Once your child reaches kindergarten age, they can commence at a:
- Child Care Centre
- Community Kindergarten (see Community Kindergarten Association)
- School, (private or public).
Whatever option you choose, all of the above are able to apply for education/inclusion assistance to support your child’s needs.
Kindergarten, however, is not compulsory and if you feel your child is not ready to start kindergarten, you can choose to wait until the following year and start their formal education at pre-primary level.
Primary and High School
Pre-primary will be the first compulsory year of your child’s education. Things to consider may include:
- Educational adjustment allocation – to implement programs and learning support for students with disability and additional learning needs.
- Individual disability allocation – For eligible students to help the school address the learning needs of students with a diagnosed diability.
Public Schools are able to apply for a disability allocation to support your child with their learning needs. It comprises two components:
Schools of Special Educational Needs
The Education Department also provides support for students with disabilities and diverse learning needs through teams of teachers working from the School of Special Educational Needs for children with disability, sensory impairment, a medical/mental health condition and/or extreme, complex and challenging behaviours.
These services collaborate to provide effective service provision to school communities. Autism specialist units are co-located at a small number of mainstream schools and have small class sizes.
Education Support Centres and Schools
Your child may be eligible to attend an Education Support Centre or school. Some offer early intervention programs, specialist programs for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other programs for children with more specific needs.
Education Support Centres are located alongside primary and secondary schools. In addition to the individualised programs delivered by specialist staff, children benefit from interacting and participating in programs with their mainstream school peers.
Education Support Schools are separate primary and secondary schools that have on-site access to multi-disciplinary teams including nursing and therapy staff and specialist facilities including therapy rooms, swimming pools and ‘access all’ playgrounds.
Secondary Education Support Centres and Schools have strong links with employers and training organisations to ensure your child’s transition from school to further training or work is as smooth as possible.
Many Catholic schools in Western Australia have Education Support Centres for students with disability whose educational needs require the provision of additional support and resources. This includes special education teacher/s and additional teacher assistants, as well as specialised resources and facilities. Depending on individual needs and abilities, some students will receive the major part of their academic program in the Education Support Centre while others will spend the majority of their time in regular classes with varying levels of support.
Students with disability in independent schools are eligible for funding from the Australian Government and state and territory governments, although students with disability in independent schools do not receive the same level of additional funding from governments as their counterparts in government schools.
If you decide to home-educate your child, you will need to register with the Education Department. There are many different websites available that provide information on teaching and learning resources, networking groups, tertiary courses and career pathways.
Other Educational Options
For students who find themselves excluded from mainstream education, there are a number of alternative education facilities that specialise in working with schoolaged students who have difficulty achieving success in mainstream education and are at risk of disengaging from school. These organisations partner with parents and caregivers to overcome difficulties and support students to achieve a valued and contributing place in the community.
For more information, contact one of our friendly Family Support Officers, all of whom have personal experience of raising a child with additional needs.