New initiative to support non-verbal students - Education Matters Magazine
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New initiative to support non-verbal students

According to a new report by Monash University’s Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Victorian students with disabilities are not only being turned away from schools, but once enrolled, many are being socially isolated or not receiving the support they need to learn.

The report also highlights that often when students with disabilities are enrolled, many teachers are choosing to ‘dumb down tasks’ rather than appropriately adjust the lessons based on the child’s needs.

The report indicated that many of the problems were linked to flaws in the way funding was provided for the one-in-six Victorian students with disabilities with a 2016 review finding while 15 per cent of Victorian students needed support due to disability, only 4 per cent received funding under Victoria’s program for students with a disability.

According to the Summary Statistics report for Victorian Schools, there are almost 27,000 students with special needs (across regular and specialist schools) in Victoria with this number increasing annually.

Through the iPad for nonverbal children initiative, State Schools’ Relief, a Victorian not-for-profit, is attempting to alleviate one educational barrier for specialist school children.

State Schools Relief has established a partnership with Bank First and Gandel Philanthropy, to provide 180 iPads for non-verbal school children, allowing them to communicate with their families, teachers, carers and friends through the app ‘Words for Life’.

Within 24 hours of this initiative being rolled out, all 180 iPads were allocated to non-verbal children within Victoria, highlighting the need for educational tools such as iPads to assist disabled children with their schooling.

Teachers of non-verbal students are encouraged to apply for iPads via the State Schools’ Relief website.

To make a donation to the initiative, please email CEO of State Schools’ Relief, Sue Karzis at

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