Speech & Language Program
At Wirrabirra ESC we value our student’s right to communicate. The school environment is engineered to support those students with complex communication needs. Our students have access to a variety of both low tech (paper based) and high tech Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices such as PODD books, Aided Language Boards, Core Vocabulary Placemats, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication Symbols), KWS’s (Key Word Signs) and Touch Chat offering a multi model approach to communication.
Our dedicated speech, language and communication specialist works one on one with students on a weekly basis to assist with individual articulation, language development and communication goals.
Wirrabirra ESC utilise a range of technology within our classrooms. We currently have a 1:1 iPad program across 4 classrooms and a dedicated IT specialist. Our vision for ICT at Wirrabirra includes to both access computers and iPads as a means to both communicate and allow students to provide evidence of learning in their own creative style.
Students are given a range of tasks and encouraged to create a project using an App or program they have mastered to demonstrate their understanding of a topic. On a scale, this could mean taking a good photo of their work to creating a PowerPoint presentation or Spark Video.
The TEACCH Autism Program is a research program based at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill. This program helps to organise your child’s physical and social environment through visual supports. This assists your child during daily tasks to know what is happening, how long the task will take, what will come next and when it will be finished. It promotes meaningful engagement in activities, independence and self-efficacy needed for lifelong learning. This teaching approach is very structures and uses clear schedules that children can understand. It is not a curriculum, but instead a framework to support the achievement of educational goals. The framework includes:
- Physical organisation
- Individualised schedules
- Work (Activity) systems
- Visual structure of materials in tasks and activities
The staff at Wirrabirra Education Support Centre have implemented this philosophy throughout our centre. We have a leadership team assisting in the implementation of TEACCH in our school. This team has supported and mentored all staff so consistency and continuity are maintained across the whole school.
If you have any questions we would love to be able to answer them for you! Please be in contact with the TEACCH team at Wirrabirra Education Support Centre.
Science Technology Engineering the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education has become a national focus. At Wirrabirra ESC we have weekly STEAM lessons which incorporate all students’ needs and interests. We strive to improve students STEAM education by incorporating a variety of components including woodwork, bee-bots, electronics and design. STEAM allows our students to experience learning by doing. STEAM allows students to problem solve, be hands on and apply knowledge to a variety of areas. At Wirrabirra we take the healthy approach of good old fashioned making and doing to learn. STEAM is not just technology and with multiple new and emerging ways of learning teachers regularly adapt the curriculum to suit student’s needs.
Students are given many opportunities to explore and develop their senses within the classroom and around the school. In consultation with Therapy Focus, sensory programs are tailored to student’s individual needs. These programs help students to process sensory information, focus better on learning tasks and assist with self regulation.
Crash Bang Smash
Students engage in O.T. focussed daily fitness activities designed to promote balance, movement, strength, co-ordination and co-operation in a fun and relaxed setting. The team at Therapy Focus introduced the Crash Bang Smash program, which is based on the concept of sensory integration using primarily the Vestibular (movement) and Proprioception (knowing where one is in space) sensory inputs. By meeting Vestibular and Proprioception, this allows a child who is running “too fast” or “too slow” to reach a “just right” or optimum alertness state that would allow the child to concentrate and participate within classroom activities. The Crash Bang Smash is done using a circuit style approach where students would go through different stations with different sensory objects. These circuits are designed to provide maximum amount of Vestibular and Proprioceptive input within a time frame of about 20 – 30 minutes. For some classes, students have access to substations that meet other sensory needs or preferences such as auditory, visual, touch and smell sensory input. The idea of this is so that the child has access to meet all their sensory seeking preferences prior to class and so preparing themselves for class.
At Wirrabirra Education Support Centre we place a strong emphasis on the safety of our students.
Protective Behaviours is a program that teaches students how to keep themselves safe from the risks that surround us in our everyday life. By teaching and reinforcing the two primary concepts “everyone has the right to feel safe at all times” and “nothing is so awful we can’t talk about it.”
Protective Behaviours is a key component within each child’s Individual Education Plan and is explicitly taught in all classrooms. We aim to teach our students with strategies they need to keep themselves safe, which is implemented through role play, social stories and structured lessons.
Social skills and inclusion are a main focus within our school. Social skills are developed from the early years and are essential for successful social interaction and communication with their peers and also with adults. Inclusion activities with mainstream students allow for peer learning to occur and many modelling opportunities to be taken advantage of. Staff are present to assist students with understanding the social skills needed to be part of these classes and to develop friendships across the school.
Weekly Choir sessions are held where all ESC classes join together to learn songs to sing. Students learn the words to the songs and Key Word Signs are integrated into the movement aspect of the songs.
Their enjoyment is obvious and their level of engagement improves with every lesson. It is a chance to give confidence to the students often enabling them to bravely perform in front of their class mates and the whole Wirrabirra School when ESC present their Assembly items.
Music and the arts are so important for children’s development and as Sam, from TLC commented “Music is good for the brain”!
This Semester saw our centre participating in the Circus and Golfing program as part of our Sport. Our Circus program was again a fantastic success and the students enjoyed learning skills of balancing, throwing and catching. One of our favourite activities was the balancing plates! One of the students in B1 demonstrated they could balance two plates whilst rolling over. Can you guess who this might be? To concluded our Circus program we presented our skills and Circus song we had been learning in Choir at our whole school assembly.
Later in the Semester we participated in the Golfing Program where we immeresed in a range of golfing skills. We learnt how to accuretly putt a ball into an area through a range of different games and activities. We also learnt other FMS skills and enjoyed the obstacle course and throwing balls at the moving target! To conclude our golfing program we had an excursion to Gosnells Golf Club where we got to demonstrate the skills we had learnt. To finish off the day we got to to ride in the Golf Buggys!
Life Skills & Community Access
Our Community Access program has been giving our students in TLC the opportunities to navigate their way in the community. Our students have been learning how to catch public transport using their Smart Riders. They have also been learning how to navigate in crowded spaces along with learning to use escalators and lifts.
Over the Semester we have been visiting two areas- Westfield Carousel and Perth City. We have been learning to buy items in the shopping areas and have visited special displays located at the Art Gallery of Western Australia and DFES Education and Heritage Building.
Later this term we look forward to going to our special end of year lunch!