The Support Planning Model

You are teaching the curriculum now and are achieving great student outcomes. The processes outlined are just a different way of utilising what you already know to achieve the same results for students with special needs.

Don’t worry, to help you along the way, specific, concrete examples and suggestions are provided throughout the Can-Do website as the process is described in detail, plus templates, links, hints and tips that will provide you with practical assistance at every stage.

A happy student with a crocodile toy

Step 1:
Take stock of what you have to build on

Remember, you already have all the tools, skills, knowledge and experience you need to succeed.

Your Building Blocks for Success

  • You understand the Disability Standards for Education and what they require of you.
  • You’re committed to ensuring learning is always rigorous, meaningful and dignified.
  • You know the three dimensions of the NSW Quality Teaching Framework and use them to shape your classroom practice.
  • You know and are already teaching the curriculum.
  • You’re well practised at differentiating the curriculum to meet the needs of different students.
  • You know what works best for you to achieve the best possible learning outcomes for your students, in your classroom, in your school, in your community.

Step 2:
Get to know your student

All your students are unique individuals with their own likes and dislikes, special interests and a specific set of needs.

Create a Student Profile

  • Write up everything you know about your student – gather copies of reports and health care plans, talk with former teachers and your principal, talk with the child’s parents or carers.
  • You want to know who the student is and how they learn, what they like, what they do not like, what upsets them, how they communicate etc.
  • Trust your own observations – students with disabilities often struggle to communicate but you can learn a huge amount about them and how they will learn best by paying close attention to the ways they behave and what they react to in different situations (remember all behaviour is communication)
  • Make it a living document – keep coming back to your profile to up-date and add to it as you gain a deeper and deeper understanding of the child and what works for them.
  • Example of a student profile document

Step 3:
Bring together your classroom practice and your student profile

Plan your class program, from the curriculum, as you always have, focussing particular attention on the Quality Learning Environment Dimension and the Significance Dimension. The Learning Environment will provide an understanding of the supports required for reduction of anxiety and enable the students to engage in learning. Students with a disability need to be motivated to engage in learning. The Significance Dimension helps make the learning meaningful and important to students.

Make Adjustments for Two Key Dimensions

Use this knowledge to address students’ needs in relation to these two dimensions. This will improve student engagement and increase student learning(intellectual quality)

  • Quality Learning Environment – what adjustments and supports can you put in place to help reduce anxiety, increase independence and promote engagement for your student?
  • Significance – how can you make learning meaningful and relevant, use the student’s strengths, and ensure that she or he is appropriately challenged and is fully engrossed?
  • Use all resources available to help you ensure students are achieving with the highest level of independence
  • Find our more about what Adjustments you can make

Step 4:
Review, revise, review and revise again.

Change and improvement will not happen over night; there are no one-size-fits-all answers. This is a cyclical process that involves plenty of trial and error. But with commitment, and given time, you can be confident that it will work for you.

Take It From the Top

  • When problems arise, start again. Review your building blocks. Revise and expand on your student profile. Consider what changes to adjustments and supports you can make to get your Quality Learning Environment and Significance dimensions right for your student. Then try again.
  • Try to think of setbacks as an opportunity to learn. You’re not starting from scratch. With every new setback you’re building on what you know. Trust that every time you need to tweak or change your adjustments you’re moving closer to your goal – improved student engagement and on-task behaviour.
  • Collaborative curriculum planning means all parties are involved in the planning and programming for the student and a whole school approach to supporting the child is imperative. Don’t try to go it alone.
  • Parents are a great resource. Talk to them as often as you can, formally or informally, to continually deepen your understanding of the child and how best to work with them in the classroom.