Supporting primary students with disability after a significant absence: A worked example
Returning to school after a significant period of absence, or regular periods of absence, can be a challenging experience for some students. Through collaboration, prior planning, and the right supports in place, schools can ensure continuity of support for students.
This video will show school-based staff an example of how a primary school supported a student with their return to school after a significant period of absence. The specific ways the school applied evidence-based strategies during the return, while building these strategies or adjustments on the student’s strengths, will be identified. These universal strategies can be adapted to meet the needs of students across NSW public schools.
While some students may require multiple strategies and supports that are sustained for a significant period of time, others may only require a few strategies to support their return. For more evidence-based strategies that support students after significant or regular absences, visit the supporting students after significant event guide. For a template to facilitate communication and planning between students, their parents or carers, health or other specialists (where relevant), and their school, visit the returning to school check-in template.
In the example of practice, Micah becomes anxious when his return to school is discussed. When a student expresses emotions such as feeling worried, anxious, or frustrated, this can provide a ‘flag’. This ‘flag’ can signal to teachers and parents that there may be specific stressors that might need to be addressed. In Micah’s case, it was evident that he was feeling anxious and hurt about friendships.
Thinking about your own role, what are some simple and practical steps you can take that will help you to pause to reflect and identify similar ‘flags’ with the students you work with?
School refusal or a reluctance to attend, participate, or engage in school, is often driven by feelings of anxiety. Some of the key principles for supporting students experiencing feelings of anxiety are to start with what the student feels is manageable. From there, the goal is to build their confidence and capacity so that they can gradually tackle more challenging situations. Some students may fluctuate in what they feel is manageable, which can at times impact the confidence of teachers, parents, or others supporting a student.
Thinking about your role or team and stakeholders in the broader context,how can you work together to retain a secure ‘system around the student’ that remains focused on strategies and communication?
School Excellence Framework alignment
Effective classroom practice
Australian Professional Standards for Teachers alignment
Standard 1: Know students and how they learn
Timeframes and when to use
This resource can be used at any time to provide further information and practice guidance
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June 2022. Share your feedback here