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Professional development for educators

Educator sitting on the floor talking to a young girl with Down syndrome who is playing with an abacus.

Professional development for educators

Professional development regarding students with disability is important for educators as it helps ensure all students are supported and that education settings are more inclusive.

In Victoria there are many opportunities for educators’ professional development and school resources.

The rights of students with disability

The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) website provides a practical guide for educators to learn about:

  • The rights of students with disability
  • The reasonable adjustments that Australian law requires schools to make for students with disability
  • How to ensure reasonable adjustments are fair to individual students with disability
  • Working together with the student, their family and/or other associates.

More information can be found at Disability Standards for Education – NCCD.

NCCD also has free e-learning available on the Professional Learning Disability Standards for Education.

Accurate and current information on disability and medical conditions

It is important for educators to maintain up-to-date information about different disabilities and medical conditions to ensure all students are supported correctly. There are several resources available to help with this.

The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) factsheets

RCH Melbourne has developed Kids Health Info fact sheets to increase understanding of a child’s medical condition and/or treatment. All medical conditions and disabilities are listed alphabetically on the website linking to the relevant fact sheets.

Kids Health Information – Fact sheets – Royal Children’s Hospital

Epilepsy Smart Schools

The Epilepsy Smart Schools program was developed by Epilepsy Foundation and is supported by the Victorian Department of Education and Training. It supports teachers to provide a safe learning environment for students and ensure the needs of all students are met.

Schools can register as Epilepsy Smart by ensuring students with epilepsy have a current Epilepsy Management Plan or Emergency Medication Management Plan, completing Epilepsy Smart School training and by raising awareness of epilepsy.

Epilepsy Smart Schools

Disability-specific learning opportunities

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

OnLineTraining works with Departments of Education in Australia to create courses that support children and young people with special educational needs. A free short course on supporting children with ADHD is available.

Free short e-learning courses – OnLineTraining


Amaze offers educator training to enable them to support autistic students within their educational setting. Workshops can be tailored to suit the needs of the educator/school, consultative services are provided, and there are ongoing links and assistance upon course completion.

Training – Amaze

Cerebral Palsy Education Centre (CPEC)

CPEC provides professional learning for educators of students with cerebral palsy, offering online learning modules and workshops.

Workshops and training – CPEC

Communication support needs

Communication Rights Australia has an online toolkit for teachers and school staff about how to develop strategies to support students with little or no speech. It includes teacher checklists and information about communication methods, social supports, sensory processing, behaviour supports, and lesson planning.

Teachers’ toolkit for students with little or no speech

Down syndrome

Down Syndrome Victoria offers training sessions and workshops for educators of students with Down syndrome.

Training – Down Syndrome Victoria

Evidence for Learning

Evidence for Learning has a guidance report on how to make the best use of Education Support Officers. The report outlines how they can make a significant difference to the learning outcomes of students when they are used and supported effectively.

Making best use of Teaching Assistants – Evidence for Learning

Inclusive classrooms

The Victorian Deaf Education Institute has developed the Inclusive Classrooms professional learning program which focuses on the understanding, assessment and classroom support of students with diverse learning needs. There are facilitator-led blended learning courses and online e-learning modules.

Inclusive classrooms – Victorian Deaf Education Institute

Courses on offer:

  • Supporting Students with Autism
  • Supporting Students with Learning Difficulties including Dyslexia
  • Supporting Students with Oral Language and Learning
  • Supporting Students with Hearing Loss
  • Supporting Students with Vision Impairment
  • Supporting Student Behaviour
  • Human Rights Approach to Diversity and Inclusion (online e-learning module)
  • Supporting Students with Learning Difficulties including Dyscalculia (online e-learning course).


An online professional learning community developed by Autism CRC. There are free evidence-based and research-informed teaching practises and tools to create inclusive classrooms to support all learners. Learning covers classroom management, sensory considerations, home-school partnerships and transition planning.


Muscular dystrophy

Muscular Dystrophy Australia provides training sessions for educators to help understand what muscular dystrophy is and how to best integrate a student with muscular dystrophy into the education setting.

Training – Muscular Dystrophy Australia

Positive Partnerships

This is an initiative funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment. There are professional learning modules to assist educators to implement changes in their school settings, and create learning environments for all students, including those with autism.

Autism programs for teachers – Positive Partnerships

SPELD Victoria

Offers educational workshops and professional learning for educators of students with specific learning difficulties including dyslexia. Programs are designed to assist educators to support these students achieve their full learning potential.

Events – SPELD Victoria

Statewide Vision Resource Centre

Provides professional learning for educators to support Victorian students who are blind or have low vision. Each professional learning event provides opportunities to learn about the educational implications of blindness and low vision, including evidence-based teaching and support strategies.

Professional Learning Opportunities – Statewide Vision Resource Centre

Working with families

Student Support Group (SSG)

The Department of Education and Training has designed guidelines to support students with disabilities and additional learning needs.

SSG Guidelines – Department of Education and Training (Word)

The Student Support Group aims to:

  • ensure that those with the most knowledge of, and responsibility for the student, work together to establish shared goals for their education
  • plan reasonable adjustments for the student to access the curriculum and participate in their education
  • provide educational planning that is ongoing throughout the student’s school life
  • monitor the progress of the student.

Individual Education Plans (IEP)

Required for students receiving funding through the Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD). IEPs are also recommended for students with additional needs who require extra support with their education.

An IEP is a written statement that describes the adjustments, goals and strategies to meet a student’s individual educational needs so they can reach their full potential.

An IEP template is available at:

IEP Template – Department of Education and Training