Melanie is a 17-year-old girl who has been at a special school (a ‘flexi’ or flexible learning centre) completing a flexible learning program for the past three years and is now enrolled at the senior campus.
Melanie was first diagnosed with a severe eating disorder (in the form of bulimia nervosa) when she was 13 years old. Her psychiatrist also identified an emotionally unstable personality disorder and depression. Melanie was first discovered self-harming and she then attempted suicide at the age of 13. Melanie meets regularly with a private psychiatrist and mental health support team outside of school hours.
Melanie is very aware of her eating disorder but has significant challenges and cycles into episodes that result in her purging. For this reason, the school counsellor is in regular contact with Melanie’s mental health team and is readily available to speak with her about her needs, with Melanie accessing support at least twice per week. Her counsellor has had mental health training and all school staff are aware of the outcomes of the risk assessment and have been trained in crisis intervention.
Melanie was diagnosed with dyslexia in primary school. She has an adjusted curriculum program and intervention to assist her to comprehend and write. She will complete a modified education certificate.
Melanie attends school when she is well enough. This year, she was hospitalised and received specialist mental health treatment off and on for a total of three months. While Melanie reports that she is happy to attend class, she is often too unwell to participate. The school provides her with a tailored online literacy and numeracy program when not attending school. Her subject teachers also email her work to be completed at home and in the hospital when she is not at school. At times, teachers reduce the required output if Melanie isn’t well enough to keep up with the pace of the course. On average this has occurred in all her subjects approximately 50 per cent of the time in the 12 months preceding NCCD submission.
Melanie uses text-to-speech and speech-to-text software to support her reading and writing. All worksheets and assignments are simplified to reduce the amount of text Melanie has to read so that task requirements are clear and succinct, with worked examples and scaffolds used in all subjects.
Melanie's English and maths subjects take place in a class of six students, with a teacher and teacher assistant. A learning support teacher visits regularly, attending at least half of all lessons, to support specialist instruction in these classes. Melanie's work can be disorganised, so she requires regular clarification of what she has to do.
The school conducts parent–teacher conferences twice per term to discuss Melanie’s progress and the support required at school.