Inclusion Works School Consultancy Program
Learning for Life’s “Inclusion Works” program is an innovative school consultancy program designed to give teachers the independent competence to deliver effective behavioural management strategies to their current and future students with Autism, strengthening these students’ opportunity for educational success.
Inclusion Works is distinctive for its ‘learning by doing’ component: the L4Life Supervisor guides teachers/aides in actually applying these strategies with their ASD students through a full school year. Teachers’ strengthened skills also benefit other students with cognitive, behavioural and social challenges.
We offer this program to schools throughout Victoria, and it’s our model of choice for assisting schools in the state’s rural areas.
Why is Educator Training Needed?
The need for stronger skills amongst teaching staff throughout Australia to improve the educational success of their ASD students is well documented. These sources, which include the January 2016 Senate report titled ‘Access to real learning: the impact of policy, funding and culture on students with disability’ and the June 2017 Victorian Parliament ‘Inquiry in services for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder’ , identify inadequate educational support as a major factor in ASD individuals’ poor life outcomes. Only approximately 20% of ASD people advance beyond school, e.g. achieve a diploma/certificate, bachelor degree or above, compared to approximately 58% for the general population. For those who attend school, 86% report difficulty fitting in socially, learning or communicating. Consequences include significant emotional and financial burden-of-care family costs.
Educator Skill Training through the ABIA
L4Life senior staff provide additional educator training workshops through ABIA, Victoria’s peak body for ABA delivery. These professional development programs focus on training for early childhood educators, teachers and integration aides on strategies and programs to help them effectively teach and interact with children with Autism.
‘I feel that we have been so blessed to have been given the opportunity to have Sarah join us this year. Her expertise and wisdom have been outstanding in providing guidance and support to our staff. There is nothing out there that comes close to the professional support that Sarah has provided. Every staff member has embraced her and her advice. We will miss Sarah next year but know that the professional learning that she has provided will continue to improve teaching and learning for years to come. Thank you so much for enabling this sensational initiative.’
-Averil Nunn, Principal, Southern Cross Primary School (Endeavor Hills, VIC)
‘The enduring benefit of the Inclusion Works Program is that the funds invested in the program have not just assisted the targeted students with ASD. The nature of the program has given our teachers the skills and understanding to apply what they have learned and experienced to future students in future classes. Unlike a one-day professional development seminar provided to the teachers about dealing with ASD, the teachers practice the skills they have learned each day with feedback and guidance provided weekly. Over the course of the program, how our staff effectively deal with students with ASD at our school has become second nature.’
—Vicky Draper, Principal, Alexandra Primary School (Alexandra, VIC)