Aide, instructor, interpreter?

In principle, a child should be offered the chance to attend a school or kindergarten in his or her neighbourhood. Support for children with special needs should be offered primarily where the child is. Depending on what form of school or kindergarten the child attends, he or she may require an aide or an interpreter.


A personal aide may help only the disabled child. A group aidemay assist several children or the whole group.

If a child needs the help of an aide to attend to day care or school, one should be arranged. The need for an aide is evaluated by a doctor or a psychologist. The services of an aide are paid for by the municipality and the application is made by the kindergarten director or school principal. The availability of this service is based on the Disability Services Act (380/1987).

Sign language instructor

The training a sign language instructor undergoes emphasizes various communication methods and instruction. He or she can work at the school or kindergarten as an aide and at the same time as a part of a multidisciplinary team that makes sure the child’s linguistic and communicative skills develop.

At a kindergarten a sign language instructor can, for instance, plan and implement activities that support the child’s growth and development. He or she can also help the child learn daily routines like dressing and dining. The instructor can sign to the whole group and support the hearing impaired child in playing with the other children. The instructor’s job may also include directing, educating and caring for other children in the group.


An interpreter for a hearing impaired child may utilize writing, signed speech or sign language. In kindergarten an interpreter may be necessary for outings, parties and plays. An interpreter is sometimes needed in school (swimming, etc), too. An interpreter may also be used full-time.