Disability inclusion is a new way for Victorian government schools to support students with disability.
It involves initiatives to help teachers and school staff across Victoria build their knowledge and skills in inclusive education and provide schools with more funding to support students to learn at school.
Disability inclusion also introduces the disability inclusion profile, which helps schools understand a student’s strengths, what they need to help them learn, and how the school can support them.
This video explains the profile, how it works and your role as a parent or carer.
The disability inclusion profile is for students with disability or diverse learning needs.
It is a written description that focuses on a student's strengths, interests, goals, and needs at school.
The profile is completed in a meeting that will take about 90 minutes with people who know the student best at school.
The meeting like a student support group meeting can include teachers, a school leader, or other professionals, including allied health providers.
A trained facilitator supports every profile meeting.
The student, parents and carers or a trusted adult will be invited.
The student can attend if they would like to or they can share their opinions and feelings in another way, like through drawings or photos.
The school can use the profile to plan for the students learning.
And for some students with complex and high needs, it will help find out if the school is eligible for more support, which may involve more funding to support your child.
Disability inclusion will begin at your school between now and 2025.
If your school thinks your child should have a profile, they will contact you.
You can also talk to your school about your child's individual needs.
The school will ask for your permission and for you to share information about your child, to help develop the profile.
Meetings about your child support needs can be stressful, that is why the focus of the profile meeting will be about your child's strengths and needs at school.
Before the meeting, you and your child may want to think about school and what your child likes doing, what their goals are and what helps them learn.
The school can help with these questions.
A facilitator will guide you through the profile questions and capture what he said in the meeting.
Grade three student Jai is at his first profile meeting.
Facilitator - Let's talk about Jai's strengths.
What is he good at? What does he like doing?
Jai’s father - Jai is very caring and his friends are important to him.
He loves animals and his big sister.
He's creative, he likes telling stories.
Facilitator - Jai, what do you like doing at school?
Jai - I like my friends, I like counting.
Facilitator - That's great.
It sounds like you like doing things that help you learn and play with others.
Jai’s mother - Yes, he does. Jai told us he really wants to do more counting at school. We'd like him to have more friends to play with at lunchtime. We're also keen to talk about helping him improving his writing and focus more.
The group will then talk about the support your child has at school.
Hearing what your child thinks and feels is really important.
You'll be asked to share or help your child share information about their learning, participation, friendships experiences at home, and what has helped them learn in the past.
Some students may share this before the meeting or they can join the meeting even for a short time.
Facilitator - How does Jai communicate at school?
Jai’s teacher - He's a great listener when he has one instruction at a time and visual aids to help. He uses some speech, gestures and facial expressions to communicate. Jay's speech pathologist has given us advice to help his language development. I've noticed he’s learning to join conversations with peers with some help and support. It's great to see him growing.
Facilitator - Are you finding the same at home?
Jai’s mother - Yes, he has improved. We've noticed that he's better at sharing with his sister.
The group will then talk about changes that could be made to help your child at school.
Things like how the school plans for, teaches and assesses your child's learning, the environment, equipment and resources.
This will help work out if the school needs to make any changes to support your child.
In the weeks after the profile meeting, the school will give all participants a copy of the finished profile report.
They will also tell you if the school will receive more student level funding to support your child, and they'll continue to work in partnership with you to support your child's learning as they progress through school through regular student support group meetings and individual education planning.
The disability inclusion profile helps your school to better support your child so they can participate and achieve their full potential at school and in life.
If you would like to talk about the profile and your child, you can speak to your child's teacher or principal.