People with disability have a right to education without discrimination.
(Article 24, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).

School and Post-school education should provide good opportunities for social and academic learning for ALL students.


It is often more difficult for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to find a school they enjoy, where they have friends and are academically challenged with the right supports.

Research shows that one of the best ways to foster your child’s social and learning development is to enrol them in a school environment that offers the opportunity to mix with other students with and without disability. DDWA recognises that many mainstream schools do not yet have the knowledge or experience in supporting students with very high needs and so parents may feel their child will be better supported in a specialist setting.

The information below is designed to help people understand what education options are available to them and how to get support should there be difficulties.

DDWA Services

Advocacy - DDWA can support you to advocate for your rights to seek and maintain education options that best suit your son or daughter’s needs.

Dan and Garth Animated-talking


Planning and Making Choices

Personalised Learning Support Plans Used in Education

Supporting School-age Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Teaching Students with Disabilities

Autism Parent's Handbook

Thriving in Regular Schools


The Parent’s Dozen – supportive wisdom for the school journey

By DDWA Team
This list of 12 tips was developed from DDWA’s experience supporting parents to advocate for their child in mainstream schools.
woman's hands holding a mobile phone

What is the best way to communicate with your school?

By DDWA Team
What is the best way to communicate my child’s needs?  Find out from your child’s class teacher how and when they will communicate with you about your child’s needs and how they prefer the communication to occur.  Some teachers rely…
piggy bank image

What funding support is available at your local school?

By DDWA Team
What additional funding support does your local public school receive for students with disability? For each eligible student with disability, your local school can apply for the Individual Disability Allocation (IDA). Before the school can receive funding, they need to…
boy at school smiling

What additional support is available at your local school ?

By DDWA Team
My child doesn’t have a diagnosis, can I expect support in a mainstream class at my local school?  The school’s learning support team will support the teacher to identify students needing additional support. Talk to your child’s class teacher, or…

What are Individualised Planning- Curriculum Adjustments ?

By DDWA Team
What curriculum adjustments is my child entitled to under the Disability Standards for Education?  All schools must enable students with disability to participate in courses or programs and to use the school facilities and services provided, on the same basis…
boy with a book looking shocked

Can my local public school say they cannot accommodate my child’s needs and decline enrolment?

By DDWA Team
No. The rights of children with disability to attend their local public school is protected by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005, which reflects Australia’s international law obligations under the Convention on the Rights of…
picture of school bus

Can my child go on the special school bus service?

By DDWA Team
Students attending education support centres and schools in the metropolitan area can access the School Bus Service’s (SBS) to attend school regularly. The ‘Orange’ bus service is provided by the Public Transport Authority using contracted bus services. SBS is also…
picture of colourful school lockers

What are my options if the current school isn’t working out for my child and we have tried everything we can to make it work?

By DDWA Team
Changing schools when things are not working out is an option some parents choose to explore. If you reach that point you can contact the appropriate office in the public, Catholic or Independent school systems: Regional Office Education Department:…
boy with box of clourful crayons

Can I access specialist programs for my child with autism?

By DDWA Team
In the public school system, the government has provided funding for some specialist programs in both primary and secondary schools for students with autism. Children share programs with mainstream students as part of their education. Enrolment depends on where you…
school books with apple

How do I choose the right school for my child ?

By DDWA Team
Introduction Every child has the right to attend their local Government school, regardless of any disability they may have.  Research has shown repeatedly that when children with disability are included in their local school community, they and their peers without disability…

Other Resources

Australian Alliance for Inclusive Education - All Means All – for Educators

Provides concise information and toolkits about inclusive education and class culture; why include, supporting peer connection, the role of education assistants, and behaviour support. 

Disability Standards for Education - Australia

A practical guide for individuals, families and communities -Explains the standards of providing education for students with disabilities and what parents/guardians can expect for supports for their children in school.

Smiling man at home in an electric wheelchair