More than 80 years ago (in 1924), the first curative educational community based on anthroposophy founded by Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was established in Germany. Here children, described as 'impeded in their development', both mentally and emotionally, found a place to live and to learn. This was the beginning of a worldwide movement: since then many curative educational communities (for children) and social therapy communities (for adults) have been established, of which there are about 350 in Europe. Worldwide, curative education and social therapy exist in almost 50 countries.
The aim of curative education and social therapy is to give children, young people and adults with special needs the opportunity for individual development, helping them to live with dignity and self-determination, to promote their integration into the community and society, and to ensure their contribution to society is visible.
How we relate to people with special needs depends on the basic convictions and perspectives on which our attitudes and actions are based. Disability has a specific social context which may help or hinder. Social integration is therefore one of the basic functions of curative education and social therapy.
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