of the Constitution, the right to education and maximum development of people are core elements of the Spanish system. Legislation not specifically focused on autism mainly focuses on the integration of people with disabilities in society. Autism-specific legislation, on the other hand, aims to generally improve the autonomy of people with autism by facilitating better education and assisting in their development. 

Overview

  • In Spain, the right to education for all is included in Article 27(1) of the Constitution. Additionally, it established in Article 27(2) that education should be directed at meeting their full potential, as well as the need to integrate people with disabilities and ensure special attention to their needs is given in Article 49. 
  • With the ratification of the Law on the Social Integration of the Handicapped [2], more focus was put on the integration of people with disabilities in society through Article 23(1), allowing them to better access mainstream education by providing support. It is also established in Article 23(2) that special education is only provided if mainstream education turns out to be an unfeasible option. The aims for education that were established in the Constitution were also expanded in Article 26(2) with the aims of individualised education, which include broadening knowledge and acquiring habits to enhance the chance of future independence and autonomy as well as developing personality and skills needed for future work so they are able to live a fulfilling life. 
  • The adoption of both the Non-Discrimination Act [3] and the Equal Opportunities Act [4] further strengthened the basis against discrimination against people with autism. ​
  • Spain has adopted a autism-specific strategy as well: The Spanish Strategy for ASD [5]. It aims to improve the quality of life of people with autism and address their needs. More specifically, Objective 2 focuses on establishing an improving individualised and high quality education of people with autism, Objective 3 on adapting teaching methods to be able to meet the goal of inclusion and personal development of people with autism, and Objective 4 on encouraging students with autism with to take part in educational as well as extra-curricular activities. It also recognises in Objective 5 that each person with autism will not only have different needs but also different aspirations and objectives, and therefore individualised education and evaluation should be provided. Objective 6 then formulates the importance of identification, evaluation and implementation of good practice when it comes to education of people with autism and Objective 10 finishes with recognition of difficulties that come with transitions between different stages of education, thus calling for continuous support.


References
[1] Cortes Generales. Spanish Constitution. 1978. Available from: https://web.archive.org/web/20120117063355/http://www.tribunalconstitucional.es/en/constitucion/Pages/ConstitucionIngles.aspx#i1
[2] Cortes Generales. Act 13/1982 on the Social Integration for Disabled People. Available from: https://www.boe.es/buscar/doc.php?id=BOE-A-1982-9983
[3] Cortes Generales. Non-Discrumination Act. 2003. Available from: https://www.boe.es/buscar/doc.php?id=BOE-A-2003-22066
[4] Cortes Generales. Equal Opportunities Act. 2007. Available from: https://www.boe.es/buscar/doc.php?id=BOE-A-2007-22293
[5] Cortes Generales. Spanish Strategy For Autism Spectrum Disorder. 2015. Available from: https://www.mscbs.gob.es/ssi/discapacidad/docs/estrategia_espanola_autismo.docx