Specialist Services

The Department of Education provides the following specialist services to support the access, participation and engagement of students with disability in Tasmanian Government schools:

The purpose of the program is to support education staff to meet the diverse learning needs of students who have a primary cognitive delay with associated physical (gross and fine motor), sensory needs, and/or need support with activities of daily living.

Occupational Therapy/Physiotherapy consultants can provide:

  • Professional learning opportunities for education staff (teachers and teacher assistants).
  • Assistance for education staff with resource development (gross, fine and life skills programs)
  • Screening of students to assist teachers to cater for the learning needs of students (through programming advice), with a view to maximising their engagement and learning.
  • Providing other incidental support (e.g. addressing minor equipment needs)
  • Work with small groups of teacher assistants and students to demonstrate programming recommendations.

For further information, refer to the 2PS – Growing Capacity in Schools – Consultative Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Program Information sheet.

This program accepts referrals from schools. Staff can complete the 2PS Program Initial Contact Request form (staff only access).

Hearing Services (HS) support children and students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and their families. HS work with young people 0 to 18 years across the state.

HS help children and students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing access learning, play and the curriculum. Children can have extra teaching and learning programs and resources. Hearing Services employ specialist staff to work alongside children and their families.

Early Years (Birth to 4)

  • Ensure equitable access, participation and engagement in early learning
  • Support play, learning and child development
  • Support parents and families in understanding the diagnosis
  • Track progress
  • Support at Hearing Australia and audiology appointments if requested
  • Work in conjunction with NDIS providers
  • Ensure families are well connected to services to meet their child’s learning needs
  • Support and promote early sensory learning, communication and language skills
  • Support to access programs in their community including Launch into Learning (LIL), Early Childhood Education and Care (ECECs) and Child and Family Learning Centres (CFLCs)
  • Introduction to Auslan and assistive technology
  • Support families in the transition to school process
  • Support staff to build knowledge and capacity
  • Liaise with NDIS providers
  • Home visits and connecting families.

School Age

  • Ensure equitable access, participation and engagement
  • Support teachers to provide educational adjustments and develop learning plans
  • Support students in schools, including explicit and specialised teaching
  • Support student access to and provision of specialised supports and access to assistive technology for learning
  • Auslan interpreting in schools
  • Make recommendations to adapt and modify learning environments
  • Collaboration between service providers including NDIS
  • Support at Hearing Australia and audiology appointments if requested
  • Provision of resources and materials
  • Collaborate with and support family and students
  • Provide professional learning and capacity building to school staff.

Refer to the Accessibility Services Referral Form.

For further information , view the Hearing Services Brochure or please contact: Disabilityprograms@education.tas.gov.au

Inclusion and Access Coordinators (IAC) are committed to ensuring that students and disability have equal access to learning resources that will optimise their learning potential.

Inclusion and Access Coordinators work with school staff and specialists to determine access requirements for students. This may be in the form of transport assistance, assistive technology or physical access issues requiring structural modifications. IAC’s also facilitate professional learning for teachers, teacher assistants and specialists in areas such as technology, manual handling and other specific areas related to students with physical and medical issues.

For further information please contact: Disabilityprograms@education.tas.gov.au

The Inclusive Practice Team is comprised of the Manager Inclusive Learning, two Inclusive Practice Team Leads and 16  Inclusive Practice Coaches.

Inclusive Practice Coaches work alongside  School Support and Wellbeing Teams and Support Teachers to provide evidence based teaching recommendations for diverse learning needs.

Inclusive Practice Coaches are teachers with experience, knowledge and skills in:

  • Collecting, collating and analysing school data to identify those students with diverse and complex needs requiring coordinated support, including those with autism.​
  • Planning and monitoring for improved outcomes for identified students.​
  • Mentoring and coaching school staff in effective inclusive practices.​
  • Planning and delivering Professional Learning.​
  • Working with Support Teachers to provide advice and direction to teachers around teaching students with disability and additional needs, including those with autism.​
  • Assistance in navigating and accessing broader student support both within the DoE and with external providers and agencies.​

The Inclusive Practice Team partners with schools to support continual improvement in inclusive practice.

The Department of Education contracts Life Without Barriers to work across the state to support families of children with disability and schools.

Life Without Barriers provide a liaison and mediation service to support families and school staff develop positive and close working partnerships for children with disability in Tasmanian Government schools.

The Life Without Barriers (LWB) Education Team deliver this through a personal service, visiting families and schools as required and working with all parties to resolve problems or issues.

LWB can assist families and schools to:

  • Support the learning and educational development opportunities for children with disability
  • Build positive working relationships between schools and families of children with disability.

Life Without Barriers can accept referrals directly from families, schools or from Learning Services. The service is free to schools and families.

Referrals can be made via email to educationreferrals@lwb.org.au.

For further information, refer to the Education Liaison and Mediation Services flyer.

A brief Liaison and Mediation Postcard is also available for distribution to families as needed.

The Safe Homes, Families, Communities team provide support to students enrolled in Tasmania Government education settings who are impacted by family violence.

Safe Homes, Families, Communities teams support children affected by family violence in government schools and Child and Family Learning Centres by coordinating the care and support to children and families. Six professional support staff (including social workers and psychologists) are based across the state to provide practical support to school-based staff, children and families.

The teams work with staff in schools and Child and Family Learning Centres to build knowledge and understanding of the impact of family violence on children and to identify services and supports available to children and families. In consultation with school-based staff, Safe Homes, Families, Communities team members at times provide direct support to children.

For further information, refer to the Safe Homes, Families, Communities Action Plan.

