Developmental Educators

A Developmental Educator is an allied health professional who specialises in supporting clients develop their functional life skills (such as social skills, communication, daily-living and more), goal-setting, and physical and emotional well-being. They can also undertake functional behavioural and developmental assessments, and positive behaviour support programs. Our professional and compassionate Developmental Educators are able to support you with a wide range of situations.

Developmental Educators undertake a university degree in Developmental Education and Disability Studies and are registered allied health specialists with the Developmental Educators Australia Incorporated (DEAI) and the NDIS.

Developmental Educators are able to provide multi-disciplinary therapy options, which means that client goals and interventions can cross into areas that other therapies may also support, such as Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, Psychology, and Physiotherapy. This flexible approach means that Developmental Educator's are able to adapt their therapy as required, in order to best support their clients priorities and goals. Ultimately, Developmental Educators are able to facilitate therapy and support to assist you and your loved ones to grow and thrive in way that is meaningful to to you, your needs, and the people and places you connect with.

What can Developmental Education include?

Developmental Educators are able to provide many different therapy options, considering not just the individual, but their wider environment and existing supports, in order to achieve their goals.

In practice, Developmental Education can include:

  • Individual and/or group therapy sessions to learn new skills.
  • Providing strategies to stakeholders to better understand the client’s disability and support needs.
  • Home and school programs and resource ideas
  • Undertaking developmental, functional capacity and behavioural assessments
  • Prescription of low-cost assistive technology such as sensory tools (headphones, fidgets) or items to assist with independent living.
  • Teaching functional life skills to support in areas such as social, communication, self-care, daily living, recreation, sensory, school, and employment.
  • Assisting people with disabilities to set and attain individual goals.
  • Working and liaising with families, service providers, allied health professionals, and community members to enhance the choice, social inclusion, and quality of life for people with disabilities.
  • Facilitating self-advocacy and / or advocating on behalf of people with disabilities.
  • Supporting individuals with disability to transition to access and maintain meaningful vocational experiences.
  • Helping families, caregivers and individuals with disability understand the impact of disability on a person’s daily functioning.
  • Promoting the physical and emotional well-being of people with disability.

Developmental Educators are also able to undertake assessments such as:

  • Functional Capacity Assessments
  • Sensory Processing Assessments
  • Developmental Assessments


Who can Developmental Educators work with?

At Novita, Developmental Educators are able to work with clients of all ages to support them to achieve their goals, participate and connect with the community, and to develop relevant skills to support their functional capacity in day-to-day life. They are able to work across a wide range of delays or disabilities, such as

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
  • Developmental Delay / Global Developmental Delay
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Genetic or chromosomal disorders
  • Physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy (CP) muscular dystrophy, or spina bifida
  • Acquired disabilities.

Regardless of age and disability, Developmental Education therapy services at Novita will be tailored to address all areas of each individual client’s specific needs across all settings.


How does a Developmental Educator work with you?

Our Developmental Educators are highly trained professionals with specialised degrees in Disability Studies. We work with you to create a client-centred approach that will develop your skills and support the goals you have set. They will assess your situation, and develop a plan according to your strengths, in collaboration alongside your support network and other allied health professionals and practitioners you might be accessing. Many Developmental Educators are also trained in Positive Behaviour Support and can undertake behavioural assessments.

Our Developmental Educators work in a diverse range of areas, with outcomes such as:

  • identification of environmental and personal factors in behaviours of concern,
  • advocation for people living with disability, and promotion of human rights such as accessibility,
  • improving knowledge and understanding of disability,
  • supporting clients with developing healthy routines,
  • supporting clients through transitional periods through life, such as when leaving high school,
  • identifying systemic barriers in an individual’s environment, and developing strategies to overcome them,
  • reducing risks related to social exclusion, exploitation, and abuse


What outcomes do Developmental Educators work towards?

Developmental Educators are able to assist their clients build competence in many ways. Some these areas of development include:

  • Development of self-esteem, emotional regulation, and understanding of internal emotions including mental health
  • Sexual education and self-identity
  • Sleep and toilet training
  • Parent coaching
  • Social skills
  • Sensory regulation
  • Fine and gross motor skill development
  • Functional Capacity / Independent Living skills – self-care and daily living skills
  • Periods of transition (for example moving from primary school to high school, or moving house, etc)
  • Developing communication and language skills.


Developmental Education FAQS

What is the difference between an Occupational Therapist and a Developmental Educator?

You may have worked with an Occupational Therapist or a Developmental Educator before and noticed that supports can appear quite similar! While there are many areas where Developmental Education and Occupational Therapy tend to overlap and much of what a Developmental Educator and an Occupational Therapist can do can often appear to be the same or similar support some areas that are generally Occupational Therapy specific would-be supporting clients with Complex Equipment Needs such as Wheelchair Prescription or Home Modifications.


Can I see my Occupational Therapist and a Developmental Educator at the same time?

Yes, you can! Many individuals on the NDIS are supported or have been supported by a Developmental Educator and an Occupational Therapist at the same time. The important thing to remember is that your Occupational Therapist and Developmental Educator must ensure they are not overlapping or duplicating services and working on the same goals. This might mean that your Developmental Educator focuses on goals or skills related to emotional regulation, social skills, or sensory regulation/support, while your Occupational Therapist might focus on fine/gross motor skills, the prescription/use of Assistive Technology related your physical support needs, or the adaptation of functional tasks or skills for you in your environment.

If you are seeing a Developmental Educator or an Occupational Therapist and are curious or wanting additional support, remember to let your therapist know so you can openly discuss which goals they will support you with and which goals can be supported by another practitioner. This can ensure that your therapy and support remain complementary to each other and not duplicated or exhausting funding.


What NDIS funding line does a Developmental Educator access?

Developmental Educators can assist under NDIS using the Improved Daily Living Budget.


How can I access a Developmental Educator at Novita?

If you’d like to book in an appointment with a Developmental Educator, you can speak with someone in our friendly team on 1300 668 482 or visit our Contact Us page for more ways to get in touch. You can access Developmental Education services across metro and regional areas.