Distance Education

Students with autism may need to undertake distance education from home if placement at a mainstream school is not working. This can be due to behavioral concerns, bullying, anxiety, depression or stress or just not coping with school.
• Distance education provides course work and study materials for students aged Prep to Year 12 in Victoria.
• Students can access the materials online or via print/audio.
• Students have access to tutors via email or phone if needed.
• Distance education provides the young person with autism a way to keep up their studies at home when things at school just aren’t working.
• Distance education is different to homeschooling as the coursework and teaching materials are supplied and the work is assessed by teachers at the distance education center.
• When a person is homeschooled their parent is completely responsible for the child’s entire education including assessment and curriculum. (for more information on homeschooling see homeschooling)

Eligibility
To be eligible to study through Distance Education Victoria the student must meet one of the eligibility criteria-
• Distance- the student is physically distant from local school
• Medical – the student has a chronic health, social/emotional issues that precluded them from being able to attend school
• School referral – the student is referred via their school for distance education
• Traveller- the student is unable to access regular school because they are travelling
• For further information on the guidelines – http://www.distance.vic.edu.au

There is an enrollment fee for distance education and parents /carers are expected to cover the postage costs of learning materials.

Student support-
If additional support for student wellbeing is required, Support is available through student support teachers at the Distance Education Centre.

Contact
Distance Education Centre Victoria
315 Clarendon Street Thornbury
Australia, 3071
Ph: 61 3 8480 0000
toll free: 1800 133 511
fax: 61 3 9416 8493

http://www.distance.vic.edu.au/

Home Schooling

There are a number of reasons why a child with autism may need to be home schooled.
The child or adolescent may not be able to cope with the social and sensory demands of school. They may have been subject to a considerable amount of teasing or bullying or may suffer depression or other mental health or behavioural concerns that make attending school difficult.

What is homeschooling?
• A person is considered to be homeschooled when they are withdrawn from or never enrolled in the mainstream education system and their parents/carer/grandparent or significant person takes total responsibility for that child’s education at home. The child is registered with the Victorian Registrations Qualifications Authority as being home schooled. Home schooling is different to distance education.

• Homeschooling requires a significant commitment and an investment of time and effort to educate the child. The parent is completely responsible for the entire education of the child.

• The homeschooling parent will be with the child for the majority of time during the day, which can lead to a great deal of stress. Access to respite and other services to support the family will be critical.

• When homeschooling, a set curriculum is not followed or submitted but records of the work completed should be kept. Parents set the curriculum and source the learning materials.

Parents take responsibility for the delivery of their child’s education including curriculum and assessment and must cover the 8 key learning areas

The Arts
English
Health and Physical Education
Languages other than English
Mathematics
Science
Studies of Society and Environment
Technology

In Victorian schools the curriculum and 8 learning areas are covered by the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) The VELS describe what every child from grade prep to 10 needs to learn about.
To get more information on the VELS visit www.vels.vcaa.vic.edu.au 
Parents responsible for home schooling must abide by the principles consistent with Australian democracy including
• Elected government
• Rule of law
• Equal rights for all before the law
• Freedom of religion
• Freedom of speech and association
• The values of openness and tolerance

In Victoria all children age 6-17 years must be enrolled in school or if home schooling be registered with the VRQA

Contact the VRQA on 9651 3293 or
http://www.vrqa.vic.gov.au/registration/homeschooling/default.htm

How does it work?
• Before removing your child from, school you must register with the VRQA which can take up 14 days.
•You can then withdraw your child from school.

•It may take the child some time to adjust to not being at school, however for some children with autism it will be a relief to not have to deal with the extra social and sensory pressures of school.

•Some children with autism may need a more structured routine with home education so careful planning of the structure of the day will be needed.

•Some families run structured lessons with time devoted to each subject area, other have a more natural learning approach where parent support learning in the areas that the child is most interested in.

•Home schooling families can meet with others for socialisation, outings and camps to supplement learning activities.
•Visits to libraries, museums, zoos and other community facilities and attractions are also recommended to supplement learning.

