At a recent parent support group meeting, our discussion covered anxiety medication, home-schooling, monologues, and the all important process of requesting additional assistance at school.   This is one of the few times the word 'disability' is useful to our Aspies.  Below I've written a summary for the state school system in Victoria.

To comply with the Australian Disability Discrimination Act 1992all education providers must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate a student with a disability. According to the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development's Program for Students with Disabilities Guidelines for Schools 2014, some example adjustments include 'the delivery of instructions in writing rather than verbally, sitting at the front of the classroom, or taking regular breaks to get up and move limbs or stretch their back. Others require more substantial adjustments, such as assistance with self-care or intensive supervision.'

It is worth noting that the Disability Standards for Education 2005 apply to all students with a disability, not just those who are deemed eligible for support under the Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD), which provides targeted funding for students within the state school system.

Other state systems, Catholic and Independent schools have their own processes and programs, which I will be covering in my next book 'The Hidden Diffability: Aspergers At School'.

With the recent publication of the DSM-5, there has been much concern within the Aspergers community that support at school would be adversely affected. However, the new PSD Guidelines for 2014 include a program category for autism spectrum disorders, which now includes Aspergers.

To be eligible under the ASD category students must have:

  1. A diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder; AND
  2. Significant deficits in adaptive behaviour established by a composite score of two standard deviations or more below the mean on an approved standardised test of adaptive behaviours; AND
  3. Significant deficits in language skills established by a comprehensive speech pathology assessment demonstrating language skills equivalent to a composite score of two standard deviations or more below the mean.

 It all sounds pretty grim and severe, but it is worth talking to your child's teacher and health care professionals to see if your child might qualify. 

The Annual Round for applications closes on 19 July 2013. Applications will still be accepted after this for:

  1. students transferring from other school systems (including overseas and interstate)
  2. preps beginning in 2014
  3. students with a seriously deteriorating medical condition
  4. students with a seriously deteriorating behavioural condition, 'such that the student’s behaviour poses a significant safety risk to him or herself or others in the school'.


Supporting Evidence requirements for ASD

While it is the school's responsibility to gather the appropriate evidence, parents can help speed the process by providing copies of any assessments and reports they have. Your school may also be able to arrange for many of the reports required, such as the psychology and speech pathologist reports. However, if time is very short, you may be able to assist by arranging these reports privately, and using HCWA or other Medicare based funding. I cover funding methods and requirements in detail in The Hidden Diffability: Discovering Aspergers chapter 7 'Funding and Support'

  • A signed copy of the Application Summary Form
  • †A printed copy of the completed online Application Summary Form from Program for Students with Disabilities Management System 
  • †A Student Education Program Summary Statement (Goals and Strategies)
  • A covering letter from the Principal of the enrolling school
  • A multidisciplinary diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder* containing: 
    • † A paediatrician/psychiatrist report*
    • † A speech pathology report* 
    • † A psychology report*
  • †A signed report from a psychologist containing a current Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale (not more than one year old)
  • A signed report from a speech pathologist containing a current comprehensive speech pathology assessment (not more than one year old)
  • Current evidence/appropriate reports to support agreed Educational Needs Questionnaire level 

Items marked with * provided as part of a student’s original application remain valid and do not need to be re-submitted for a Year 6–7 Review.

For children who already receive funding and are moving to year 7 next year, the review process only requires:

  • A signed report from a psychologist, containing a current Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale (not more than one year old), AND
  • A signed report from a speech pathologist containing a current comprehensive speech pathology assessment (not more than one year old)


Please remember, even if your child does not qualify for additional funding under the PSD, you are still entitled to ask for 'reasonable adjustments' to be made, and for regular Student Support Group (SSG) meetings . Often these adjustments are not onerous for the teaching staff, and may benefit many other children in the classroom.   

To read more about the Program for Students with Disabilities, and about Student Support Group meetings, please see the DEEC's PSD Guidelines for 2014 or ask your school for guidance.

Good luck!


2016 Update - For more information on managing school with Aspergers, including funding, parent-teacher relationships, modifications, homework hassles and much more, take a look at my new book, 'The Hidden Diffability: Aspergers at School'