Disability Education

The National Disability Insurance Scheme and Early Childhood Intervention Programs in the ACT

The ACT Government is a trial site for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The ACT will be the first jurisdiction in Australia to have all eligible residents included in the Scheme by July 2016.

There will be no changes to early intervention programs operating in the ACT in 2014.

From 2015, early intervention services will be provided by non government organisations. This will allow for more inclusive, integrated and family-centred support for children with a disability and their families and carers.

This provides us with an opportunity to work together as a community to make sure the services provided better meet the individual needs of families.

Current programs and supports provided by the Education and Training Directorate and listed below will continue in their current form until 2015.

For more information, parents and carers can contact the ACT Government information line on 6207 1086 or visit NDISExternal Linkfor more specific information.

Services for Students with a Disability

ACT public schools offer a range of specialist settings and programs for children and students with a disability. If your child has a disability and you wish to find out what services and support are available in your area please contact your school counsellor. Parents are not required to enrol directly in special settings as placement is done through a centralised process.

If your child is not currently enrolled in an ACT public school, please contact the Student Support Section of the Education and Training Directorate on (02) 6205 6925. A description of settings and programs is provided below. If you would like further information on any of these programs please contact the Student Support Section. Access to special education programs is through school counsellors.

Student Centred Appraisal of Need Booklet for Parents, Carers and Staff PDF File (175kb)

Early Childhood Intervention Programs

Education and Training Directorate Early Intervention Programs and Services

Early Intervention Playgroup (EIP)

Early Intervention Playgroup (EIP) is for children

  • aged two to three years
  • with a developmental delay or disability.

Children attend a weekly EIP session with their parent supported by a teacher and assistant. Children attend the EIP program closest to the family home.

Early Childhood Centre (ECC)

Early Childhood Centres (ECC) are for children

  • aged three to school entry age
  • with a mild to moderate developmental delay or disability.

ECCs are small classes in a mainstream preschool setting. The schools where the ECCs are located do not run the ECCs. The primary specialist schools (Cranleigh School, Malkara School and Turner School) administer the ECCs.

Early Childhood Unit (ECU)

Early Childhood Units (ECU) are for children

  • aged three to school entry
  • with a moderate to severe developmental delay or disability.

ECUs are small classes in specialist school settings. The primary specialist schools (Cranleigh School, Malkara School and Turner School) administer the ECUs.

Early Intervention Unit (EIU)

Early Intervention Units (EIU) are for children

  • aged three to school entry
  • with a developmental delay.

Children at EIU attend two sessions per week in a small group in a preschool setting. The primary schools where the preschools are located administer the EIUs.

Autism Intervention Unit (AIU)

Autism Intervention Units (AIU) are for children

  • aged three to school entry
  • who have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Children at AIU attend two sessions per week in a small group in a preschool setting. The schools where the AIUs are located do not run the AIUs. The primary specialist schools, Cranleigh School and Malkara School, administer the AIUs.

Language Intervention Unit (LIU)

Language Intervention Units (LIU) are for children

  • aged three to school entry
  • with a severe delay in the expressive and receptive language areas (not articulation)
  • with a formal diagnosis from a speech pathologist.

Children at LIU attend one session per week in a small group in a preschool setting. A Therapy ACT speech pathologist is also part of the team. They plan with the class teacher to provide an appropriate program for each child in the LIU. The primary school where the LIU is located administers the LIU.

Support Teachers – Vision

The Vision Support Team is a team of specialist trained staff who provide support to children and young people from birth to year 12 who meet the ACT Disability criteria for vision impairment. Support may be through direct teaching for students and/or through consultative support to classes, schools and families. The team works with the Guide Dogs Association and other agencies and provides Braille and other resource production services.

Support Teachers – Hearing

The Hearing Support Team is a team of specialist trained staff who provide support to children and young people from birth to year 12 who meet the ACT Student Disability Criteria for hearing impairment. Support may be through direct teaching for students, and/or through consultative support to classes, schools and families. The team works with the Australian Hearing Services and other agencies.

Support Teachers – Inclusion

Inclusion Support Teachers work to build teacher, school and system capacity to support students with a disability in mainstream classes. The team works with staff to develop, plan and evaluate strategies that aim to maximise student access, engagement and participation.

Inclusive Technology support

The Inclusive Technologies team provides technical support, professional learning, specialised advice, resources and assistance for a range of technologies to address the needs of students with a disability.

Support Classes – Language

Students aged between 5 and 8 who have a significant language disorder may be offered a Language Support Class placement. The program focuses on language and communication in conjunction with core curriculum areas.

Learning Support Units

LSUs are small classes of up to eight students located in primary schools, high schools and colleges. Students must meet the ACT Student Disability Criteria for Intellectual Disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder to be placed in these programs.

Learning Support Units - Autism specific

LSU-As are small classes of up to six students located in primary and high schools. Students placed in these settings must meet the ACT Student Disability criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Learning Support Centres

LSCs are classes for students with a significant learning delay, a mild intellectual disability or who meet the ACT Student Disability criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder. They are located in primary schools, high schools and colleges.

The Hospital School

The Hospital School caters for students from preschool to Year 12 with short term, long term and chronic illness. The school is based at The Canberra Hospital in the Paediatrics ward.

Specialist School programs

Cranleigh and Malkara Schools are specialist primary schools for students with a moderate to profound intellectual disability, or Autism Spectrum Disorder who require intensive levels of support.

Turner School operates as a primary school with a predominant enrolment of mainstream students and a substantial enrolment of students with disabilities. Students who access the Disability Education program at Turner meet the ACT criteria for intellectual disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Woden School is a specialist setting for students in years 7 to 12 students with an intellectual disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Black Mountain School is a specialist setting for students in years 7 to 12 students with an intellectual disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder requiring intensive levels of support.