Education and Autism in Western Australia

Ed Support, SLPs and Mainstream Schooling

My gosh, where to start!! As a parent it’s very easy to feel a little lost and overwhelmed by the state education system and selecting a school can be daunting. Especially when this may be the first time your child will engage with a school how can you ever know what will be the right fit?

Here at Alyv we work alongside families and children from a variety of education backgrounds, from mainstream school users, Specific Learning Programs (Autism), Education Support Centres and Home Schooling families. We have learned a lot from the young people we work with and while the neurodivergent experience is unique to each person theres one thing we can be sure of… It’s 100% OK to not know what to do! And it’s OK to not get it right the first, second or third time either.

The school selection process doesn’t have any easily discernible “Right” or “Wrong” answers, so as a parent theres no way to know and this is not a reflection on you, it’s not because you have made a mistake and its not due to a lack of research, understanding or knowledge on your part.

All you can do is work with the resources and information you have and your in-depth understanding of your child’s needs and try to make all the cogs line up. Whats right or wrong for you will be a completely unique experience, so please don’t feel that the things that work or don’t work for others in any way impacts what your family needs.

So where do I start?

There is still no right or wrong answer to this, but if your feeling a little lost and overwhelmed by all the new terminology and concepts that come along with the Education Department and their services, you aren’t alone. Alyv have worked along side several Educational Advisory and Advocacy groups over the years and they have collectively gained an enormous knowledge bank of useful tips and handy tricks, they also include members who may be going through similar experiences to you and having a peer network for these challenges can be a game changer.

1. ACE WA (Accountability for Children in Education WA) Is a peer advisory and individual advocacy group with a strong Facebook presence. They have a public page full of useful resources and a members page where you can ask questions, read through previous posts and gain a deeper understanding of the services that are available within educational settings.

Click here to access a host of News articles and links to their social media and resources.

2. Square Peg Round Whole are a systemic advocacy group, meaning they do not offer individual advocacy to service users but rather advocate for the entire community of students, parents, carers and service users with the relevant schools and governing bodies. They have a wealth of information and resources and again a social media presence where you can get some great support and advice.

Click here for their facebook page and more information.

3. Developmental Disability WA (DDWA) offer individualised advocacy services for those needing support with a range of services including education. You can contact them directly and ask to be connected with an education advocate and their webpage also has a great library of information and resources available to members and the public.

Click here for more information about DDWA

4. The state education department has several pages where you can get more information about the services and settings they offer to students with disabilities. While theres a lot of information I have narrowed down a few pages to start with to get you started.

Click here for information on Mainstream Schools, Funding Allocations and Specialist Services

Click here for more information on Education Support Centres

Click here for more information about Specific Learning Programs (Autism)
(Please note that Alyv is aware this program is ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) based and we do not support or promote ABA in any way, what we do support is allowing people to make informed choices about the services they engage with)

Home Schooling

Home schooling is another option which will be overseen by the department of education. They have a team you can speak to and discuss your situation with if you would like more information on home schooling.

While home schooling has its pros and cons just like any other education option, it’s not always possible for some families who may have work or financial commitments and there’s many grey areas when it comes to NDIS as to what supports are the responsibility of the education department for the hours where a child would be expected to attend traditional schooling or education facilities.

At Alyv we support many families who are engaged in home schooling and I myself am currently home schooling my youngest son so can certainly tell some tales of the wild times we have had on our educational adventure! Thats a whole different blog post though so in the mean time I’ll leave you the link for the home school team at DoE here and let you assess your options.

Support for you!

While it may feel overwhelming and stressful at times please remember to take care of yourself through this process too! Self care isn’t selfish, it’s an essential part of providing support and services to our loved ones!
Self care is one of the most important parts of being a carer and its also something that causes feelings of guilt and shame when we put ourselves first, this is a very real experience and it doesn’t mean that its the wrong thing to do.

Self care can look different for each person, so there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Here’s some ideas to help inspire some self care for today!

  • Meditation
  • Reading a book or magazine
  • Cat videos on TikTok
  • Paint your nails
  • Take a bath or an extra long shower
  • Take a walk
  • Make your bed with fresh linen
  • Spend some time with your pets

These won’t work for everyone, but hopefully something there inspired you to do something little that you enjoy for yourself today!

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