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Waggrakine prides itself on creating an inclusive learning environment for all students. A high number of our students are diagnosed or imputed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. While the majority of our students on the Spectrum work within a mainstream setting each student’s needs are assessed individually and individualised programs are tailored to meet the needs of each child.
Discrete Trial Training (DTT) is a program where students work one on one with a teacher or education assistant for up to one hour a day, learning specific skills that are broken down into ‘discrete’ components. Our program is currently run by our Autism Specialist Teacher and our Lead Special Needs Education Assistant who have completed training in running DTT. Our children respond well to the one on one session that have constant positive reinforcements and breaks, making it very hands on and active. The child’s Special Needs Education Assistant attends the sessions with the child to assist both the children. A new facility was provided to the school in 2019 to ensure the success of the program, which has now assisted other schools to set up similar programs, through observations, sharing and training.
The characteristics of Autism include challenges with social skills, social interaction, speech and non communication and repetitive behaviours among others. Autism is a spectrum, hence no two children or adults on the spectrum have the same level of needs. As such each person on the spectrum will have their own strengths and challenges. Some children on the spectrum may need no academic interventions but may require supports in developing social and emotional communication. If you have any concerns about your child please talk to your GP.
In late 2020 four Geraldton schools with the support of the Education Department formed The Geraldton Lighthouse Model – Partnership of Schools to provide students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, targeted evidence based programs aimed at increasing age-appropriate academic engagement, organisational skills, social thinking, peer relationships and self-regulation within their local primary and/or secondary school setting and provide seamless transitions between educational settings. We look forward to the journey of working with our colleagues across Geraldton to be the best we can be. Waggrakine Primary School, Wandina Primary School, Geraldton Primary School and Champion Bay Senior High School, form the Lighthouse Model.
Waggrakine now has higher numbers of students on the spectrum than the average in WA schools with over 13% of students diagnosed with ASD. As a result we have developed a team specifically to address all of our students with a disability or at educational risk. Our SAER Team meets regularly to discuss student progress, parent communication, teacher and education assistant training and needs and the latest research and courses available to us. The team consists of:
Today there are many organisations that provide a range of resources, information, training or advise and support to families wanting to learn more. Here are some of the key organisations to go to for more information.
For support on challenging behaviours go to Challenging Behaviour and Autism
Aspect – Autism Spectrum Australia