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CASE STUDY Bobby, Extensive, Cognitive

Year level
Educational setting
Mainstream school

Level of adjustment
Category of disability
Included in data collection

Bobby's story

Bobby is a 5-year-old boy in Foundation year, in a large regional city school. Bobby was diagnosed with Down syndrome soon after birth. This year Bobby has had a specialist assessment, which confirms intellectual disability. Bobby was non-verbal when he enrolled in preschool, and had functional needs within the areas of communication, curriculum, learning environment, health, personal care and safety.

Having had two bowel operations, Bobby has severe constipation. He has short stature and requires full support to toilet, although he is currently being toilet-trained. He requires hand-on-hand support when crossing the road to attend the other school campus, as he has mild vision impairment. He also wears orthotics (foot splints).

Bobby has been transitioning for two years from an early child development (early intervention) centre to a mainstream class (full time) of 25 students. He is supported by two special needs education assistants (equal to full-time support). There is a full-time education assistant in the classroom at all times. To build their skills, the education assistants have received training this year by the Down Syndrome Association and have attended a state Diverse Learners conference.

On arrival at school, Bobby did not respond to his name and was predominantly non-verbal. Six months later, he is now able to use two-word phrases. Bobby can understand a social instruction and a one-step instruction in class.

Bobby can stay on task for a few minutes only. He generally has a good visual memory but a short attention span. In addition, he fatigues easily. However, with one-to-one assistance he is able to work on a task for up to ten minutes.

Bobby has a personalised learning plan developed in collaboration with a local early learning centre, and his teacher regularly reviews his goals with educators from the centre. His plan is currently based on general capabilities curriculum goals. This entails highly individualised instruction. Bobby has speech therapy daily from a school-based speech pathologist to develop his comprehension and his expressive language.

His parents are supportive and, as well as collaborating with teachers, attend excursions as extra support for the staff.

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

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

    • Yes, adjustments are provided to enable a student with disability to access education on the same basis as other students.

    • As defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Bobby has a disorder or malfunction that results in him learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction.

  • Do you have evidence? Yes

    • Diagnostic assessments and medical reports
    • Personalised learning plan
    • Regularly reviewed/updated risk assessment reports
    • Health and eating care plan
    • All phone calls/emails/records stored on the school intranet
    • Notes from a formal consultation meeting each term
    • Notes from twice-per-term meetings between Bobby's mother and head teacher
    • Records of a weekly consultation between school speech therapist and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) therapist that aims to ensure good understanding of curriculum skill development
    • Daily adjustments recorded in a communication book by all teachers and education assistants
  • Step 2. What is the level of adjustment? Extensive

    • An environmental risk assessment is reviewed/updated every two weeks
    • Painted red lines and 'stop' visuals are used in playground areas
    • An adjustable chair, a support cushion, stool and railing in the toilet were purchased this year
    • The classroom teacher is supported by two education assistants in the classroom, as Bobby requires full-time support including for personal care support and one-to-one toileting and support during eating
    • One-to-one explicit instruction occurs for 2.5 hours per day, delivered by a specialist teacher or education assistant
    • Visuals are developed to assist Bobby's understanding of teacher instructions and his communication with peers
    • The school has purchased a software program to enhance the use of visuals
    • A lanyard with visuals is used to assist Bobby to cross a road to visit a garden with his peers and to transition to classrooms and activities within the school grounds
    • Bobby has a visual timetable and support chart
    • Intensive individualised instruction
    • Highly individualised learning plan
    • Support from specialist school supports, including a speech therapist
    • Extensive consultation with visiting therapists
    • Use of highly specialised augmentative/alternative communication
  • Step 3. What is the category of disability? Cognitive

    Bobby has a cognitive disability due to a diagnosis of an intellectual disability.

  • Step 4. Record and submit the data Yes (Student is included)

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