Partial enrolment-
Home schooled children are eligible for a partial enrolment in their local school for specific activities or classes if the principal and parents can come to an agreement.
Fees can be charged for the particular activities and classes the child attends.

Making it work
To ensure the success of a home schooling program the following components are important-

• Socialisation and other educational opportunities for the home schooled child are important. Making links with other home schoolers and home schooling support groups will be critical to the success of a homeschooling program, see links at the bottom of this page for further information.

• Appropriate learning environment-The advantage of home schooling a child with autism is that the environment can be tailored to support the child’s particular learning, sensory and therapy needs.

• An environment which is well organised, free of clutter, distractions and things that cause sensory issues is important. A space where the child can engage on appropriate sensory play, downtime and physical exercise is also important.

• Having access to appropriate resources is also key to a successful program. Resources that are educational, interactive and fun help support learning at home. Home schooling support groups will have many ideas on appropriate resources and support materials, or you can access more formal resources through the education department.

Homeschooling parents may purchase learning packages from the DECV to assist them in the education of their child.
http://www.distance.vic.edu.au/
Financial support
• Parents who are homeschooling children in grade prep or year 7 are eligible to receive the School Start Bonus

• Low income Parents who are homeschooling their children are NOT eligible to receive the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

• Registered home schooled children are NOT eligible to receive youth allowance you must be studying to receive a qualification in a registered training organisation to do so.

Before you consider home schooling;
• Contact the education department, home schooling support groups and do some research.

• Consider the substantial commitment and amount of time required.

• Consider the impact on you, your family and your relationships.

• Do you have the space, time and resources required?

• Are you willing to be responsible and accountable for the entire education of your child?

• Are there any other alternatives to withdrawing your child from school- i.e. part time school, other community based programs?

• Will this enhance the relationship between you and your child or is it likely to cause major tension or disruption?

• Is this something your family can afford?

Further information;

Department of Education-

http://www.education.vic.gov.au/aboutschool/enrolling/homeschool.htm

Home education information sheet

http://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/vrqa/homeschooling-registrationsupport.pdf

Information and resources

www.education.vic.gov.au/teacher

www.education.vic.gov.au/primary

www.education.vic.gov.au/secondary

www.education.vic.gov.au/languagesonline

Victorian school of languages –

Home schooling students can access programs and resources
www.vsl.vic.edu.au or telephone (03) 9474 0500.

Home education network
http://www.home-ed.vic.edu.au/
http://www.home-ed.vic.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/InfoSheetweb.pdf

List of home schooling support groups
http://www.homeschool.com/supportgroups/Australia/default.asp?State=all&b2=View+Groups

Post School Transition

What can my son do when he finishes secondary school?

Options for people with autism after finishing secondary school are largely based on the preferences, abilities and support needs of the person with ASD and their family.

Generally the main options are
• Further Study at University, TAFE or a community centre.
• Work- Mainstream, supported or voluntary
• Day activity options – either through a disability service provider in a group setting or as an individual in the community.

Further Study
• Some young people with ASD will want to continue into some kind of post school education such as TAFE or university.

• This is generally an option if the person is high functioning and enjoys educational challenges.

• Courses that are suitable for a person with ASD may also be found in smaller venues such as neighbourhood or community centres and through private education providers and organisations.

• The person may also be able to undertake further study off campus at home which is a good option if social or sensory issues create extra pressures.

• Further study can work well for a person with ASD if they have the right supports and are studying a course or area which interests them.
For further information on university/ tafe got to
Tertiary pages

Work
Work is an option for people with ASD depending on the skill set, interests, work ethic and needs of the person.

There are 3 types of paid employment
Open employment
• Employment in the mainstream market, earning a regular wage without assistance.

• This type of employment can be successful for people with ASD on the higher functioning end of the spectrum who may be able to get along with others and can hide their social and communication deficits.

• People in this type of employment tend to have specific skills and expertise and can focus on one area of work, often without having to interact with others- i.e. computer programming, research or other specific work.

• Girls with high functioning autism may blend into mainstream work better than boys with autism often going into specific areas such as psychology, teaching or other intellectually skilled professions after completing further study.

