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Evaluating your child's support needs

First day at schoolThe support cycle is a method of planning to assist schools to meet the needs of individual students. Your involvement along with school and district staff and other relevant people at each stage is essential to ensure coordination and successful outcomes for your child's special learning needs.

The key processes of the support cycle are:

Appraisal of your child's educational support needs

Appraisal helps the learning support team decide what your child needs to learn and how your child will be assisted to learn. It is the basis for determining learning outcomes, programming and support needs in an educational setting.

The appraisal process involves all those with significant information and knowledge of your child, including you. A learning support plan is developed during the process.

The learning support team should consider:

  • Your child's achievements, support needs and learning outcomes in:
    • Curriculum: key learning areas
    • Communication
    • Social skills
  • The nature and level of support required for your child and for school staff to fully access the school's programs.

As part of the appraisal process, information and reports from other professionals may be needed to be considered.

Access to support services

This stage of the support cycle involves providing the support the student needs to learn effectively.

The nature and level of support your child may need to access the curriculum includes:

  • Resources which may be available in the school
    • Classroom and specialist teachers
    • School counsellor
    • Learning support team
       
  • Support available from district and across district services
    • Itinerant support teachers
    • Multicultural/ESL consultant
    • Aboriginal education consultant
       
  • More intensive assistance
    • Additional funding for extra teachers and teachers' aide support
    • Support classes in regular schools
    • Special schools
Programming for successful learning outcomes

Your child's learning support plan may indicate that an individual learning program is needed in one or more areas. An individualised learning program identifies what needs to be taught, how it is going to be taught, who is going to teach it, when it will be taught and where it will be taught.

The learning program should be developed collaboratively with all those who have an interest in the education of your child. The individual learning program should consider educational needs identified through the appraisal process. It will suggest appropriate curriculum and effective teaching strategies for your child.

If your child has a non-English speaking background or an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background, additional support should be considered at this time if needed.

Reappraisal of learning outcomes

It cannot be assumed that your child's educational needs will remain constant. Regular monitoring of student progress is essential. A new set of goals and outcomes may be developed as a result of reappraisal. Contact with you is an essential part of this process.

As part of the ongoing reappraisal processes, a formal review meeting is held once a year if your child is:

  • Enrolled in a support class or special school
  • Receiving itinerant support teacher services
  • Receiving additional funding

It is very important that you take part in the formal review. The meeting may consider changes to the placement, program or type and level of support for your child.


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Further information

Information supplied by:
NSW Department of Education & Communities Disability Programs

Extract from "Who's Going to Teach my Child - a guide for parents of children with special learning needs."
NSW Department of Education and Training, 1999.

Reproduced with permission.

09-Nov-2015 8:14 PM (AEST)