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Working with education providers if your child has additional needs

Work with education providers to give your child the best chance to achieve their potential.

Our site also has specific information about different disabilities.

Working closely with education providers helps give your child the best chance to achieve their potential. For example, you can:

  • develop a strong relationship with them
  • talk to them regularly – for example, about any questions you have or issues you want to raise
  • help make decisions about your child’s education – like at student support group meetings
  • keep them updated about your child’s development – for example, by sharing assessments and medical reports
  • talk to them about your child's medication and how it should be stored
  • tell them if your child’s needs change
  • help them develop and maintain your child's student health support plan.

It is important that children are connected with their learning and supported with transitions. To help you work with you child’s education provider at this time, see:

Examples of education providers are kindergartens, government, independent and Catholic schools, TAFEs and universities.

For an Easy English version of this topic, refer to:

Talking to your child's teacher

You can talk to your child’s teacher about the best way to communicate with them. This may include talking to them at pick-up or drop-off time, or through email or phone calls.

You can also arrange regular face-to-face meetings, possibly through a student support group.

If you’re not sure which would be best, ask the education provider for advice.

Talking about reasonable adjustments

If your child's additional needs arise from a disability, your child's education providers must make reasonable adjustments to support your child's participation. You can talk to them about this at any time during your child’s education.

The Disability Standards for Education require that the education provider consults with you and your child before they make any reasonable adjustments.

This may include a meeting (like a student support group meeting) to talk about:

  • how your child’s disability may affect the way they learn
  • what support and reasonable adjustments could meet your child’s needs
  • how current reasonable adjustments are meeting your child’s needs.

Preparing for a meeting

To help focus your discussion on what matters most, it’s a good idea to write a list of questions you wish to ask.

It may also be helpful to do some research beforehand so that you can make suggestions and offer solutions.

Support at meetings

You have the right to bring an advocate or support person to meetings. An advocate or support person can explain the terminology the education provider uses and help you express your point of view. They cannot make decisions for you.

Find an advocateExternal Link in your local area.

If you need a translator, ask the education provider to arrange this.

Helping the school with applications for extra support

If your child has a disability or health condition they may need extra support at school. You can talk to your child's school about applying for extra support.

Your child's school will usually prepare and submit applications for extra support. They’ll also tell you what the result of the application is.

To help with applications, the school may ask you to:

  • give them a recent copy (no more than 12 months old) of your child’s medical report speak to your child's medical practitioner about the medical report
  • sign consent forms and application forms.

Reduction and elimination of restraint and seclusion

Read about principles used by schoolsExternal Link to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, restraint and seclusion of students.

Raising a concern

You can complain if you're unhappy with the support your child is getting.

Talk to the school or education provider first. You can also contact your closest regional officeExternal Link for assistance in working with the school.

Use our complaints process if you're unhappy with how the education provider handled your concern.

You can find a local advocacy serviceExternal Link for more support.

Reviewed 21 December 2021

Department of Education and Training

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