Supported wage mainstream
• A person with ASD may find employment with a mainstream provider- such as a supermarket -and be paid a supported wage
• A supported wage is when the person is paid at level that is representative of the work they are completing.

• The person may also receive support through a job agency to help find them the job, prepare for work- i.e. training with conduct, grooming, and travel and help them to retain their job.

• The employer may get a government payment as an incentive for employing the person with ASD.

Disability Supported Employment
• People with ASD who are able to work but require support can engage in what is known as Supported Employment if they are in receipt of a Disability Support Pension and a place at a business which provides supported employment is available.

• Supported Employment is provided by disability support agencies that run a business where employees have a disability and earn a small wage that is offset by the Disability Support Pension.

• Employees work under supervised conditions and training is provided.

• Supported employment is a fantastic opportunity for people with ASD or other disabilities to complete valued work and gain skills in a supervised environment.

• For more information about supported employment contact your local adult disability support service, disability employment agency, Centrelink or the Department of Human Services

Voluntary Work
• For people with ASD that may not yet be able to find paid work and want to contribute to the community, voluntary work is an option.
• Voluntary work helps the person with ASD build their independence, work and social skills and participate in the community.

• Voluntary wok is available through many community organisations and a range of roles may be suitable for a person with ASD depending on their skills, abilities and interests.

• There are many volunteering organisations across Australia that can support people who wish to volunteer.

• For more information on volunteering in the Barwon region contact Volunteering Geelong 52 21 13 77 or visit http://www.volunteeringgeelong.org.au/home

Ups and downs of work
Often people with ASD are great employees – they are punctual, rarely take sick days, have a great eye for detail and can complete repetitive tasks very well.
The other areas of work life are more difficult for a person with ASD –
• talking to or getting along with workmates, customers or clients,

• dressing appropriately

• knowing how to deal with unexpected situations

• avoiding work place bullies

• knowing how to talk to their boss

• knowing how to ask for help, and who to ask or feeling too embarrassed to ask for help if trying to hide difficulties.

• Being organised, negotiating public transport and other day to day hassles of getting to and from work.

Other options
Day Activities/ Community Support Options
• For those individuals with ASD for whom work or study is not an option and who require disability or autism specific support there are disability services available in the community who support individuals with ASD.

• These services offer training, adult education courses, leisure, social health and wellbeing based activities.

• These services can tailor support to suit the needs of the individual with ASD and services are provided in a group settings or as an individual in the community.

• Funding for day activity services and community activities is provided (if the person meets eligibility criteria) via The Department of Human Services.

• When choosing a support service with your son or daughter it is important to visit the service, have a tour of the facilities and discuss the needs of your son or daughter and the programs on offer.

• Your son or daughter may be able to undergo a transition program to sample some of the programs and experience what the service offers.

• Similarly to choosing a school, it is important that you feel comfortable with the atmosphere, staff and programs available.

For further information on day activity options
Contact the Department of Human Services on 1800 783 783
Or got to www.dhs.vic.gov.au/disability

A planner will speak with you to discuss options available to you in your local community. Whichever post school options you choose it is important that the person with ASD will be supported and have flexibility available so the person with ASD can participate in the life of the community as independently as possible.

Tips for post school transition
1. Get ready early
Starting your transition planning as early as possible is a top priority.
2. Get the big picture
Think about your goals and interests, and how your disability may affect your future
study or work.
3. Get connected
Make connections with people who can help your transition.
4. Get to know your options
Research different post-school options and identify realistic ones for you.
5. Get the skills
Identify the skills you will need for future study and work – which do you have and how
can you develop others?
6. Get organised
Being organised and managing your time effectively can make a big difference.
7. Get support
Think about where you can get support from and the types of support you may need.
8. Get involved
Gaining new and different experiences will help a lot in the future.
9. Get to know your rights and responsibilities
Learn about your rights in education and employment and how they are protected
10. Get confident
Practice standing up for yourself and taking responsibility

Tips for post school transition from Western Sydney National Disability Coordination Officer Program
Get ready for study and work booklet