Interesting Stories

These stories present different kinds of approaches to students/learners with special needs in different learning environments. They have been collected as case studies by partners in the SOS-consortium. Each story gives access to other kinds of resources (barriers to education, definitions, etc.) and to methods and tools tested and applicable in different learning environments.
Best Case Title Country General Context Methodology
*** Neglected person with emotional and behavioural difficulties United Kingdom

This case study is about a 22 year old young man who has learning difficulties and emotional and behavioral difficulties.

Mentoring, Coaching
*** 'Snapt i arbete' - 'Quickly into jobs' - programme for young immigrants Sweden

The young man was involved in job search activities and also in the Swedish language instruction. My job was to find a solution why he did not get a job – he has a very good education and good family relationships.

Guidance, Mentoring, Coaching
*** Second Chance programme for Roma students Romania

In socio-economic terms, the area where school no.95 is located, live 30 Roma families who either do not have a fixed job or perform paid work or practice on small business (often illegal) because they did not complete education binding and have no qualifications.

*** "Jugendwerkstatt" - work tasting Germany

The „Jugendwerkstatt“) is a scheme offered by the youth welfare service. It is a mix between school education (Vocational College for maladjusted young people), and practical work.

Work placement
Student with low levels of maturity (Case study 3) United Kingdom

The 16-year-old student has come from another country and is cared for in a foster family in the UK. There have been developmental issues that have affected her academic studies.

Work placement, Guidance, CSR - Corporate Social Responsibility, Learning by doing, Mentoring, Coaching
Young adult carers (Case Study 2) United Kingdom

The young adult carers identified that they need significant support in order to continue in learning both pre-16 and post-16.  For example, they are reluctant to leave their parent until the professional (paid) carer arrives and if this is at 9 a.m.

Work placement, Guidance, CSR - Corporate Social Responsibility, Mentoring, Action Learning, Coaching
*** Guidance for young people in a prison setting Ireland

The student in question rang me recently re: securing more employment in the Sports Development area, as he is undergoing some financial difficulties. He needed me to refer him to the Education Organiser, to explore other job opportunities that may arise in an outreach project.

Work placement, Guidance, Learning by doing, Coaching
Able Programme for young people Ireland

17-year old young man  having great difficulties in completing training course. We suspect him of being involved in drug abuse. His academic skills are average. He has completed secondary school. Has no job experience.

*** Invest to save in young people Ireland

He is 24 and presents as having a problematic issue with cannabis. He has a conviction for driving without tax or insurance but he is actually heavily involved in drug dealing. He is currently on probation for the next year and is required by the conditions to be attending a training course.

Work placement, Guidance, Learning by doing, Coaching
*** Youth Centered practice Ireland

The young male is from Ballymun a socially deprived area of Dublin. From the time he was in primary school he struggled with his education, both his literacy and numeracy shills were well below the national average on transfer to second level education.

Guidance, Coaching
Support for motivation Finland

A young male student, age of seventeen, has difficulties to complete his studies. Main reasons seem to be inadequate skills of holding his daily routines together; he gets too little sleep because of a serious game addiction and he is a regular user of some intoxicants.

Work placement, Guidance
Individualized learning in catering field Finland

She is 21 years-old. She moved to this area last autumn at the beginning of her studies. Living alone is going well. In comprehensive education she was diagnosed as having dysphasia. Her challenges are the production of speech and text.

Work placement
Advantages of learning mobility Italy

In September 2011 CSCS hosted a group of young vocational training students interested to accomplish work placements. Some students have faced high difficulties in meeting the expected behaviours and express the profession skills and competencies at the work place.

Work placement, Mentoring
Refugees Italy

One of these persons, a boy of 22 years, was suffering in particular. He was one who had studied more in his native country, he managed to finish high school and he was fluent in two languages.

Immigrant's integration problems Italy

This girl had 16 years. He was very intelligent but his family history made her very insecure up to the point of becoming aggressive. Her father was in their country of origin and she lived with mother and her new partner.

Parents' post-divorce support Italy

Male, 16 years old. He has been pointed out by the public social assistance service putting his name in a list of young candidate for this service.

*** Peer training support Italy Mentoring
Youth and international mobility Italy

Youngsters aged between 15 and 30 years old have been focused by this experience which aims at overcoming the challenge of the lack of perspectives faced by youngsters. Youngsters participating in this initiative are mainly either students or unemployed.

Young prisoners Italy

Eight young offenders of the Juvenile Penal Institute took an active part in the European project “APL ‐ Accreditation of Prior Learning for youngsters in (juvenile) prison”.

Autistic girl - positive responses Italy

I am working since 2 years with a 15-yrs old girl from a Florentine family, who has a severe mental retardation deriving from autism and epilepsy. She suffers from mental crisis which make her angry (often in uncontrollable ways) and self-destructive.

*** International mobility and students with special needs (case study) Italy

We started to receive group of disadvantaged students in mobility few years ago. The challenge was to put them in the same situation of the usual students and to demonstrate that they can succeed in the mobility abroad experience.

Work placement
International mobility for disadvantaged young people Italy

There was a young man, 20 years old, from a small city in Sweden, in this group that was particular insecure and without self-esteem. He had never been able to complete high school and he was looked upon as a “failure” in his home community.

*** Tension in relations Poland

A second class of junior high school students – all of them 15. We spent four lessons together. From the information given before the meeting I knew that there were a few outsiders in the class who generated divisions and generated tension in relations.

