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CASE STUDY Isaac, Social/emotional, Substantial

Year level
Educational setting
Mainstream school

Level of adjustment
Category of disability
Included in data collection

Isaac's story

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.


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, Isaac has a disorder, illness or disease that affects his thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgement, or that results in disturbed behaviour.

  • Do you have evidence? Yes

    • Personalised learning plan, reviewed at the beginning of each term in consultation with specialist teachers, therapists, school and family
    • Personalised timetable
    • Teacher assistant daily log providing feedback to teacher and learning support teacher
    • Healthcare plan including medication regime
    • Behaviour support plan and safety plan, which address deescalation and risk management
    • Individual program summaries completed by class teacher, learning support teacher and specialists
    • Notes from meetings with therapists, paediatrician and visiting behavioural learning consultant
    • Records and minutes from formal meetings with family and specialists
    • Program planning notes
    • Emails and phone records
    • Pictorial samples of achieved goals
  • Step 2. What is the level of adjustment? Substantial

    Isaac requires considerable adult support and adjustments occur at most times on most days including:

    • additional support or individualised instruction in a highly structured manner, including adjustments to courses, curriculum areas, activities and assessments
    • planned health, personal care and/or safety support or intervention, in addition to active monitoring and supervision
    • adjustments to enable access to learning including:
      • specialised equipment
      • specific planning for access to activities or facilities
      • monitored playground supervision
      • provision of specialist advice on a regular basis
      • support from specialist staff.


    • are considerable in extent
    • occur within highly structured situations.
  • Step 3. What is the category of disability? Social/emotional

    Isaac has a social/emotional disability due to his diagnosis of ASD, which is a disorder that affects his thought processes, emotions and judgement.

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

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