By planning for the stepping stones ahead, you can help your child to achieve in their chosen path.
Every child can learn
Your child’s school should challenge them and help them to achieve. Planning is a big part of this. By planning your child’s learning and the help they need, their school can help them reach their goals, and achieve their dreams.
Every child with special needs should have an ‘Individual Learning and Support Plan’. This is a document that the school writes up every year. It’s a plan for what your child will learn, and how the school will help them. They might also have a ‘Koorie Education Learning Plan’ – this is a document that every Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student should have.
Help set the goals for your child
The school should discuss your child’s Individual Learning and Support Plan with you at the start of the year, and then again at every Student Support Group meeting. You can help school set your child’s learning goals – what they will learn.
When Rodney and Suzanna’s son started at mainstream primary school, they had many meetings with his teacher and aide. They talked about how school would help him learn in the next fortnight. Over time, their son learned to be much more independent at school.
“Fortnightly we were having meetings. And choose a goal, whether it was for him to actually hang his bag and walk into the classroom by himself. Or to pick up the books himself, instead of the integration aide, and put them in his bag. Whether to get him to answer the teacher.
They’re little steps, but they’re huge. Now he’s got an integration aide, but just to make sure he doesn’t run out of school. Things like that. But he does everything himself.” – Suzanna
Learning through what your child loves
Children can learn a lot through doing what they love. Rodney and Suzanna’s son loves playing music.
“Music helped him learn how to talk. It helped him learn to deal with other people – social skills. It helped him learn to play with his brother. – Suzanna
The family got funding from the local council for him to learn guitar. When school offered piano lessons, they used that funding to pay for extra support at school, so he could learn piano in the same classroom as other children.
“At his school they had piano lessons. That would have been good, but he would have had to be with the other children. We asked if some of his funding could be used for piano lessons at school, in order for him to learn to be in a room with other children – communicate with other children. And that was accepted. That worked amazingly well.” – Suzanna
“Just seeing him through his music, and the ways kids were talking to him – treating him and talking to him like a friend, without any disability. It was like, Wow, man, it’s working now. The music is working! And our boy is not a weird kid. He’s a legend, man! He’s a guitarist!” – Rodney
The school should be talking with you often about how your child is going at school. Children might not always tell you if they’re struggling. The teacher should let you know – through chats at drop off or pick up time, your child’s communication book, school reports, parent-teacher meetings and Student Support Group meetings.
Children have a hard time at school for many different reasons: because they don’t understand the work, because they need more help, or because of problems like feeling left out, or bullying. Your child might also need different help at school if their medical or care needs change, or if they are affected by changes at home. If you know your child is having a hard time at school, make a time to yarn with the teacher, to sort it out before it becomes a big drama.
- Find out about how you can support your child’s education journey.
- Find out about getting help to meet with your child’s school.
- Find out more about how to deal with common concerns.