CASE STUDY Andrew, Substantial, Social/emotional

Year level
Secondary
Educational setting
Mainstream school

Level of adjustment
Substantial
Category of disability
Social/emotional
Included in data collection
Yes

Andrew's story

Andrew is a Year 11 student at a large rural senior high school. Andrew was diagnosed with major depression, generalised anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder 12 months ago. Andrew meets with his psychiatrist every six months to review his medication, which he administers himself. He accesses a clinical psychologist weekly to receive cognitive behaviour therapy. Andrew’s teachers are aware that he has been diagnosed with a severe mental health disorder and are very supportive of his attendance at school. Andrew has granted permission for the school psychologist to liaise with his doctor and clinical psychologist to consult on school-based adjustments and teacher understanding.

Andrew is currently working on a reduced curriculum focusing on core subjects with alternate assessments. Due to his high levels of anxiety, he has not attended school consistently for the past 12 months. Andrew has developed strong functional relationships with his Year Coordinator and the Learning Support Coordinator in the school, and is able to attend half days with regular 'touch base' times with either of these mentors.

Andrew’s sessions with his clinical psychologist have focused on identifying unhelpful thoughts and replacing them with positive, adaptive ones. Andrew monitors his thinking while at school and attempts to replace thoughts and emotions that interfere with his engagement in schooling. When he feels his thoughts are becoming compulsive, he seeks out 'safe' people and areas of the school such as the school psychologist’s office, before leaving the school site. Andrew understands that if teachers notice he appears distressed or demonstrates anxiety based behaviours, they can approach him and ask if he would like to take a break.

Andrew’s parents, year leader, clinical psychologist and the School Psychologist communicate fortnightly regarding adjustments to Andrews’s curriculum and self-management program in school. The current program has seen him increase his attendance from two half days to five half days over a 10-week period. The next term is considered by his support team to be a stabilisation period. He is not expected to increase this attendance over the next 10-week period.

Information that supports inclusion in the NCCD What's this?

  • Step 1. Is there an adjustment to address disability? Yes

    • As defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Andrew has a disorder, illness or disease that affects the person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgement, or that results in disturbed behaviour.
  • Do you have evidence? Yes

    • Medical reports from health professionals
    • Notes from meetings with school psychologist, Year leader, clinical psychologist and Andrew’s parents
    • Adjusted timetable
  • Step 2. What is the level of adjustment? Substantial

    • Andrew has a reduced curriculum load.
    • Andrew has adapted assessment procedures.
    • Andrew requires regular direct support (eg from Year Coordinator and Learning Support Coordinator) to enable him to participate in school activities.
  • Step 3. What is the category of disability? Social/emotional

    • Andrew has a social/emotional disability in the form of major depression, generalised anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.
  • Step 4. Record and submit the data Yes (Student is included)

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