Skip to main content

CASE STUDY Ryder, Cognitive, Substantial

Year level
Educational setting
Mainstream school

Level of adjustment
Category of disability
Included in data collection

Ryder's story

Ryder is a 13-year-old boy who attends a rural secondary school. He was identified as having 18P chromosomal deletion when he was 2 years old. Assessments have shown him to have movement and coordination difficulties, hearing loss and an associated intellectual disability. Ryder uses key word signing and an augmented communication device (AAC). He is fitted with a hearing aid in both ears and his teacher uses a sound field amplification system in the classroom.

Ryder’s class has 24 students taught by a team of four teachers who deliver most of his Year 7 subjects. Ryder's teachers plan his program in collaboration with a specialist learning support teacher and a teacher assistant who both work with Ryder. Teachers adjust content in all learning areas into personalised projects centred on Ryder’s learning goals in mathematics, reading and writing. The adjustments to the curriculum are documented in a personalised learning plan that is updated weekly by teachers in consultation with the learning support teacher and teacher assistant. Ryder is able to work independently at times once the teacher or teacher assistant help to get him started and explain what his goals for the lesson are. He requires regular check-ins to ensure he is on track.

To expand his communication skills, Ryder is learning to touch-type, supported by the teacher assistant for 15 minutes, five times per week. He receives National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding for speech and occupational therapy (OT) at home and his school principal has agreed to allow the NDIS therapists to provide therapy at school as well. This consists of two one-hour therapy sessions each week (one hour for speech therapy and one hour for OT). With parental consent, Ryder’s therapists collaborate with his teachers and members of the school support team, regarding strategies staff can adopt to support Ryder in the school environment. These are summarised in a student profile document made available to all teachers through the school’s Learning Management System. This document is reviewed bi-annually.

The teacher assistant meets Ryder at school drop-off each morning and escorts him back to the car in the afternoon, as he has difficulty navigating through the school’s crowded entry. The current aim is to reduce this assistance so that Ryder can be more independent.

Ryder’s classroom is set up in an open learning space, which means he remains in the same room for all subjects except one, which he attends in a specialist room that he accesses via a lift. This is because he has had foot surgery to straighten his feet and cannot currently access the stairs.

Ryder is prompted by a teacher assistant to go to the toilet in the morning and afternoon. Ryder requires support when he changes uniform for physical education three times a week.

To assist with transition and social situations, Ryder’s teachers and teacher assistant use visual schedules, social stories and carry cards as visual reminders (eg keep hands to myself; kissing is for family; I eat my own food; I don’t eat others' food). Ryder also participates in the school’s social skills program once per fortnight, run by a visiting psychologist.

All teachers monitor Ryder during recess and lunch as part of standard school supervision policy. He has a supportive peer social group. When he is fatigued, his teacher assistant accompanies him to a quiet space for breaks.

The teacher assistant communicates with Ryder’s teachers via a cloud-based collaborative document. This is used by teachers to give instructions to the teacher assistant about the focus of Ryder’s work and also as a platform for the teacher assistant to provide feedback to the teachers on Ryder’s daily progress.

Ryder’s mother is in regular contact with the school via email, informing them of any challenges experienced at home that might impact on his learning at school. The school (teachers and learning support teacher) also provide regular feedback regarding his achievements at school. On average this communication occurs at least once per week.

The school conducts support group meetings with Ryder’s family and his external specialists once per term to discuss his progress and review his personalised learning plan, behaviour support plan and safety plan.

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 in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Ryder has a disorder or malfunction that results in him learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction.

  • Do you have evidence? Yes

    • Personalised learning plan
    • Behaviour support plan
    • Safety plan
    • Student profile document
    • Personalised timetable showing specialist appointments
    • Notes from teacher assistant shared with subject teachers and learning support teacher
    • Minutes from support group meetings
    • Paediatric reports and allied health reports
    • Notes and collaborative reports from the NDISfunded OT and speech pathologist
    • Online reporting including completed assignments and adjustment notes
    • Emails/records of communication between school and Ryder’s mother
  • Step 2. What is the level of adjustment? Substantial

    Ryder 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
    • personalised explicit instruction to support one or more areas of communication
    • 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? Cognitive

    Ryder has a diagnosed cognitive disability in the form of 18P chromosomal deletion.

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

We use cookies on our website to support technical features that enhance your user experience.

We also use analytics & advertising services. To opt-out click for more information.