Our progressive curriculum aims for students to become confident, independent and participating members of this community. In all, the school provides an integrated education in a safe and mutually respectful environment.
Latrobe Special Developmental School provides a comprehensive curriculum for students with intellectual and associated disabilities between the ages of 5 years and 18 years who live in the Latrobe Valley. Many of our students have associated disabilities such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy, sensory impairments and Downs Syndrome. The school provides a specialised and challenging curriculum in a supportive environment that promotes personal independence and a valued lifestyle.
The strength of our school has always been the curriculum offered and delivered by Special Education trained teachers, allied health staff and aides. A curriculum which takes into account the students’ individual social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth and development within the context of society.
All students are encouraged to observe and follow school and class rules, be responsible for their own and others property as well as caring for their immediate environment. You can find out more about how we teach students to be responsible for their actions on the Student Wellbeing page.
According to individual needs, we use a variety of visual communication aids with students to augment or as an alternative to their verbal communication. Examples of visual communication aids include:
The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) (Frost & Bondy, 1994) is one of the many modes of communication used at Latrobe SDS. PECS teaches students to use pictures to communicate. Other forms of communication such as speech and sign language can also be used with PECS, but the primary focus is picture exchange communication.
PECS is taught in six phases. Each student progresses through each stage at their own pace. Students are able to advance through phases individually (ie, not dependent on the progress of their peers). Students are provided with the appropriate support and necessary resources to achieve at their own rate with PECS. All teaching staff have had PECS Training and are experienced with the use of PECS.
Our school values the interaction within the Latrobe Valley, which enables us to develop age appropriate community based programs. The wider community is accessed to assist students in developing their social skills and competencies.
Our students are able to be involved in programs within the community with relative ease with a public bus stop at the front of the school and we have three school owned buses (two with wheelchair access) .
The school offers various programs working on play and social skills including;
The Junior Unit comprises of up to 5 classrooms of up to six students and 2 staff. Students remain in the junior unit until age 10/11 where they access intensive programs including:
Through the development of a highly individualized learning plan, these programs are effectively integrated into the general curriculum enhancing learning opportunities for all students. The foundations for meaningful learning begin in the junior unit, establishing a positive attitude to school from the earliest moment
The Middle Years of Schooling at Latrobe Special Developmental School is a time when many students are developing rapidly, physically, mentally and emotionally. The Middle Years curriculum places emphasis on providing opportunities for a greater breadth and depth of academic skill development within a learning environment which promotes independence, interdependence and self-motivation.
It is a time when students are encouraged to develop deeper levels of thinking and application, evidenced within decision making processes, accepting responsibility and the development of functional life skills.
Apex House is a small group of six students with high needs from across the school which caters for the specific needs of each student. The program for this group of students involves allied health professionals such as Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist and Speech Therapist to develop and assist with the daily physiotherapy, weekly hydrotherapy sessions, mealtime assistance and the use of specialised equipment to enhance their school program.
Each student has a buddy room in the school which they go to on a regular basis to participate in such programs as shopping, community access, swimming and music. This gives the opportunity for each student to interact socially with their peers on a regular basis. All students attend and participate in the school camp program.
Apex House gives those students with high needs in the school a safe and secure environment with specialised equipment and staff to offer a very specialised program focussing on their particular needs.
Primary focus being the preparation for adult life and post school options. The seniors are now located in their own purpose built environment of the Independent Living Centre.
The students are encouraged to be responsible for the complete management of the unit. Overriding components of the senior program involve choice and decision making and following through in these choices. Each student is supported in developing their own individual plan and pathway to the best of their capability.
Sailing, alternative setting programs, Advance, community service, transitioning, recreation programs and choices complete their curriculum.