🎈Transition to School for a child with a disability

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Preparation and planning can be even more important for children with disability or developmental delay so that necessary adjustments and supports are in place before they start school.

Early childhood educators should plan early and work with the

  • child’s parent/carer(s)
  • primary school
  • other early childhood professionals.

Enhanced transition planning

Enhanced transition planning for children with disability or developmental delay supports their continuity of learning and development.

Approaches to successful transitions may include:

  • starting transition planning early
  • using Program Support Groups (PSG)
  • completion of a Transition Learning and Development Statement gathering extra information about the child that needs to be given to the school.
  • sharing other relevant information to support the school to promote the child's wellbeing or safety by using the Information Sharing Schemes.
  • developing a relationship with the child’s new primary school.

Transition Learning and Development Statement (TLDS)

A Transition Learning and Development Statement gives schools relevant and timely information from early childhood professionals and families.

It makes sure schools have insights into the child’s learning and development before they start school, including information about the child’s wellbeing, interests, strengths and aspirations.

It may also include medical and child development documentation relating to the child’s additional needs. For example, test results, medical or diagnostic reports, behavioural triggers and the child’s strengths.

If a child has a disability or developmental delay the early childhood educator needs to complete the ‘1.2 Enhanced transitions for children with disability or developmental delay’ section of the Transition Learning and Development Statement. 

Information families might want to share with the school

Families are crucial in supporting their child’s transition to school and educators play a key role in encouraging them to share relevant information about their child.

Some things families may want to share include:

  • their child’s interests, strengths and abilities
  • what to do in an emergency
  • tips for their child’s day-to-day self-care
  • things that can help settle their children such as soothing movements and sounds
  • cues and prompts that help engage their child. For example, picture exchange cards
  • assessment reports about their child’s medical background and their early intervention history.

Information other services should share with the school

If the child received extra support during early childhood, such as through the Preschool Field Officer Program, Kindergarten Inclusion Support (KIS), or from allied health professionals, it is important this information is shared with the school.

Information may include:

  • potential adjustments needed
  • types of support needed such as assistance to hold objects
  • the child’s level of learning and development, and independence
  • things that can help settle their children such as soothing movements and sounds
  • the child’s preferred approaches to learning new things
  • skills the child has developed and skills they are working on.

What the primary school might need to know

Schools might want extra information that helps them understand a child’s needs. This may include:

  • the impact of a child’s disability or developmental delay on their learning
  • how the disability or developmental delay might affect their participation in learning
  • any key strategies to help the child settle into school and support their learning and development
  • programs supporting the child’s participation at kindergarten during the previous year(s)
  • additional supports that might help the child and family with a more successful transition to school.

Disability Inclusion

Disability Inclusion has been introduced to provide extra support for children with disability in Victorian government schools. It will be rolled out across Victorian government schools between 2021 and 2025.

Disability Inclusion introduces the Disability Inclusion Profile, a written description of children's strengths and needs at school, designed to help schools give children the support they need.

When a Disability Inclusion Profile will occur

Schools should work with early childhood settings, families, students, and other professionals to support a positive transition to school and ensure the necessary adjustments are in place to support the child as they commence school.

Schools that have started to transition to Disability Inclusion can complete Disability Inclusion Profiles for eligible students.

In most cases, it is best to complete the Disability Inclusion Profile once a student has started school.

Where a child is receiving ongoing support from an inclusion or disability support service in an early childhood service, schools can ask for a profile meeting to occur before the child starts school. 

The profile process is not compulsory for any student. It requires consent from the parent/carer(s). It is the responsibility of the school, with the parents, student, and Student Support Group, to consider whether to complete a profile.

The Disability Inclusion Early Childhood Toolkit can help early childhood teachers speak to parents and carers of children with disability to help them become familiar with Disability Inclusion in schools.

The Disability Inclusion Early Childhood Information for Families has information to help parents and carers of kindergarten children with disability as they move to primary school.

 

Suggested timelines for actions

Term 2 of kindergarten

  • School visits and enrolment. If the child has a disability or additional needs the school should be informed at enrolment to allow them time to plan an enhanced transition.

Term 3 of kindergarten

  • Information gathering. The Transition Learning and Development Statement can be used to support the gathering and sharing of key information.
  • Identification of key school contact. The school principal allocates a key contact to attend the Kindergarten-to-School Program Support Group meeting.

Term 4 of kindergarten

  • Update or completion of the child’s Transition Learning and Development Statement
  • School orientation visits. These give the child an opportunity to become familiar with the school and for parents to ask questions, tour the school.

Program Support Group meetings are held to discuss and plan for the support needs of the child during their transition and start to school

Term 1 of the school year

  • Student support group meeting. The school coordinates this meeting. Early childhood professionals can be invited.

 

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