Remote Special Educational Consultation in Swedish Rural Schools

Experiences of Special Educators and Class Teachers


  • Kristina Ström Åbo Akademi University, Nord University
  • Gerd Pettersson Umeå University
  • Kim Wickman Umeå University



remote educational consultation, special education, rural school, special educator


With advances in communication technologies, remote special educational consultation has become a promising strategy for indirect special education provision aiming to support students with special educational needs as well as their teachers in remote and rural areas. This study explores how special educators in a rural municipality in Sweden offer remote special educational consultation to teachers and how the two teacher categories experience remote special educational consultation. The empirical data of the study consist of special educators’ and teachers’ responses to an online questionnaire (N=11). The analysis revealed themes reflecting experienced challenges as well as opportunities. The challenges relate to lack of professional commitment and consensus, lack of school leaders’ trust, knowledge and support, and barriers associated with distance and technology, while opportunities relate to increased access to special educational competence, increased structure in consultation and increased professional development and collaboration. The results of this study highlight the potential value of remote special educational consultation as an acceptable, cost-effective, and efficient way of increasing access to special educational expertise and providing special educational support to teachers working in rural and underserved schools.

Author Biographies

Gerd Pettersson, Umeå University

Gerd Pettersson, PhD, works as senior lecturer in special education at Department of Education, Umeå University, Sweden. Her research interest concern rural education, distance education, guidance and counselling.

Kim Wickman, Umeå University

Kim Wickman, PhD, works as associate professor at the Umeå University, Sweden. Her research interests concern the broad field of equality and social inclusion.




How to Cite

Ström, K., Pettersson, G., & Wickman, K. (2024). Remote Special Educational Consultation in Swedish Rural Schools: Experiences of Special Educators and Class Teachers. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 34(1), 108–121.