Anna is in Year 2 and attends a support unit in a mainstream primary school. The class consists of eight students ranging in age from 5 to 12 years old. Two specialist learning support teachers oversee the individual learning programs for all of the students. Anna has one-to-one support from a learning support officer (LSO) or teacher during all floor activities and deskwork tasks throughout the day. This intensive individual instruction is required for Anna to access learning.
Prior to Anna commencing school, a paediatrician diagnosed her with an intellectual disability and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, for which she takes medication. Anna receives National Disability Insurance Scheme funding and has access to an external psychologist, psychiatrist, speech pathologist and occupational therapist. These specialist staff, with parental consent, meet with the school regularly to assist in developing appropriate adjustments and support for Anna in her educational setting. These adjustments are recorded in an individual learning plan. Adjustments include a highly individualised curriculum in a supported unit in the school; the use of social stories; visual schedules and visual materials where possible; reward charts and choice boards; the use of assistive technology; and the creation of a ‘break out’ space next to the classroom that is decorated with some of Anna’s favourite items (including Beanie Boo soft toys, unicorns and fidget toys). Anna also has access to sensory aids, such as a mini trampoline, rocking stool and weighted blanket, and a sensory bag that includes squishy toys, sensory gloves, a light-up glitter lamp and water beads.
Anna enjoys playing with her friends in the playground. She likes to play chasing games and enjoys dress-ups with clothes and hats. Anna likes to observe people. She is interested in what they are doing and how they are connected to each other. She is quite social and tries to communicate with others through touch, although she can at times be overly friendly with her touch, hugging other students tightly, and needs reminding to be gentle and not touch people she doesn’t know. Anna requires active supervision in the schoolyard by a staff member to prompt her to maintain appropriate physical distancing. Anna is non-verbal and uses augmentative and alternative communication supports, including Key Word Sign throughout the day. Intensive intervention is required to facilitate appropriate social interactions.
Anna has an individualised learning plan that has been developed by the school team to support her access to curriculum, sensory needs, concentration and social interactions with peers and adults. The plan includes highly individualised instruction by a specialist teacher or individualised support from an LSO under teacher direction. She has highly individualised and modified learning programs for all subjects, assessments and school activities.
The school team meets with the teachers, Anna’s parents and specialists each term, or more frequently if required.