Special Needs Education in Portugal

The provisions for children with special needs in Portugal: details on education, assessment of special needs, benefits and finding support groups...

The law prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, or the provision of other state services.

Disabled and Special Needs Pupils

Disabled children have priority in attendance at state kindergartens. Primary and secondary schools that integrate disabled children (a maximum of two per class) must not have more than twenty pupils in their class.

If a regular state school is not sufficient to meet the needs of a pupil with disabilities, a special school may be recommended.

Benefits and State Support

The Ministry of Welfare and Social Services in Portugal (Direcção-Geral da Segurança Social, da Família e da Criança) can offer the following types of support to families with disabled children:

  • Specialised support programmes to promote development and integration
  • Early support - help from government agencies in education, health and social security for children up to six years old
  • Socio-educational centres, which operate as semi-boarding schools with the aim of giving socio-educational assessment and support
  • Support homes for children and young people with special educational needs, from the ages of six to sixteen
  • Residential care for over 16s who need temporary or permanent accommodation
  • Holiday camps, catering for children and young people with disabilities during school and work holidays
  • Financial support for acquiring technical aids to help disabled youngsters to participate more fully in academic, professional and social life
  • For information from Social Security (Segurança Social): Click here

In addition, parents or guardians may be entitled to the following (for children up to the age of 24):

  • Family allowance (Subsídio Abono Familiar a Crianças e Jovens). Under new austerity reforms this is now only available to families who hold less than €100,000 in property wealth
  • Disability Bonus on top of the Family Allowance (Bonificação, por deficiência, do Subsídio Familiar a Crianças e Jovens). F
  • Special schooling subsidy (Subsídio por Frequência de Estabelecimento de Educação Especial)
  • Complementary payment for assistance by a third person (Subsídio por Assistência de Terceira Pessoa)

Once they reach the age of 24, young disabled adults who are unable to work are entitled to the Monthly Lifelong Subsidy (Subsídio Mensal Vitalício).