An International Comparison of the Care and Education of Children with Special Needs in the United States of America and Switzerland

Presenter: Taylor Chasey

Research Category: Physical and LIfe Sciences
Student Type: Undergraduate
PI: Ann Golub-Victor

Background: The United Nations considers protection and advocacy for children a global responsibility. Intervening early has proven to be a critical aspect of care for children born with or at risk for disabilities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), to prevent complications and promote functionality. After early childhood, many families turn to the education system for continued specialized services, however, there may be gaps in available services. Successful integration of children with disabilities requires the cooperation of the health care system, education system, and community.

Purpose: To compare and contrast the early childhood, health care, and education services available for children with disabilities in the United States of America (USA) and Switzerland in order to identify areas for policy change.

Methods: Literature review using Internet database search engines, supplemented by expert interviews, print journals, and government references. Key words included ASD, health care, early interviews, print journals, and education in the USA and Switzerland.

Results: A search of four online databases yielded 26 relevant articles and documents.

Discussion: Preliminary analysis suggests more established, individualized services in Switzerland versus the USA.

Conclusion: More comprehensive, individualized programs need to be created in the USA to better serve children from prenatal care through early school years in the health care, early intervention, and education systems.