Research Article
Special Needs Assistants: The Special Charcteristics and Strenght of the School System of Finland

Kati-Tuulia Maensivu , Satu Uusiautti, Kaarina Maatta

APA 6th edition
Maensivu, K., Uusiautti, S., & Maatta, K. (2012). Special Needs Assistants: The Special Charcteristics and Strenght of the School System of Finland. European Journal of Educational Research, 1(1), 23-36. doi:10.12973/eu-jer.1.1.23

Maensivu K., Uusiautti S., and Maatta K. 2012 'Special Needs Assistants: The Special Charcteristics and Strenght of the School System of Finland', European Journal of Educational Research , vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 23-36. Available from:

Chicago 16th edition
Maensivu, Kati-Tuulia , Uusiautti, Satu and Maatta, Kaarina . "Special Needs Assistants: The Special Charcteristics and Strenght of the School System of Finland". (2012)European Journal of Educational Research 1, no. 1(2012): 23-36. doi:10.12973/eu-jer.1.1.23


The contribution of special needs assistants (SNA) is becoming increasingly important in inclusive and special classrooms. However, the profession itself has remained unexplored. The purpose of this article is to describe special needs assistants’ perceptions on their education, professional competence, the content and significance of their work within the school system of Finland, and the further development of their role and content of their work. 171 special needs assistants from the province of Lapland participated in the research. This research was a mixed methods research where the data was collected in 2010 through a semi-structured questionnaire that consisted both quantitative and qualitative elements and was, therefore, analyzed both by using qualitative and quantitative analyzing methods. The results highlighted the diversity, challenges and development needs of special needs assistants’ work. Special needs assistants are strength and can work as a support for teachers, students, and parents.

Keywords: Special needs assistants in educational institutions, the school system of Finland, Finnish lapland, mixed methods research


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