Leo is 12 years old and in Year 7 at a metropolitan special school. He has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with intellectual disability. Leo can communicate his basic needs verbally but relies heavily on his low-tech visual augmentative and alternative communication system (symbols with explanatory text).
Leo is part of a small class of four boys with a diagnosis of ASD. They have one teacher and two education assistants. The classroom operates within a highly structured autism-specific program that uses routines and in which all tasks are broken down into small steps. Leo accesses adult support at times, including daily monitoring of scheduled toilet breaks and frequent prompting for swallowing and eating as directed by the speech therapist.
Curriculum goals and adapted assessment procedures are the basis for Leo's personalised learning plan. This plan is written in collaboration with Leo, his parents and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) therapists. To monitor it, regular meetings between the school, Leo and his parents are held.
At times Leo can become anxious, resulting in his demonstrating some aggressive behaviour during transitions from his classroom, so one-to-one support is provided at times of transition. He is supported to ensure that there are no unpredictable changes of activities.
Leo has a behaviour support plan developed by the school psychologist in collaboration with Leo, his teacher and parents. It supports his participation in, and development of, self-regulation. Strategies include scheduled hydrotherapy, gym, sensory breaks, use of a low-light background on his computer and a meditation app to encourage the practice of self-regulation through slow, deep breathing.