Services - in schools

Classmates working togetherWhen a child starts school, they move to a new environment where they will spend a considerable amount of time.

With this in mind, Novita services concentrate on helping the school to get to know the child so that they can meet the child’s needs.
Also, services usually change from providing the child with individual therapy, to providing training and support within the educational setting. Services become less intensive compared to the early years, with the number of visits usually reducing.
Support can be provided to the school, home or relevant community environment.

On this page

How Novita staff help children in schools

Novita provides support through the child’s school as well as at home, relying heavily on parents and school staff to let Novita know when assistance is required. Novita staff are 'guests' in a school and therefore only provide help as discussed and agreed with the school. Novita staff help the child fully join in with school life by:

  Read about support for Ryan at school

Top of page contents

The child’s school record details of the educational program for children with disabilities in a:

Novita therapists are often asked to attend and participate in planning meetings organised to develop the plans.

Top of page contents

Team Approach Schools

In response to feedback received from families, staff and schools the Special School Team Pilot Program was developed in 2009 to improve services to clients with complex needs attending some special schools and some mainstream schools.

From feedback gained from schools, parents and Novita staff it was determined that this program was successful and the Child and Adolescent Service implemented a stream of service delivery known as Team Approach Schools. CAS Team Approach Schools (PDF - 107kb)

Team Approach Schools are identified special schools or units that have a cluster of Novita clients attending the school. There is an allocated team of therapists to the school including physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech pathologists.

Clients of the special school will be able to request the same sorts of services as before, and they may still access services from the Physical Rehabilitation Program.

Top of page contents

What if my child attends a school that is not a Team Approach School?

Your child will receive the full range of Novita services for Child and Adolescent Service clients if your child attends another school. Read the   Child and Adolescent Service Factsheet (PDF - 105kb)Contact your key worker regarding requests for service or any queries. If your child attends a school that is not a Team Approach School, they will not have therapists assigned to the school, but Child and Adolescent Service will try to allocate the same staff member to address your child’s needs. This will be balanced with the urgency of the request. If the request is urgent, the next available clinician may be allocated to address your request. Child and Adolescent Service staff will try to discuss this with you. If a “multidisciplinary approach” (eg Physio, OT & SP) is required to address a need a team of clinicians can be allocated to work on this with you and your child.

The Special School Team is based at Parafield Gardens and is a service of the Child and Adolescent Service.

Further information

You can obtain further information about Novita’s Child and Adolescent Service by contacting Team Leaders:
Telephone: (08) 8182 1000 or 8172 9200
Email: child&

Top of page contents

How physiotherapy can help

Physiotherapists provide information and training to school staff regarding mobility and physical issues. Some of examples include:

  • Physio with student at schoolproviding suggestions to ensure that the child can move about during play at lunch and recess breaks
  • providing Occupational Health and Safety suggestions for staff when lifting and transferring children. This may be recorded in a Transfer and Positioning care plan. Read more details in the fact sheet   Transfer and Positioning Care Plans (PDF - 45Kb)
  • providing information on how to use mobility equipment, such as walkers and wheelchairs
  • providing information on how to use other equipment, such as standing frames and Ankle Foot Orthoses
  • providing advice for issues with sport and physical education
  • providing advice about mobility and equipment related to school excursions or outings.

Top of page contents

How occupational therapy can help

Occupational Therapists provide support for a wide variety of activities that occur at school. The occupational therapist’s goal is help the child become as independent as possible with tasks at school. This may take the form of simple suggestions or providing equipment to help improve independence. Some of the areas in which occupational therapists can help include:

  • hand skills - cutting, pasting, drawing, handwriting
  • Computercomputer use 
  • toileting and using toilet equipment - this may include the provision of a continence care plan 
  • technology use 
  • play 
  • mealtimes 
  • accessing the school buildings safely.

Read more about how occupational therapists work.

 Disclaimer: This information is for general use and you should talk to the relevant therapist before using it with a particular child.

Top of page contents

Speech pathology support

Public schools

Novita speech pathologists provide assistance for students in public schools, but not in all circumstances. To receive assistance, students must be registered with Novita, and the difficulty they are experiencing must be due to their physical disability. This includes things such as:

If students in public schools have the following difficulties, speech pathologists from Department for Education and Children's Services (DECS) (see the Related External Links list  - this page) can provide services:

Novita does NOT provide speech pathology services to these students.

Children who have difficulties with stuttering or how they use their voice for speaking may be referred to a hospital or community health service that has special training in the treatment of these difficulties.

