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 as students without a disability.
Overall schools need to:
- make adjustments to suit the individual requirements of the student
- make courses or programs sufficiently flexible for the student to be able to participate in them
- ensure courses or programs are reviewed regularly
- negotiate plans and programs with parents/carers and where possible with the student
- show what support is to be provided to the student
- make sure any extra-curricular activities can include the student
- ensure the curriculum, teaching materials and the assessment requirements for the course or program are appropriate to the needs of the student
- make sure appropriately trained support staff, such as specialist teachers, interpreters, note-takers and education assistants, are made available to students with disabilities
- ensure specialised support services are available for the student
When schools and teachers talk about adjustments, what do they mean?
Adjustments enable a student with disability to access and participate in all parts of school life. Adjustments are changes made as a result of the school having assessed the individual needs of the student.
Adjustments are made after discussing them with parents/carers and, where possible, with the student.
Examples of adjustments at school:
- addressing physical barriers, including modifications, to ensure access to buildings, facilities and services
- modifying programs and adapting curriculum delivery and assessment strategies
- providing ongoing consultancy support or professional learning and training for staff
- providing specialised technology or computer software or equipment
- providing study notes or research materials in different formats
- using services such as sign language interpreters, visiting school teams or specialist support staff
- allowing particular routines for the child such as later start times, access to certain areas at different times, ‘movement breaks’
- providing additional personnel such as tutors or aides for personal care or mobility assistance
Can the school refuse to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for my child with disability?
IEPs are a tool to help guide teachers to facilitate your child’s positive experience at school for learning, play, sport and socialising. They work best when teachers and parents/carers (and the student where possible) work together to develop a plan of helpful goals and strategies for teachers to use when teaching and supporting the student.
Where a student with a disability has a lot of adjustments to their program, the Standards for Education require schools to have appropriate educational planning. Most schools and systems acknowledge good planning is an important part of individualising a student’s learning.
In public schools, any student receiving additional funding or requiring high levels of adjustment to their program, must have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). IEPs are recommended for all students requiring adjustments to their learning program.
The school has written an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for my child without involving us. Is that okay?
Parents/carers must be consulted. You may not agree with the school on everything in the IEP, but you must be given the opportunity to provide input into your child’s IEP during the planning and review process. Your child’s IEP becomes one of the important ways the school will assess your child’s progress at school.
IEPs are usually planned to be reviewed each semester. It is optimal if teachers, parents/carers, the student where possible, and sometimes therapists where appropriate work together on developing the IEP. Teachers benefit from this collaboration and shared knowledge of the child in order to set goals and strategies that are appropriate, meaningful and relevant.