Autism and education-The role of Europeanisation in South-Eastern Europe: Policy mapping in Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia

R. van Kessel*, A. Massrali, P.V.G. Imbusch, A. Dragu, C. Brayne, S. Baron-Cohen, K. Czabanowska, A. Roman-Urrestarazu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


South-Eastern Europe only recently was required to adapt their domestic law to adhere to European Union legislations and standards. As such, it forms an excellent case study on how and to what extent the 'Europeanisation' process is interacting with the development of special education needs (SEN) policy, particularly focusing on autistic children. This scoping review mapped autism and special education policies of Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia and investigated how Europeanisation interacted with autism and educational policy through a path dependence analysis. Our research shows that education for children with special needs started with segregation during communist time. EU accession since then has influenced disability policies and contributed to establishing inclusive education for all students. One particular Romanian policy resulted in children with special needs not having to compete with typical children for school submission. Ultimately, the majority of policies addressed special education needs in general. Only Romania adopted specific autism policy. Inclusive education is being developed in all countries.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalChildren & Society
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Sept 2022


  • autism
  • education
  • Europeanisation
  • inclusion
  • special education needs
  • EU

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