When we’re working with parents or teachers of sick kids who are missing school, we often run into misconceptions about how the Disability Standards for Education (DSE) apply in this context. Still, the Standards play a pivotal role in ensuring that sick kids can remain connected with their schools, receive a quality education, and thrive socially despite their health challenges.
“This workbook is for students with disability. It guides readers on how to set up reasonable adjustments for their time in education. The resource was co-designed by students with disability and their parents and caregivers.”
~ Commonwealth Department of Education
“The Disability Standards for Education in Practice: Action Plan” – expertly produced by the Commonwealth Department of Education – is a guide outlining seven steps to partnering with your child’s school to set adjustments needed for your child to fully participate in their education.
One of the central principles of the DSE is “reasonable adjustment”. Like installing wheelchair ramps to improve accessibility, schools have to make reasonable adjustments to support sick kids with continuity of education during their absences. We know this can be tough for schools and families when the student isn’t physically there.
To help families navigate this with schools, we are highlighting the “Action Plan”. It’s a handy guide that parents can follow by engaging teachers and school personnel. There are companion resources for teachers in the same area of the Commonwealth Department of Education website. Communication, consultation, and collaboration is what helps the student win and eases management for others.
The 7 steps in the guide are:
Step 1: Research the process
Understand the school’s adjustment process, including timelines, required evidence, forms, contacts, and available support.
Step 2: Gather evidence
Collect relevant documentation, such as medical certificates or letters from professionals who have provided support.
Step 3: Set up a meeting
Choose a communication method, schedule a meeting, and note attendees, date, time, and location.
Step 4: Prepare for the meeting
Create a checklist and agenda, prioritising tasks and discussion points.
Step 5: Have the meeting
Follow the agenda, take notes, collaborate on a plan, and clarify responsibilities and additional requirements.
Step 6: Take action
Support agreed adjustments, track progress, and communicate with the school.
Step 7: Change or renew adjustments
Follow the same steps to check and change plans as needed. This will make sure they still work well and meet the requirements for updating individual plans.
If you’re a parent or a teacher of a seriously sick student, we encourage you to check out the full Action Plan and other resources. If you try them, let us know!
If you need support and would like to chat through the steps, please contact the MissingSchool Helpline at 1300 237 234.
Every action moves us closer to the finish line: a world where every sick child is seen and heard. Don’t forget that you can make a tax deductible donation to MissingSchool before 30 June and help end loneliness for sick kids.
There are many ways to help:
- follow along and cheer us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
- share this newsletter with your family, friends, or colleagues so we can reach more sick kids, and
- donate towards getting a seriously sick child back into their classroom.
Every action moves us closer to the finish line: a world where every sick child is seen and heard.
Let’s keep connecting.