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Supporting children and students on the autism spectrum

On this page

This page outlines how education staff, care services, parents, guardians, and health professionals work together to manage a child or student on the autism spectrum in education and care settings.

About the autism spectrum

Autism is a condition that affects how a person thinks, feels, interacts with others, and experiences their environment. It is a lifelong disability that starts when a person is born and stays with them into old age. 

Learn more about autism including:

  • myths and misunderstandings
  • challenges
  • strengths and characteristics.

Health support plans and agreements

If a child or student has autism, the education or care service should refer to health support planning for children and students in education and care settings to ensure that the appropriate plans and agreements are in place. This is in addition to the autism-specific plans and agreements listed on this page. 

Support plan

An autism spectrum support plan – HSP430 (DOC 298KB) should be completed by education and care staff in collaboration with the child or young person and their family. 

The autism spectrum support plan includes short term goals and provides an overview of preferences and supports for:

  • communication 
  • social interactions
  • learning and thinking 
  • accommodations.

The autism spectrum support plan must be accompanied by the sensory overview support plan – HSP431 (DOC 389KB)

Education and care staff who regularly engage with the child or student will need to know what is in the plan.

Training for education and care staff

Positive partnerships workshops for schools and parents

The positive partnerships workshops help parents and education and care staff to work together to promote improved learning outcomes for children and young people on the autism spectrum.

The workshops include 3 to 5 groups from individual schools. Each group is centred on an individual child or young person and should include up to 6 people including the parents or guardians, and education and care staff. 

By the end of the workshop the participants will:

  • gain current evidence-based knowledge of autism spectrum disorder
  • better understand the processes and strategies that enable effective parent, school and teacher partnerships
  • be equipped with information and strategies to advocate effectively to support the young person’s learning while negotiating the educational environment
  • better understand the ways to maximise the young person’s learning in the home environment.

For workshop enquiries phone the Disability Policy and Program on 8226 3620 or email Education.DPP [at] sa.gov.au.

Positive partnerships online 

Positive partnerships offers interactive, self-paced online modules across a range of topics as well as a range of webinars.

Online modules include:

How parents and guardians help

Parents or guardians must:

  • notify the school, preschool or care service if their child has autism
  • complete health care plans and agreements with their health care professionals and provide them to the school, preschool or care service
  • provide required medication to the school, preschool or care service.

If a medication agreement is in place, parents and caregivers must fulfil the roles and responsibilities outlined on the medication management and care page.

How health professionals help

Health professionals support schools, preschools, care services and families by helping to develop the care plan and any supporting medication and care agreements.

Disability advice and research

Phone: 8226 0515
Email: education.health [at] sa.gov.au