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CASE STUDY Zac, Extensive, Physical

Year level
Educational setting
Mainstream school

Level of adjustment
Category of disability
Included in data collection

Zac's story

Zac is a 6-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. He is in a wheelchair and totally dependent on staff for all his self-care needs. Zac is non-verbal and currently has no reliable form of communication apart from smiling for ‘yes’, head shaking for ‘no’ and some eye pointing for simple choice-making.

Zac presents as an intellectually capable boy. His teacher is working hard with his therapists to develop a communication system and the ability to better access the curriculum through assistive technology.

To cater for Zac’s needs:

  • the school holds case conferences with Zac’s parents each term and with his therapists as required, to review his educational goals and address any issues
  • his teacher meets frequently with Zac’s therapists and is implementing therapy programs including daily mat sessions and standing frames, as well as trialling communication options
  • Zac’s staff are trained in manual handling and follow the manual handling plan provided by the therapists for all transfers and toileting procedures
  • Zac is dependent on staff for all mealtimes and his staff are trained to implement his meal-time management plan. Zac also has a risk management plan to manage choking risks
  • while Zac’s teacher finds it difficult to ascertain the extent of Zac’s ability, she ensures that Zac is part of the regular class curriculum by adjusting all questions directed to Zac so he can answer either yes/no or can eye point between two options
  • the school provides Zac with a switch that he can press to gain attention
  • Zac’s teacher also ensures that she takes into consideration physical access requirements for Zac and adapts when necessary.

In the short term, with the support of school and family, Zac’s program will remain focused on his self-care, developing a way for Zac to communicate and increasing his access to the curriculum. It is envisaged that once Zac has a reliable communication system and is utilising assistive technology to enable him to demonstrate his skills and knowledge, he will be able to access a mainstream curriculum.

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, Zac has a malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person’s body.
  • Do you have evidence? Yes

    • Meeting notes with Zac’s therapists and parents
    • Individual education plan
    • Staff training calendars
    • Medical/allied health professionals’ reports and support schedules 
    • Risk management plan
  • Step 2. What is the level of adjustment? Extensive

    • Adult supervision and assistance with personal care and meals most of the time
    • Ongoing support from allied health professionals (Zac’s therapists) 
    • Personalised adjustments to regular class curriculum and assessment procedures (eg use of closed questions for Zac)
    • Use of highly specialised assistive technology
    • Staff training in alternative communication modes to support Zac’s ability to access curriculum content
  • Step 3. What is the category of disability? Physical

    • Zac has a physical disability in the form of cerebral palsy.
  • Step 4. Record and submit the data Yes (Student is included)

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