Your child will need to have tests, to see if their school can get extra funding to help them.
Speak up to get help for your child
If your child is in a mainstream school, and you think they might need extra help, speak up. Ask the school to find out if it can get extra support. The school would apply for this money through the Program for Students with Disabilities (or PSD) if they are in a government school.
As Aunty Faye says, some children could get the extra help, but never do because the school never brings it up, and because their parents or carers don’t know it exists. It’s important to pass on that information to others in community.
“I didn’t know about the funding. It took me a long long time to get it. And I’d get it sooner because I could talk up, and talk with the teachers.
“But there’s other families that just can’t do it. Like, Nanna’s home with about four kids, you know? Little ones as well. And she can’t do it. Or foster care. But she’s got a bit too much on, and she can’t do it. Tell them that there is funds … out there.” – Aunty Faye
Testing and diagnosis
Your child’s kindergarten might suggest that they be assessed, to find out the best way to support them at kindergarten. Some tests result in a diagnosis, and might tell you whether your child might have the choice of going to a specialist school.
Schools can’t access extra funding for every child with special needs, even if they have a diagnosis. But the school must still work with you to meet your child’s special needs. The education department says that the type and level of your child’s support at school should not depend on funding.
- Find out more about how funding for special needs works in school.
- Find out more about testing and diagnosis.
Reassessment and getting more help if needed
Once your child’s school is receiving extra funding through the PSD, your child will need to have regular reassessment, to see how they’re going. The extra funding can go up or down, depending on how their learning is going, or changes in their medical or care needs.
All children have an assessment at the end of primary school, to work out what support they will need at secondary school. It’s important that your child attends all the appointments, or they might not get that help.
- Find out more about the move to secondary school.
Have a say about your child’s funding
Your child’s school must talk with you, to work out how they spend any extra funding they get to help your child. You can ask them for a breakdown of how it is spent.
You can also tell the school your ideas for how the funding should be spent. For example, if the school takes part in Aboriginal cultural events or festivals, you might suggest the school put aside aside some personal care or aide time, to make sure your child can attend. Or you might want your child to get more therapy, rather than more aide time in class. This can be discussed at the Student Support Group meeting, and should be part of your child’s Individual Learning Plan.
- Find out more about funding and what it can be spent on.
- You can bring up a concern about your child’s funding with the school.