Go to top of page

Improving support for children and students with autism

On this page

A range of improved support services will be introduced from 2023, including:

  • appointing an Autism Inclusion Teacher in every primary school
  • increasing the number of staff in preschools with qualifications in autism
  • exploring opportunities to offer more early childhood intervention services in children’s centres
  • supporting schools to sign up to the Autism Friendly Charter
  • providing more specialist staff in schools.

Autism Inclusion Teachers

An Autism Inclusion Teacher has been appointed in every public primary school (including reception to year 12 schools).

The Autism Inclusion Teacher:

  • provide support to their fellow educators on how to best support and educate students with autism
  • drive improved practice relating to autism that works for their school.

Autism Inclusion Teachers (AITs) will support children and young people with autism to have the best start to their schooling. The department will monitor the outcomes of the Autism Inclusion Teacher initiative to inform any future expansion of the role, including for high schools.

Progress so far

Since the start of 2023:

  • 422 AITs have been appointed across 428 sites (97% of all positions have been filled)
  • 408 AITs have already participated in the 2-day Positive Partnerships workshop
  • AITs have attended and engaged with network meetings and their network leads
  • AITs have received training in anxiety and the school experience for autistic students.

Autism Inclusion Teachers come from a variety of different backgrounds, with varying levels of experience and expertise in teaching autistic children. To enable every Autism Inclusion Teacher to succeed in the role, the department provides training, professional development, resources, information and support.

Staff in preschools with autism qualifications

To increase the number of staff working in our preschools with experience in autism, a qualification in supporting children on the autism spectrum (or equivalent experience) will be added as a preferred criterion when employing preschool staff.

This change will come into effect in 2023.

Early childhood intervention services in children’s centres

We’re currently exploring opportunities to partner with other service providers to increase the use of our children’s centres for delivery of more early childhood intervention services. This may include speech therapists, occupational therapists and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) support coordinators, who can help with therapeutic services.

Autism Friendly Charter

South Australia has a goal to become the Autism Friendly State.

We’ll work with our schools and preschools to sign up to an Autism Friendly Charter. The Charter will:

  • include online learning, tailored to the needs of our education sites
  • equip our staff with the knowledge, principles and support to be truly autism-friendly.

More specialist staff in schools

We’re employing 100 additional specialist staff to support our schools and preschools. This includes speech pathologists, occupational therapists, psychologists and counsellors, who will support children and young people with additional needs, including those with autism.

About person first language

This website uses person first language. The department recognises that there are people in the autistic community who prefer identity first language, people who prefer people first language and people who use the terms interchangeably.

Support and Inclusion Reform

Phone: 8226 0521
Email: education.autism@sa.gov.au