Alistair is a Year 9 student who is profoundly deaf and attends a specialist Deaf Centre at a mainstream secondary college. Alistair uses Auslan based signs with prompting. He does not understand facial expression, body language or other social cues, nor can he lip read. He appears stressed when over stimulated and prefers not to watch and/or mix with others. Alistair initially required 1:1 support 100 per cent of the time, but this has reduced slightly to 90–95 per cent and he responds positively with that amount of support. He finds it difficult to work independently at any time. His intellectual functioning indicates good non-verbal skills, which allow the school to build on this skill to give Alistair challenges at school. His literacy and numeracy skills are at a very low primary school level. However, with support, his photography skills are excellent.
The following adjustments are provided to Alistair:
- Alistair requires a signing interpreter at all times. He also requires a mentor (teacher of the deaf) to clarify the signing interpreter’s message. Alistair requires support with the vocabulary of his mainstream classes. He is learning new words at the same time as new concepts, which hearing students do not need to do.
- Access is provided to support services of school-based teachers of the deaf, system psychologists and audiologists.
- Regular meetings are held with these teachers, mainstream teachers and Alistair’s family to ensure he is motivated and 'comfortable' (NB 'comfort' for a deaf student means that they are not stressed by the environment and can therefore maintain eye contact). Communication between his teacher of the deaf and family occurs daily or weekly as deemed necessary.
- System specialist officers provide monthly support with Alistair’s mental health as he learns how to deal with each new context he faces and to deal with his sensory and socialisation issues.
- Alistair receives a report from the Deaf Centre and his mainstream options classes, and these reports are translated into sign language on disc so he can understand his own progress.
- Alistair requires tuition in a small class of six students but must be accompanied by his educational interpreter and deaf mentor. He will work quietly on task if he has the appropriate support.
Alistair has access to a small withdrawal room if he requires a break and time away from other people. This is particularly useful if he cannot make it through the whole of the mainstream classes. The Deaf Centre rooms do not have the visual or auditory distractions found in the mainstream classes.