Service – in schools

When you send your child to school for the first time, they are entering a whole new world. With so much time spent at school, it’s important that your child feels comfortable in their new environment.

With this in mind, Novita services can help the school to get to know your child so that they can best meet his or her needs.

We can provide support to the school, home or relevant community environment.

This page is to help you understand the many ways Novita can provide in school support for your child.

How Novita staff help children in schools

Novita provides support through the child’s school as well as at home. 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:
• helping school staff understand a child’s abilities and needs
• working out with school staff how therapy ideas can be included in the educational program
• individual student development and support
• classroom development e.g. classroom setup, use of visual supports, routine support
• capacity building of people around the child ( parents, teachers, school service office)
• training school staff in:

o ways to lift
o how to use equipment
o effective positioning
o how to help with mealtimes
o how to develop communication
o regulating behaviour
o changes in routine
o sensory needs

You can devise a plan with the school based on your child’s needs at school. Novita therapists can come to the school with you and participate in planning meetings organised to develop the plans.
• Negotiated Education Plan (Public schools)
• Action Plan (Catholic schools)
• Student Support Plan (Independent schools)
How physiotherapy can help

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

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
• computer 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 the Occupational Therapy in Schools Factsheet (PDF – 793kb)
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.

Speech pathology support

Novita can provide your child with speech pathology support where:
• speech that is hard to understand due to the muscles that produce speech being affected
• speech that cannot be understood and where the student uses augmentative and alternative communication – especially students who need voice output or who use symbol systems
• eating and drinking difficulties
• problems with drooling and saliva control.
• 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:
• A delay or disorder in their use and understanding of language.
• A delay or disorder in their speech.
• Communication difficulties due to intellectual disability

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 child’s 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)

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 affect 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)

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.

Related external links
Association of Independent Schools of South Australia
This site provides information about the range of services, including services to support students with disability, provided by schools and colleges in South Australia that are members of the Association.
Catholic Education – South Australia
This site provides information about the range of services, including services to support students with disability, provided by Catholic Education via their many schools and colleges in South Australia.
Child Health and Education Support Services (CHESS) – South Australia
A website of the Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS) that provides information about childcare, health and disability services and research that support children with special needs in educational settings.
Department for Education & Child Development – Health Support Information page – South Australia
This page of the DECS site provides general information about how the Department caters for students who have complicated health needs. It is also possible to view and download the Health Support Plan used when planning support for such students.
Department for Education & Child Development – Student With Disability – South Australia
Provides parents and caregivers with a range of information relating to children with disabilities and learning difficulties and the supports provided by the Department.
Department for Education and Child Development – Negotiated Education Plan – South Australia
This page of the DECD site provides information the Negotiated Educational Plan for students with special needs.
Department for Education and Child Development – South Australia
The department provides educational services to children in South Australia.
Disability Discrimination Act – Education Standards (Australia)
Provides information designed to help users understand important parts of the Education Standards.
Learning Links – New South Wales
Provides practical information regarding children with learning difficulty for parents, teachers, psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists and family counsellors.
Project participate – United States of America
Provides families, educators, administrators and therapists with simple ideas that help students with disabilities in school programs join in activities with other non-disabled students.
Special Education Resource Unit (SERU) – Negotiated Educational Plan (NEP) page
Detailed information is provided about the NEP planning process used by the Department for Education and Children’s Services. To view the page, it is necessary to click on the NEP icon in the navigation bar on the left hand side of the screen.