*** Absenteeism & school career Poland

A 16-year old boy who didn’t pass three times in his school career. He started coming to our school to a class with vocational training. He is too old to continue education in regular middle school. The main problem is his absences.

Giving support and reinforcement Poland

A 14 year old boy with unsettled feeling of safety, because of his experiences. He was separated from his father and his mother abandoned him. The boy’s grandmother adopted him. He experienced a lot of defeats like poor education, health problems, disorders in behaviour and emotions.

No parents' help Poland

A 16-year old Polish boy is for the third time in the same class. He is debauched, smokes and drinks alcohol. He can’t remember the material from the lesson. I shortened information given but still he doesn’t remember. He is brought up only by mother. He has very poor results.

Acceptance Poland

A 17-year-old Polish student in vocational class has problems with class acceptance. Because of that he plays truant a lot. When he comes to the lesson ha can’t concentrate because he keeps thinking about classmates, their opinions about him.

*** School environment Poland

A 17-year old Gipsy student who  lives in the environment where tradition is important. This year he has chosen his Gipsy wife and they have already had a baby son. From his parents’ point of view education isn’t important comparing to traditional knowledge passed through generations.

*** Low self-assessment and disorders in communication Poland

A 15-year old Polish. He didn’t pass to the next class while he attended primary school. He also didn’t pass to the second class of junior high school. His parents are quite elderly. His mother is seriously ill, currently unemployed. Father works is a blue collar worker.

Handicaped Hand Spain

18 year old young boy from Spain who appeared to come from a low family background and had a problem in one of his wrists. For this reason he couldn´t write very well. This fact made him feel not very self-confident. He had no work experience.

Guidance, Action Learning

A 40-years old man from Madrid joined our computing lessons this year. He has tried for several years to succeed in creating his own company.

Guidance, Coaching
Autistic Student Attending Regular Lessons Spain

An Irish 18-years old autistic guy came this year from the regular educational system. Their parent decided, advised by expert psychologists, to enroll him in a technical school.

Guidance, Action Learning

The student is a Spanish female of a gipsy community. This community thinks that women don´t need to study because their goal in life should be to be a perfect housewife. In order to do this, they should help in their house as much as possible, this will be the way they will learn it.

Guidance, Mentoring
*** Internship in a shop Spain

The internship the students are doing in my shop is the first experience they have with the labor environment. When they arrive they normally come full of doubts and fears, as it is a new situation for them.

Work placement, Learning by doing
Student with social and communication issues (Case study 1) United Kingdom

A quiet and insular teenager with few friends and who finds the school environment difficult.

Work placement, Guidance, CSR - Corporate Social Responsibility, Learning by doing, Mentoring, Coaching
Reading tutor fighting dyslexia Denmark

The case student is 20 years old and has tried to get an education for a long time. He has met great obstacles, because he is dyslexic. His handwriting is both illegible and very slow. He has previously used IT equipment with reading facilities and word suggestions, but without success.

The Psychiatric Foundation - Focussing on mental health of VET students Denmark

Specific examples are provided in CEFU’s evaluation of the project. Good descriptions can be found here. The informants are young people who have been through concept. For a specific case, please refer to the Intervention box below.

*** High:five - Guiding (potential or former) criminal offenders Denmark

The person, a young man of 26 years, is skilled and has for several years been doing very well by himself. When he – four years before I meet him – is being sent on sick leave due to untreated injuries, he lives a fairly well-functioning life.

Mentors at DANFOSS company Denmark

The young man in this case was on the brink of involving himself in crime. He had had a childhood marked by alcohol abuse, violence and general neglect of care.

CSR - Corporate Social Responsibility, Mentoring
Coaching as part of job advice Denmark

The person arrived in Denmark 12 years ago, that is in 1999 from Somalia. He started in a “reception class” and then proceeded to the ordinary classes. His mother still lives in Somalia. As the only one of his siblings he lived together with his father I Denmark.

Guidance, Coaching
*** CSR at GRUNDFOS Denmark


CSR - Corporate Social Responsibility
*** Waterhole pedagogy at Green Academy Denmark

The case is focusing on a young guy with a diagnosed developmental disorder. He is a well-behaved and good guy – but he meets great difficulties when it comes to the academic part of the program. He is affected by dyscalculia and is very dyslexic.

Action Learning
Work gangs as mentors Denmark

It is part of our concept that we do not scrutinize the youth's past, and when I know anything special about this particular young man, it is only because we chose him as a “success story” for our project evaluation.

*** The Warranty School - focus on retention Denmark

CAREER COURSE – formulated in cooperation with the pupil, in this context referred to as Søren.

Mentoring bi-lingual women Denmark

For certain ethnic groups – especially ethnic groups of Muslim background from the Middle East – language and cultural barriers can be quite challenging and distinctive, and in particularly young boys with a Muslim cultural background are hard to get to work in the Danish school syste

*** Addressing learning needs in the forest industry Finland

The student has a developmental delay which manifests itself mostly in general subject of vocational studies. His educational background is 9 years’ comprehensive school. No previous job experience.

Work placement
Autistic with singular mathematical and spatial skills Denmark

An Irish 18-years old autistic guy came this year from the regular educational system. Their parent decided, advised by expert psychologists, to enroll him in a technical school.

Absenteism and misbehavior Denmark

It is part of our concept that we do not scrutinize the youth's past, and when I know anything special about this particular young man, it is only because we chose him as a “success story” for our project evaluation.

Interesting Stories