Top of page contents

Private schools (Catholic Education and Independent schools)

Students registered with Novita who go to private schools (see the Related External Links list  - this page) may receive:

  • Full services for those areas within which Novita speech pathologists have special training (see public schools information above)
  • Consultative Novita speech pathology services for areas where support would be provided by the Department of Education and Children's Services (see public schools information above )

Students not registered with Novita

Novita may be able to provide some speech pathology services to the following groups of children even if they are not registered with Novita:

  • Students who do not have an intellectual disability and are included in a typical school situation who may benefit from the use of a voice output communication device
  • Students who are registered with Intellectually Disabled Services Council (see the Related External Links list  - this page) and who may benefit from the use of a voice output communication aid or device

These children are registered with Novita for limited speech pathology services only.

Novita provides augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) assessment, prescribes any special equipment required and develops a program to support the child, for people not registered with Novita, on a fee for service basis.

Top of page contents

How Novita speech pathologist can help

Novita speech pathologists help children and teachers to think about how they can encourage a child who has difficulty with understanding or communicating to join in and be a full part of the school life. This can take the form of:

  • training staff about the childs communication system
  • helping the child improve their communication skills
  • mealtime Assessments and providing Oral Eating and Drinking Care Plans. View the fact sheet   Oral Eating and Drinking Care Plan (PDF - 54Kb)
  • training staff about how to implement an Oral Eating and Drinking Care Plans
  • helping identify opportunities for communication at school
  • identifying and helping to overcome barriers to successful communication

Novita speech pathologists base their input on the Participation Model of communication intervention. Read the fact sheet  The Participation Model for Assessment of AAC (PDF - 41Kb)

 View the Speech Pathology Services in Schools Factsheet (PDF - 124kb)

Top of page contents

Frequently asked questions

I'm not sure if my child will cope at our local school - can you help?

The Novita team can help you to work out what your child's needs will be at school. They will look at the school surroundings and help you to come up with ways to solve the problems that concern you. They can also talk to the school staff to help your child get the most out of the school day and give advice about any equipment needs that may arise.

I'm not sure that my child is able to cope with moving about the school at lunchtimes - how can I be sure that her teacher is aware of the issues around her disability?

The child's Novita team can meet with the teacher to talk about her needs and what she is able to do for herself. They can talk to her teacher about the many things that may effect the way she copes with her school day. This may be to do with things such as moving around the school, using play equipment, using computers or communicating with teachers or friends.

 View the Services to School Aged Children factsheet (PDF - 40Kb) 

Video clips about children in school settings

The following video clips feature a special education teacher and several parents talking about children with disability and schools.


 Girl and boy reading

 View video clip about children with disability in mainstream school (this link loads a page that commences streaming of a 11Mb MOV file of 3 minutes, 18 seconds duration - a text description and transcript of the video is provided).


 Chris Mudge - photo

 View video clip about school choices for children with disability (this link loads a page that commences streaming of a 7.9Mb MOV file of 2 minutes, 22 seconds duration - a text description and transcript of the video is provided).


Disclaimer Detail: The information on this website is of a general nature only and does not constitute advice. Novita Children's Services makes no representations as to the accuracy, usefulness, suitability or application of the information to a child's particular circumstances. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the information. In using this site, you are agreeing to the Terms and Conditions of Use for the site.


Action Plan - Catholic Education

A detailed plan for how services are to be provided to a student with special needs in Catholic Education Office schools and preschools, developed by the school with parents and others who support the child.

Consultative service

An indirect service where advice and information is given to someone who is directly involved in supporting a person needing assistance or services.


Unfair treatment, based on the disability, race, sex or other characteristic of a person.


Entitled or allowed to receive something (such as a service).


To begin something.

Intellectual disability

An intellectual level significantly below average (assessed IQ less than 70), occurring before the age of 18 years. This must be combined with related limitations in two or more of the following areas: communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community awareness, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure & work.


The way things or people relate to each other.


Ability to move around either by walking, or using a wheelchair.


Demonstrating or showing how to do something by example.


Changes that need to be made to an item.

Negotiated Education Plan

A detailed plan for how services are to be provided to a student with special needs in a government school or preschool, developed by the school with parents and others who support the child.

Occupational Performance

The ability to understand, organise and carry out the roles, routines and tasks necessary in life.

Physical disability

A restriction or lack of ability that limits the person’s physical functioning.


Body position.


A written request for an item (such as an item of equipment) made out by a professional.


The part that a person plays in a group of people or in an organisation - for example, the role of boss in a company, or parent in a family.


The programs that can be used in a particular computer.

Student Support Plan

A detailed plan for how services are to be provided to a student with special needs in Independent schools and preschools, developed by the schools with parents and others who support the child.

Technology (for disability)

A broad term used to describe the special computer equipment, computer programs and add-ons available for people with disabilities. Technology can include environmental control devices, switches, mounting systems, computer hardware, accessories, educational and recreational software and communication devices.

Top of page contents