Autism Education Strategy

For an Easy English version of this information, download Autism Education Strategy: Easy English (pdf - 613.33kb)

Building the Education State means creating great schools that are inclusive of every student that enters through the school gate.

The Victorian Autism Education Strategy (the Strategy) aims to improve educational outcomes and supports for autistic students and foster inclusive school communities that welcome them and their families, and value their contribution.

The Strategy recognises that additional specific support is required to assist autistic students with their education and ensures that this strongly aligns with the recently announced Disability Inclusion package.

The Strategy shows how autistic students will be supported at school to realise their aspirations. It places autistic students at the centre, and empowers schools, specialists, parents and the students themselves to work together to meet their full potential.

The Strategy has been developed in close collaboration with key stakeholders, including experts, researchers, autism advocacy organisations, and autistic students and their families. This consultation identified six priority areas, which are referred to as the Strategy 'pillars'.

The Strategy Pillars

The pillars represent priority areas of focus for schools and the education system to direct effort to address the issues facing autistic students and meet their educational aspirations. The pillars are based on international best practice and stakeholder input. The pillars are:

  1. Promote and celebrate autism inclusion and diversity at the whole-school level
  2. Build the capability of school leaders and staff to meet the educational needs of autistic students
  3. Involve the student, families and experts in collaboratively planning for students' education
  4. Support autistic students' health and wellbeing
  5. Support autistic students' individual education needs
  6. Strengthen accountability and transparency for students with disability.

In addition to the direction provided by the pillars, the Strategy also includes new and expanded initiatives to assist the learning needs of autistic students.

The Diverse Learners Hub

The flagship initiative of the Strategy is the establishment of a new Diverse Learners Hub (Hub). The Hub will be a centre of excellence supporting system-wide capability building of education workforces to equip them to meet the educational needs of students with neurodevelopmental differences, with a focus on autism. The Hub will:

  • Provide front-line coaching to school leaders, equip health and wellbeing staff to provide evidence-based, multidisciplinary resources and guidance
  • Develop further resources to strengthen supports for autistic students
  • Ensure the needs of diverse learners are consistently addressed in line with the Strategy pillars, by working with relevant areas across the Department
  • Make its services and supports accessible across regional and rural Victoria, such as through online provision. This will ensure all schools have access to the Hub's capability-building expertise no matter how small or remote

The Hub will be established in 2021.

Additional Initiatives

The Hub will be supported with a number of other initiatives to assist the learning needs of autistic students, including:

  • Professional learning initiative – for teachers to complete post-graduate studies in inclusive education, including through the Autism Teaching Institute
  • Professional learning modules - expansion of Inclusive Classrooms modules on autism providing further professional development for school staff
  • I CAN mentoring program - I CAN will provide targeted emotional/social support and mentoring for autistic students at 100 government schools
  • Disability Friendly Schools - New Bully Stoppers resources to promote a supportive and inclusive approach to preventing bullying of students with disabilities, specifically including autistic students
  • Collaborations with key autism partners - Funding for key advocacy organisations, such as Amaze and Yellow Ladybugs, to develop resources for autistic students and their families to work in partnership with their school to achieve better outcomes for autistic students
  • Improved Student Support Group and Individual Education Plan resources for schools to provide more consistent and high-quality support for autistic students
  • Autism Education Advisory Group of experts that assisted in the development of the Strategy will be retained to assist with further work to guide implementation and further refinement of the Strategy

Disability Inclusion

Disability Inclusion is closely aligned with the Autism Education Strategy and also provides important supports for autistic students. These comprehensive changes to how all students with disability are supported at school will have a substantial impact on the educational outcomes for autistic students. 

Disability Inclusion will deliver a package of initiatives to help schools support students with disability, including autistic students, to learn in the way that meets their needs. The reforms deliver:

  • more funding to improve supports for students with disability in schools
  • a strengths-based approach to funding and support that will help improved culture and attitudes towards students with disability
  • more specialist expertise in disability across the system
  • more training, professional development and guidance on disability and personalised approaches to support students with disability.

The Autism Education Strategy complements these reforms by delivering specific initiatives, and coordinating policy and program areas across the Department, through the pillars, to ensure the needs of autistic students are addressed.

For more information visit Disability Inclusion.

Contact us

For general enquiries about the Autism Education Strategy and Disability Inclusion reforms, email: disability.inclusion@education.vic.gov.au