Department of Education

Statewide support services

Statewide support services

New programs for students with autism

Education Minister Peter Collier has announced the first of 16 new programs for students with autism commencing in 2017 and all due to be up and running by 2020.

Minister Collier's media statement (web link)

Autism is the fastest growing diagnostic category of developmental disorders in children. In 2016, there are over 4000 students with autism enrolled in local public schools. The vast majority of these students will continue to be catered for in mainstream classrooms in local schools with support as required. However, a small proportion of these students presents with very complex and often challenging behaviours, and requires more support, particularly with social communication and social interaction skills.

Students with autism who have very complex support needs can now enrol in schools with new specialist learning programs starting from 2017. Sixteen schools will be selected to run the $32 million specialist autism programs by 2020.

The new programs will be in mainstream primary and secondary schools to cater for the specific needs of students from Kindergarten to Year 12 with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The programs are for students at significant risk of disengagement, underachievement and/or who exhibit very complex and challenging behaviours. The programs will target age appropriate academic engagement and achievement. Students will typically spend some of their time in “homeroom” classrooms undertaking the specialised learning programs and some of their time in mainstream classrooms where they will also receive additional support.

Programs and Initiatives

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