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Education Institute

Students with disabilities and additional learning needs

  • The RCH Education Institute supports students with additional needs while they are in hospital. RCH teachers will work with each student and their school or kindergarten to develop or continue an Individual Education Plan that best meets their needs.

    Rights and responsibilities

    The Disability Discrimination Act says it’s against the law to discriminate against someone because of their disability. 

    The Disability Standards for Education explain what these laws mean for students with a disability. The standards say students with a disability have the same right to take part in their education as students without a disability.

    All education providers must meet the Disability Standards for Education. Your child has the right to take part in all education courses or programs on the same basis as their peers. Your child may need some reasonable adjustments to make sure they can take part.


    Program for Students with Disabilities 

    The Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) gives government schools extra funding to help them support students with disability and high needs. 

    Schools use the funding in different ways, depending on the needs of each child.

    There are seven categories of eligibility criteria:

    • physical disability
    • visual impairment
    • hearing impairment
    • severe behaviour disorder
    • intellectual disability
    • Autism Spectrum Disorder
    • severe language difficulties with critical educational needs.

    If you think your child’s school could apply for one of the seven categories of the PSD, talk to the school principal. When you meet, bring copies of your child’s medical reports and assessments along with you. 

    The Department of Education and Training website provides detailed information about PSD Funding in Schools  

    If your child is an NDIS participant this will not affect any PSD funding they get at school to support their education.

    Visit the NDIS and Schools website for information about the NDIS and how it relates to school funding. 

    Kindergarten funding

    Kindergarten Inclusion Support Program 

    The Kindergarten Inclusion Support (KIS) program is designed to equip kindergartens and early childhood educators with the resources they need to provide a program that is inclusive of all children, including those with complex medical needs or disability.  

    The KIS program supports early childhood educators to respond to the individual abilities, need and interests of children enrolled in their early years program. 

    Extra assistance from the KIS disability and complex medical needs programs may include:

    • specialist training and consultancy for early childhood educators 
    • minor building modifications
    • additional staffing support.

    Early Childhood Early Intervention

    If your child has a disability, or is developing differently when compared with other children, then early intervention can help your child reach their potential.

    Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) is part of the NDIS. It is specifically for younger children under the age of seven. You don’t need a formal diagnosis for your child to get access to early intervention. Early Childhood Early Intervention can cover the cost of therapies and equipment that can help your child’s development.

    Visit the NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention website to find out more about this funding. 

    Student support groups 

    student support group gives you the opportunity to work with your child’s school to make decisions about their education and check their progress. 

    The group includes:

    • you – as your child’s parent or carer
    • the teacher or teachers who have responsibility for your child
    • the school principal or a nominee – for example, the assistant principal.

    It can also include:

    • any other people who work with your child, as agreed by the group – for example a social worker or medical professional
    • your support person or advocate – if you choose to use one
    • your child – if appropriate.

    Individual education plan 

    Teachers use individual education plans to help them plan for and address your child’s learning needs. They’re used if your child requires support or assistance accessing their education on the same level as their peers.

    Your child’s plan can be reviewed at least once a term, or as needed.

    Reasonable adjustments 

    To make sure your child has the same learning opportunities as children without disability, an education provider must make reasonable adjustments.

    Reasonable adjustments may include changes to the way your child is supported in their learning, changes to the kindergarten or school environment and providing additional supports.

    Visiting teachers 

    If your child has a physical disability, vision impairment or hearing impairment, visiting teachers can work with teachers to address your child’s learning needs.

    A visiting teacher can:

    • help teachers understand how best to support your child
    • supply documents such as reports for funding applications
    • give advice to teachers on your child’s progress
    • help your child use assistive equipment – for example, text to speech software or screen readers
    • help the school create an individual education plan.

    Student support services  

    Student support services include psychologists, speech pathologists, social workers and other allied health professionals such as occupational therapists or youth workers.

    Speak to your school principal or wellbeing coordinator to discuss making a referral to these school based services. 

    Links and resources 

    Department of Education and Training Victoria - Inclusive Education
    Policies, advice and information for schools, parents and carers.

    Catholic Education Melbourne - students with diverse learning needs 
    Information about support services in Catholic Schools for students with diverse learning needs.

    Independent Schools Council Australia (ISCA) - Students with Disability 
    Information about funding and support in private and independent education settings.

    Disability Discrimination Act - Guide to Getting an Education 
    Information about how the Disability Discrimination Act applies to all schools and education settings.

    Association for Children with a Disabilty (ACD) Australia
    Information, support and resources for parents and carers of children with a disability.