Research and Development for Theory and Practice

We are one of the few Universities of Applied Sciences in Switzerland that places the focus of its research on the issues of special needs education. This means that we work on research assignments on all questions relating to special needs education and try to close any gaps by means of our own studies. A better understanding of the different areas of life – such as learning, working, daily living, recreation – is aimed at safeguarding and improving the quality of life of people with special needs. By means of specific research work, we develop and ensure a high level of professionalisation.

The emphasis of the research and development activities of the HfH falls on five areas:

A. Infants, children and adolescents with special educational needs

This subject tackles questions of prevention (including the implementation of curative and interdisciplinary early childhood intervention) and curative education measures. Evaluation of the various segregated and integrated curative education provisions with regard to their efficacy is also an important focus.

B. Adolescents and young adults with school to working life transition difficulties

Transition from school to working life is often difficult for adolescents and young adults with disabilities or school-based problems. The HfH investigates the careers of those affected, develops and evaluates support provisions in schools, workshops and businesses, and explores the functioning of the vocational training and employment systems.

C. Adults and elderly people with disabilities

This specialised subject explores the daily realities and development possibilities in the lives of adults and elderly people with disabilities. Gerontological and disability-specific knowledge is adapted to application-orientated practical curative education. This provides a basis for the development of innovative practical models and the further development of curative education in this area.

D. Systems and institutional issues in special needs education

Special needs education practice is multifaceted. There are complex and conflicting normative, instrumental, and structural demands. The design and steering of special needs education activity must be based on solid knowledge from the specialist field of special needs education. The HfH therefore studies the objectives, intentions, and bases for planning of special needs education institutions and organizations. It contributes towards continuously improving and enlarging the needed knowledge base.

E. Professionalism in the curative and special needs education sectors

Because of social developments and changes, professionals in the curative and special needs education sectors require an increasing amount of specialist knowledge and practical skill. This subject focuses on the development of professionalism in training and further training, as well as the effects and efficacy of professional activity.


HfH Research
Tel: +41 44 317 11 81
wfd[at] wfd

Links in German


    ZEPPELIN Zürcher Equity Präventionsprojekt Elternbeteiligung und Integration


    ZLSE Zürcher Längsschnittstudie „Von der Schulzeit bis ins mittlere Erwachsenenalter"