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.