Volume 23, Issue 4 p. 300-312

The professional role and exercise of the role of educational assistance professionals in schools with School Integration Programs in Chile

Katherine Andrea Dinamarca-Aravena

Corresponding Author

Katherine Andrea Dinamarca-Aravena

Centro de Investigación en Sociedad y Salud, Universidad Mayor, Santiago, Chile

Millennium Nucleus on Sociomedicine, Centro de Investigación en Sociedad y Salud, Universidad Mayor, Santiago, Chile


Katherine Andrea Dinamarca-Aravena, Centro de Investigación en Sociedad y Salud, Universidad Mayor, Santiago, 7560908, Chile.

Email: [email protected]

Search for more papers by this author
First published: 19 May 2023


The incorporation of health professionals into inclusive schools is increasingly necessary. However, the work of these professionals has not yet been studied globally. This qualitative research analyses the perceptions of speech therapists, psychologists, physical therapists and occupational therapists on the role that educational policy defines for working in schools with School Integration Programmes in Chile. Through chain sampling, 52 professionals were interviewed. The data were analysed inductively through thematic analysis. The results show that the role defined by policies for professionals is not in line with the needs of schools and the aspirations of the inclusive approach. The exercise of the role emerges as a distinct entity from the defined role that seems to be more responsive to the needs of schools and students. Interviewees described tensions related to the role in schools, professional training, working conditions and contextual features that would permeate the role that the policy mandates them to play. The findings of the study promote new research horizons related to the role of professional assistants, where research is still incipient worldwide, and invite reflection on the importance of designing education policies with a bottom-up approach to capture the needs presented by learners and professional teams.


The author declares that the study has no financial or commercial conflicts of interest. No company could be affected by the study presented in the attached document.


Data supporting the findings of this study are available upon request from the author. The data is not publicly available because it contains information that could compromise the privacy of research participants.