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Students with disability

Students with special education needs

Students with special education needs include students with a disability, learning difficulty or learning disability.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 defines disability as:

  • total or partial loss of the person's bodily or mental functions
  • total or partial loss of a part of the body
  • the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness
  • the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness
  • the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person's body
  • a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction
  • a disorder, illness or disease that:
    • affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions, judgment
    • results in disturbed behaviour.

Examples of disabilities include:

  • learning difficulties or disabilities such as dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia
  • intellectual disabilities
  • mental illness
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • sensory impairment
  • physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy
  • speech and language disorders
  • chronic illness such as chronic fatigue syndrome.

Under the disability legislation, schools have an obligation to ensure students with special education needs are supported to equitably access and participate in education. This includes providing reasonable adjustments. Adjustments should be decided through the collaborative curriculum planning process.

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