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Collaboration within Schools of Parents and Specialists

Background and aims

Collaboration within Schools of Special Needs Teachers, Speech and Language Therapists, Psychomotor Therapists and Parents

Collaboration between parents and specialists in mainstream education, special needs education and special needs therapy contexts with regard to working with children and adolescents has developed into a widely discussed element of high-quality practice over the past two or three decades, but its fundamental necessity has never actually been questioned. Proof of its importance can be seen in the formulation of standards of professional teaching in mainstream education, e.g. in the "Standesregeln des Schweizer Lehrerverbandes" (LCH, 2008) and in special needs education, e.g. in the “Standards der sonderpädagogischen Förderung“ (Verband Sonderpädagogik, 2007). Current scientific discourse reveals the need to understand this parental collaboration as a continually changing task, the roots of which are embedded in social processes and theoretical developments (such as the increase in significance of inclusive schooling forms in the Swiss education system).
The aim of this research project is to evaluate collaboration between special needs teachers, speech and language therapists, psychomotor therapists and the parents of pupils with special educational needs in inclusive schooling forms. What similarities and differences occur when parental collaboration is put into practice and what synergies and resources are created remains vastly unexplored and should undergo closer examination.


  • How does collaboration between specialists (special needs teachers, speech and language therapists, psychomotor therapists etc.) and parents of children with special educational needs appear in practice in schools?
  • Does actual practice match the theoretical success conditions?
  • How is collaboration between specialists (special needs teachers, speech and language therapists, psychomotor therapists etc.) and parents of children with special educational needs evaluated in schools (do the results match the special needs education core provisions as laid out in article 4 of the Swiss Conference of Cantona Ministers of Education, 2007)?
  • Are there any links between the degree of fulfilment of the success conditions and the evaluation of the collaboration?
  • Are there similarities or differences between the professional groups?
  • Are there similarities or differences between the schools?
  • How is success defined / described with regard to collaboration of specialists with parents?


The study was carried out as a survey at schools in the cantons of Zurich and Aargau. The survey development is based on a literature analysis of the German and English specific publications on the success factors of the cooperation between experts and parents in schools. 381 experts and 31 parents participated in the survey. The analysis was performed with the statistical programme SPSS with closing and descriptive methods.


Pursuant to the view of the special education experts in the cantons of Zurich and Aargau, the cooperation with parents is good to excellent in the relevant fields of cooperation (basics, contents, design, attitudes). Some areas need minor optimization. In particular more time is requested for the cooperation as well as expanded expert competences. No significant differences between the professional categories are shown. A broad variance of the mean values though suggests high individual discrepancies.

Also the parents are mostly pleased with the cooperation practice and rate it as important to very important. Just like the experts they would like more cooperation time. As opposed to the experts, they see need for change as to the frequency of the meetings, concrete help through the experts with learning at home and also advice on general educational issues. They expect to receive more contact possibilities with parents in similar situations and a stronger involvement in school and therapy work.

The cooperation between parents and experts at schools in the cantons of Zurich and Aargau is rated good to excellent by all participants overall. The revealed requests for change and discrepant assessments by parents and experts are to provoke a more accurate evaluation of these areas in the individual schools.



Project Management

Prof. Dr.  Sodogé

Leiterin Institut Sprache und Kommunikation unter erschwerten Bedingungen


Forschung und Entwicklung
Tel: +41 44 317 11 81

zfe[at] zfe