1. Special Education Needs (SEN) In Indonesia

Special Education Needs (SEN) In Indonesia

Published on 30 Jun 2021

What Are Special Educational Needs?

Children with special educational needs (SEN) face learning difficulties in the form of disorders and disabilities. Some of the common learning disorders among children are dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia. Children who have medical disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism will face learning disruptions as well. 

Learning disorders and disabilities are caused by abnormality, injury and impairments from a disease. Children with SEN will encounter obstacles when it comes to schoolwork and personal organisation. They may also have trouble maintaining friendships and relationships with adults. 


Special Educational Needs Centres in Indonesia

Children with special needs in Indonesia have schools that are specialised for them. These special schools cater to children in kindergarten up to secondary education and are known as Sekolah Luar Biasa. These special schools cater to disabilities such as visual impairment, hearing impairment, physical impairment, autism, intellectual disabilities and many others. Teachers in these schools are required to have a higher education certificate in Special Education that can be obtained in universities across Indonesia. 

On the other hand, there are normal schools that allow children with special needs to learn with students without special needs and this is known as inclusive education. This effort was taken more seriously in 1999 by the Directorate of Special Education in Indonesia. As of 2006, 995 integrated schools were established. 


How to Help Children with Special Educational Needs? 

There are a few things parents with SEN children can do to create a positive and loving environment at home. Firstly, they can come up with simple tasks for their children to complete which will lead to a sense of achievement and pride. For these tasks, parents should always give clear instructions that are easily understandable. Next, parents can also give descriptive praise to their children when they do well to boost self-esteem. It is also important for parents to have meaningful conversations with their children and provide a safe avenue for them to express their feelings. Parents need to realise that they cannot rely on the school completely to teach their children. They have to do their part by teaching their children soft skills which build self-confidence. 

In addition, there are several ways teachers can help create a more conducive learning environment for children with SEN. Teachers have to ensure that the classroom is organised and has as little distractions as possible. It is also important to schedule learning breaks throughout the day. Next, teachers can incorporate music and voice inflection when giving instructions. Students with SEN may respond better to varied voice inflection and tone. Teachers also need to get creative with their lesson plans and include multi-sensory cues such as visual cues, auditory cues and tactile cues when teaching SEN students something new. Last but not least, teachers must always motivate SEN students and give compliments and reassurance for small accomplishments.


The benefits and importance of Special Educational Needs Centre

Children with SEN must not be equated to slow learners or individuals who are less intelligent. They are often as smart as their peers; the only difference is that they need to learn in a different way. Teachers and parents alike should recognise that each child has unique interests, abilities, intelligences and learning preferences. Therefore, continuous effort is needed to ensure children with SEN are educated to their fullest potential. 

This effort must come in the form of special education, which can be defined as educational programmes and practices designed for students with learning disabilities and special educational needs. Each child, especially those with SEN, have the right to receive the same level of education as their peers and receive the same academic opportunities as them. Furthermore, children with SEN will be able to interact with other children and develop their communication skills and interpersonal skills. Being in a classroom environment will also increase their confidence and self-esteem and create a positive mind-set. 


What is the Special Educational Needs curriculum?

A number of international schools have departments dedicated to learning support and helping students with SEN. Some of the provisions provided at these schools include: 


  • Classroom support
    International school teachers collaborate with enrichment coordinators, specialist teachers and learning support teachers to help students in the areas of numeracy, literacy and student development.

  • One-on-one learning
    Students who require more attention are taught on a one-on-one basis. Some schools offer learning support sessions once or twice a week to help students complete schoolwork and additional tasks.

  • Parent involvement
    International schools with provisions for SEN are open to partnering with parents to come up with new ideas and suggestions on how to accelerate their children’s learning.

  • Specialised programmes 
    Selected international schools have specialised programmes for students with SEN. These students will receive support and instruction from trained specialist educators and teachers.

  • Counselling 
    A number of schools also have an in-house counsellor who helps students with academic, emotional and social problems. School counsellors can aid students with SEN with personal development and improvement of social skills if needed.

Types of Special Educational Needs

Here are the common types of learning disorders children with SEN face:


  • Dyslexia 
    Dyslexia is a language-based disability that affects spelling, reading and comprehension.
  • Dyscalculia 
    Children with dyscalculia find it difficult to grasp mathematical concepts. These concepts include numerical organisation, understanding quantity and calculating value and time.

  • Dysgraphia
    Dysgraphia concerns the physical act of writing. Children with dysgraphia have difficulty holding a pencil and have little spatial awareness.

  • Dyspraxia
    Dyspraxia is a condition where there is delayed neurological development in muscle coordination and movement.

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)  
    ADHD can be broken down into two elements, inattentiveness and hyperactivity. Inattentive children have a short attention span which results in trouble paying attention and focusing on a task.


How do you apply for Special Educational Needs Centres?

For international schools, children with SEN may be required to go through an assessment and consultation with the academic staff to gauge whether the school will be able to provide suitable provisions for the type of learning disability the child might have. 

On the other hand, dedicated learning centres supporting SEN students may require parents to fill up a pre-assessment form online before booking a scheduled evaluation and assessment with a specialist. 


How to choose the right Special Educational Needs Centre 

The type and amount of learning support differs from school to school. Therefore, it is important for parents to speak to the school honestly about their child’s needs and ask for detailed information on the school’s provisions for SEN. Parents should also make an effort to seek help and identify the type of learning disability their child has as early as possible. 



  1. http://www.nise.go.jp/kenshuka/josa/kankobutsu/pub_d/d-175/d-175_1_4.pdf
  2. http://pustaka.unpad.ac.id/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/special_education_in_indonesia.pdf

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