Noa is a 12-year-old boy in Year 6 in a regional special school. He has been at the school since Foundation year. He has a diagnosis of Down syndrome as well as a hearing impairment. Noa has a cochlear implant and has been using this for 12 months which has enabled him to develop some speech and hear and recognise everyday environmental sounds. Noa has had speech and language intervention targeting his expressive language and speech. He continues to improve, although at times is difficult to understand. He has a short attention span and ongoing receptive language issues. Noa is currently operating at a Foundation level in most subjects.
Noa uses a communication app on his tablet device. This allows his teacher to focus on the pre-teaching of vocabulary before matching images and texts to support Noa's achievement of curriculum outcomes.
The school speech pathologist assists Noa’s teacher in the use of video modelling to task-analyse situations in order to improve problem-solving. Videos are filmed with a buddy using an app on Noa’s tablet device. Noa also accesses a speech pathologist through the NDIS. His speech therapist liaises with the school speech pathologist to ensure some consistency between home therapy and school therapy.
Noa’s family attends a meeting each term with his teacher and teacher assistant, along with the school speech pathologist and his private speech pathologist and physiotherapist. In these meetings the personalised learning plan is reviewed and goals are adjusted accordingly.
This year Noa has become more animated and attempts to communicate with his peers and socialise. He is seated in the classroom so that his cochlear implant functions at an optimal level.
There are 13 students in Noa’s class, with one teacher and one teacher assistant. Playground activities are highly structured, with one teacher supervising a group of up to ten students, including Noa.
Noa is able to participate in most physical exercise activities, although developmental delays require him to have additional support from an adult to assist with strength and coordination. He has had ongoing physical challenges, including two knee replacements. Noa has been working with a hospital-based physiotherapist since his last knee replacement this year.
On the recommendation of a school-based physiotherapist, Noa has a structured swimming lesson once per week as well as structured individualised sport and physical education activities with goals that are regularly monitored and reviewed. Noa uses the lifts and ramps in place at the school as he is very unsteady on stairs, and requires physical support and frequent supervision, including during break times.
Noa is preparing for his transition to Year 7 at the secondary campus next year by participating in planned visits. With the support of the class teacher, Noa is becoming familiar with the school environment, meeting the subject teachers and developing confidence in accessing the larger school campus.