The Professional Learning Program on School-wide Inclusive Practice (Autism)
This program was a partnership between the Autism Teaching Institute and the
Department of Education and Training Victoria, responding to recommendations from the Parliamentary Inquiry into Services for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
The professional learning program built the capacity of School Leaders, the Student Support Service (SSS) and other relevant Area and Regional staff to develop school-wide inclusive practices to support autistic students.
The Inclusive Practice (Autism) Program developed the capacity of DET Area and Regional Staff to assist schools to provide best practice support to autistic students at the individual, classroom and whole-school levels.
Coordinated Professional Learning Learning on Inclusive Practice (Autism):
The Program was part of a state-wide coordinated professional learning program, School-Wide Inclusive Practice (Autism), which built the capacity of Area and Regional staff to provide consistent evidence-based advice to schools on whole-school inclusive practices, with a focus on autism.
While the Program focused on inclusion for autistic students, the approach contributed to improving inclusion for students more broadly, particularly those with disabilities.
The Program was delivered and supported by:
- The Autism Teaching Institute.
- Regional Autism and Inclusion Consultants.
- School leaders with strong whole-school inclusive practice.
- Representative from ICAN Network.
Through the Program, participants developed their ability to:
- Contribute to the development of whole-school inclusive policy and practices, particularly for autistic students.
- Provide advice to other Area and Regional staff to contribute to wrap around support for autistic students with complex needs.
- Proactively collaborate with multidisciplinary teams, students and families to meet autistic students’ needs.
- Build school staff capacity to provide evidence-based teaching strategies and reasonable adjustments for autistic students.
- Provide advice on using resources (such as Program for Students with Disabilities) innovatively and in line with best practice to meet the needs of autistic students.
The Program developed the capacity of School
Leaders to support school-wide inclusive practice,
with a focus on autism.
The program worked with School Leaders to support change at the school and classroom level.
At the school-level, School Leaders developed whole-school processes to:
- Create welcoming environments for students with disabilities, including autistic students.
- Build school staff capacity to meet the needs of students with disabilities, including autistic students.
- Ensure teachers, parents, specialist teachers and Student Support Services (SSS) collaborate to support whole-school inclusive practices, particularly for autistic students.
- Effectively use resources (such as Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) funding) in line with best practice.
School Leaders also supported the following approaches at the classroom and student levels:
- Student-centered teaching approaches for all students.
- Personalised learning and supports for students, including through an adaptable and accessible curriculum and reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities, including autistic students.
- Regular communication and planning between classroom teachers, specialist teachers, SSS and parents of students with disabilities, including autistic students.
- Provision of supplementary support to students with disabilities by Student Support Officers.
- Additional support for students with disabilities, including autistic students, occurring in regular classes to the greatest extent possible rather than through withdrawal.