9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS01 Sociology and Disability

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 Spaces of Education/Exclusion Building II, C3.01

The importance of cooperation for the total benefit of children with special needs in kindergarten

In this paper we discuss some major findings generated in the explorative and action-oriented research project entitled: ?Cooperation for the total benefit of the child?* . Our focus of interest in the project is children with special needs attending Norwegian kindergartens. In order to ensure the well-being of these children there is a need for substantial cooperation and coordination among the children?s families, their kindergartens, and bodies within different sectors of the welfare system (e.g., educational and medical services). The children in our sample all have so-called ?individual plans? (IP) in which goals, roles and activities at the center of this cooperation are documented. The aim of this project is to address how the relations within the cooperative team are constructed and carried out when there is an IP from the perspectives of the different agents who comprise these teams. In addition, the knowledge generated from the project is intended to improve cooperation within the participating teams as well as provide the groundwork for developing models of ?best practice?.

In the discussion we will draw on theories of coordination and cooperation (Zahl 2003, Knudsen 1993, Lauvås og Lauvås 2004). According to these theories cooperation and coordination are mutually dependent. Whereas coordination is formalized, time limited and rooted in ?top?, cooperation is less formalized, occurs more often on an ad-hoc basis, and is rooted in ?bottom?. The discussion will concentrate on the following questions: What differences exist in how cooperation is coordinated with respect to roles and responsibility, procedures and work methods? How do the different agents experience their cooperation? And finally: How important is coordination for cooperation, and vice versa?

Knudsen, Harald (1993): ?Samarbeid på tvers av organisasjonens grenser? i Repstad, P (red.): Dugnadsånd og Forsvarsverker. Tverretatlig samarbeid i teori og praksis, Oslo: TANO

Lauvås K. og Lauvås P. (2004): Tverrfaglig samarbeid. Perspektiv og strategi, Oslo: Universitetsforlaget

Zahl, M-A (red.) (2003): Sosialt arbeid. Refleksjon og handling, Bergen: Fagbokforlaget

*In Norwegian: ?Samarbeid til barnets helhetlige utbytte?. The project is financed by the Norwegian Research Council.