Tips for dealing with common challenges

acd resource learning together 101

In this section we share some common concerns of families who contact our support team, and offer suggestions for tackling them.

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Introduction to this section

This section of Learning Together provides another way to explore the detailed information found throughout this resource. Here, we summarise common challenges that families seek advice on from our support team. It can be helpful to know that others have faced similar issues to you, and have successfully found a way forward.

In this section we offer suggestions for dealing with such challenges. Often we suggest similar basic steps (such as calling a Student Support Group meeting or reviewing your child’s Individual Learning Plan) and provide links to the relevant sections of Learning Together. We also offer specific tips for dealing with particular challenges.

We hope these ideas are useful to you. But we do emphasise that they are only suggestions. Every child’s needs are different, every situation is different, and families often take quite different approaches to advocating for their child.

Throughout Learning Together, our aim is to provide information that enables you to find the best way forward for your child and family. We encourage you to explore the information here, to come back to different sections when you need them, and to seek further support if you need it – such as from ACD or another advocacy organisation.

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Challenges in enrolling your child

For some families, the first hurdle is enrolling their child at their preferred school. All children are entitled to enrol in their designated local government school, or the nearest appropriate specialist school. However, sometimes families experience some reluctance from schools. Here we share some tips on negotiating the best available school placement for your child.

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Challenges with communication and planning

Communication and regular planning meetings are key to meeting your child’s additional needs. However, families sometimes find these basics not working as they should. Or something they have concerns about whether the school is meeting their child’s learning and support needs.

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Challenges in funding and participation, and related to secondary school

A range of issues can arise in relation to funding, including how it is spent. Another common challenge is ensuring your child can participate in the full range of school activities. Secondary school can present its own set of challenges, particularly around communicating your child’s needs to all of their teachers.

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Challenges in behaviour management, discrimination and your relationship with school

When a student’s learning or support needs are not well met at school, this might sometimes lead to behavioural issues. This section explains the expectations on schools to support positive behaviour. Here we discuss tips for these issues, as well as bullying, social exclusion discrimination and problems that can sometimes arise in the relationship between families and schools.

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Learn more about how to effectively raise a concern

The section Raising a concern with school will take you, step-by-step, through the process of how to identify, express, investigate, seek advice on, and hopefully resolve your concern with school. It includes information about how an advocate or support person can help, and how to find this kind of assistance.

The section A guide to the complaints process explains the complaints system in detail, including taking unresolved concerns ‘up the ladder’, using external complaints mechanisms, and the different complaints processes in government, Catholic and independent schools.

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