Isaac is an 8-year-old boy in Year 3 with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He attends a metropolitan primary school. Isaac’s teachers report that his sensory needs have the greatest impact on his ability to access and participate in his education. Isaac's strengths lie in the Mathematics and IT areas.
Isaac is an NDIS participant and accesses an occupational therapist (OT), support teacher and social worker. The OT support is delivered both at home and for two hours per week at school, following Principal approval for the use of school space as part of a formal application process. The OT provides regular feedback to Isaac’s teacher and the learning support teacher regarding strategies that the school can adopt to support his learning. The teacher and social worker liaise closely with Isaac's family to monitor how things are at home to support his participation and school attendance.
Isaac has a behaviour support plan and safety plan in place. The behaviour support plan sets targets for positive behaviour and these are regularly monitored and reviewed. The plans stipulate that he is required to be closely monitored at most times, to mitigate risks to himself and others. The school has assigned Isaac a teacher assistant who is directed by his teacher to support him to regulate his behaviour using positive behaviour support approaches and encouraging Isaac to develop his self-regulation when behaviours of concern escalate.
To keep him calm, Isaac has a schedule of modified academic activities separated by breaks. He has his own personalised desk in the Year 3 classroom, which is situated near the door so that he can leave the classroom with the teacher assistant when he becomes disruptive. The desk is decorated with items he has made, things he is interested in and pictures of himself in happy situations. Isaac's daily visual schedule is further supported by a drawer system, which he works on throughout the day. He likes the consistency of a regular routine and can complete the majority of his 'jobs' independently. If he needs help he will ask an adult. When Isaac works independently the teacher assistant provides support to other students at point of need as directed by the teacher. Isaac’s afternoon schedule is broken up to allow him to have five-minute sensory breaks at least once every hour depending on his level of engagement. The school liaises with the OT and visiting behavioural specialist regarding suitable strategies to implement during these breaks.
Isaac participates in outside activities including an individualised physical education program with two other students, facilitated by the learning support teacher. His sensory program, which is developed by a visiting behavioural learning consultant and facilitated by the learning support teacher, includes weekly activities in a therapy room and a music room.