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CASE STUDY Leo, Substantial, Social/emotional

Year level
Educational setting
Special school

Level of adjustment
Category of disability
Included in data collection

Leo's story

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.

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, Leo has a disorder that affects his thought processes, emotions and judgement.
  • Do you have evidence? Yes

    • Medical diagnostic reports
    • Psychologist and therapist reports
    • Personalised learning plans, written with school, Leo, parents, NDIS therapist and speech therapist
    • A behaviour support plan
    • Records of frequent communication between school and parents
  • Step 2. What is the level of adjustment? Substantial

    • Functional needs are supported through a highly structured autism-specific program, including inclusion in a small class of four students with a diagnosis of ASD, with one teacher and two education assistants
    • All tasks analysed into small steps and completed with visuals and social stories
    • One-to-one support for all transitions throughout the school day
    • Use of a low-tech visual augmentative and alternative communication system
    • Daily monitoring of scheduled toilet breaks
    • Support in development of self-care skills, including frequent prompting for swallowing and eating
    • Adult support during independent toileting and feeding
    • The design and implementation of a behaviour support plan
    • Additional adjustments are provided for Leo in all aspects of the school day, at most times
  • Step 3. What is the category of disability? Social/emotional

    Leo has a social/emotional disability due to his significant needs in developing emotional self-regulation.

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

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