We are committed to provide high-quality psychological services to foster optimal student access, participation and engagement with particular focus on literacy, numeracy & wellbeing.

All schools have access to a School Psychologist service to provide interventions for learning, engagement and positive student outcomes.

School Psychologists are nationally-registered health professionals (through AHPRA) who can translate findings from the science of Psychology into practical interventions to help students learn.

Services include:

  • Assessment and diagnosis of developmental, cognitive, social-emotional (mental health) and educational functioning to gain information that is useful for learning plans and educational adjustments for student engagement
  • Counselling, therapy and programs for students and schools
  • Consultation and collaboration with schools, staff, parents and other professionals and organisations
  • building capacity through professional learning for school staff.
  • Leadership, advice and support in response to crises and critical incidents that impact upon students, families and school communities
  • Creation of respectful and collaborative relationships within school communities.

For further information, refer to the School Psychologist Fact Sheet..

School social workers engage with students and school communities to promote access, participation and engagement and the well-being of students through inclusive practice and the celebration of diversity.

Social workers are professional practitioners who provide confidential counselling and support to students and their families around a range of issues. These may include relationships, mental health difficulties, stress management, attendance issues, and grief counselling and conflict resolution. They provide assistance for families/students at risk of harm (from self or from others) such as suicide, self-harm, child protection issues or risk of homelessness. Social work services can be accessed directly by families or students, or through a referral from school staff.

For further information, refer to the Professional Support Fact Sheet.

School speech pathologists provide interventions for learning, engagement and positive student outcomes.

Speech pathologists work with students who:

  • are difficult to understand when speaking
  • have difficulty with understanding language (eg. question, instructions)
  • have difficulty expressing themselves with words
  • stutter
  • have a husky, hoarse or nasal voice
  • have difficulty with eating and drinking
  • have a disability
  • have complex communication needs
  • have difficulty with literacy
  • have difficulty with social skills

Speech pathologists assess students and provide support through:

  • individual therapy
  • group therapy
  • home programs
  • individualised class programs
  • teacher assistant programs.

Speech pathologists work with class teachers, support teachers and teacher assistants to help students participate at school and achieve their educational goals. Speech pathologists also work closely with school psychologists and social workers. Some children will see a private speech pathologist outside of school. School speech pathologists will work with these providers to help children achieve the best outcomes.

For further information, refer to the School Speech Pathologist Fact Sheet.

The Student Wellbeing team provides support to students enrolled in Tasmanian Government education settings for whom there are safety and wellbeing concerns.

The Student Wellbeing teams comprise a principal leader and highly skilled social workers who play an important role in the Children’s Advice and Referral Alliance. They develop strong links with the Children’s Advice and Referral Service. Student Wellbeing team members participate in multi-agency coordination/collaboration forums focussed on assessing student safety and wellbeing needs and determining required supports and interventions.

Student Wellbeing teams work in collaboration with key school, professional support and Learning Services staff to provide intensive and targeted support around students with complex safety and wellbeing needs. They:

  • undertake complex case co-ordination where student engagement and wellbeing is impacted by child safety issues
  • support school staff to build understanding of the impact of trauma on children and families
  • work collaboratively with relevant agencies and organisations including Child Safety Services to improve outcomes for children.

For further information, refer to the Safe Homes, Families, Communities and Children and Youth Services.

The work of Support Teachers aligns with the Department Strategic plan across all priorities; access, participation and engagement, early learning wellbeing literacy and numeracy.

The role of Support Teachers is to:

  • Help optimise the educational opportunities, engagement and learning outcomes for students with the highest educational needs.
  • Enhance collaboration with other professional support staff to ensure expertise from a range of services.
  • Ensure learners have access to a relevant curriculum and effective instruction within a positive inclusive learning environment.

Support Teachers focus on working with classroom teachers to improve outcomes for students with disability or additional support needs.

Support Teachers regularly meet with specialist support staff, parents, school staff and other service providers to develop, implement and evaluate Learning Plan/personalising learning for students with additional support needs.

Vision Services (VS) supports children and students who are blind or have low vision and their families. VS work with young people 0-18 years across the state.

VS helps children and students who are blind or have low vision. access learning, play and the curriculum. Children can have extra teaching, learning programs and resources. Vision services employ specialist staff to work alongside children and their families

Early Years (Birth to 4)

  • Ensure equitable access, participation and engagement in early learning
  • Support play, learning and child development
  • Support parents and families in understanding the diagnosis
  • Track progress
  • Support at ophthalmology/optometry appointments if requested
  • Work in conjunction with NDIS providers
  • Ensure families are well connected to services to meet their child’s learning needs
  • Support and promote orientation and mobility, early sensory learning, communication and language skills
  • Support to access programs in their community including Launch into Learning (LIL), Early Childhood Education and Care (ECECs) and Child and Family Learning Centres (CFLCs)
  • Introduction to Braille and assistive technology
  • Support families in the transition to school process
  • Support staff to build knowledge and capacity
  • Home visits and connecting families.

School Age

  • Ensure equitable access, participation and engagement in education and learning
  • Support teachers to provide educational adjustments and develop learning plans
  • Support students in schools, including individual and specialised teaching
  • Support provision of specialised supports and access to assistive technology for learning
  • Make recommendations to adapt and modify learning environments
  • Collaboration between service providers including NDIS
  • Support at ophthalmology/optometry appointments if requested
  • Provision of resources and materials including large print, audio, braille
  • Collaborate with and support family and students to ensure coordinated supports for education
  • Provide professional learning and capacity building to school staff.

Refer to the Accessibility Services Referral Form.

For further information please contact: Disabilityprograms@education.tas.gov.au