Daily Strategies

Some young people with developmental challenges or disabilities might feel anxious or find it difficult to move between classes at secondary school.

  • You can support your child by working with their teachers to help them prepare for transitions during the day at school
  • Collaborate with teachers to create a daily visual schedule. This will help your child know what to expect. You can use the visual schedule at home too
  • Some students may be anxious about getting changed into their sports uniform. If getting changed at school is difficult for your child, make an arrangement with the school so they can wear their sports uniform to school on sports days
  • Teach and remind your child to use personal coping strategies, such as taking deep breaths if they become anxious during transitions
  • Encourage your child when they manage changes well
Changes in routine can be upsetting for some students with disabilities and developmental challenges. If your child gets particularly uncomfortable or anxious about changes to routines let their school and teachers know.

  • If performing in front of others or receiving awards makes your child anxious, talk to your child about how you can support them. Will they feel more confident if you attend? What strategies can you work on at home (e.g. relaxation breathing, practicing a performance)?
  • If your child feels anxious about giving a talk at school, work with them and their teacher to devise alternative ways of making presentations: for example, could they submit a power point or video presentation rather than a talk?
  • If your child is affected by noise at school you can work with their teachers on strategies to assist them: for example, it may help if they wear ear plugs or noise-reducing headphones during noisy activities
  • Advise the school if your child would benefit from the creation of ‘quiet areas’. These are places students can go to assist them to calm down.
A trip away from school may present challenges for students with disabilities.

  • Schools will provide an itinerary for camps and excursions. If you require more details speak with school staff
  • Go through the itinerary of the excursion or camp with your child so they know what to expect
  • If your child may become overwhelmed or anxious in new situations, teach and remind them to use their own coping strategies, such as breathing deeply or finding a quiet space to calm down
  • If your child uses a wheelchair or other mobility aids, consult with the school to make sure all locations on camps and excursions are accessible
  • Advise your child’s school about their personal care plan for camps and excursions (if required). Let the school know if your child will need trained staff to administer medication or assist with toileting.
Assessment tasks and homework may need to be tailored to the learning abilities of your child. Some students may find working on school work at home without help challenging. Talk to your child’s teachers about what your child can complete independently.

  • Depending on your child’s disability or learning challenges, appropriate modifications for assessment tasks may include: allowing them to take breaks during exams and tests, shortened tests and exams, allowing them to use a computer or to answer orally instead of hand written tests, exams and assignments, or providing scribes and readers for students with reading and writing disorders
  • Help your child to develop a consistent homework routine at home. This may involve doing homework in a distraction-free area at a set time.
  • Advise the school about what is best for your child. If they are very tired after school, it may be best to reduce or eliminate homework.
Students often need to access their lockers multiple times in a day. Locker areas can be noisy and crowded, and some lockers may be less accessible than others.

  • Consider talking with your child (and their teacher and year level coordinator) about what locker locations may benefit them. If your child finds noise levels or crowds distressing, a locker located on the end, or within a smaller locker area, may be more suited to them. If your child uses a wheelchair or other mobility supports, work with the school to determine an accessible height and location. A locker located near student support staff or a trusted teacher may be beneficial to students who experience anxiety, or who can benefit from support with their organisation.
  • Locker organisation strategies may be important for students who find organisation challenging. Consider printing AllPlay Learn’s locker checklist for your child, which can be found on our parent resources page.

AllPlay Learn stories

AllPlay Learn Secondary Stories have been designed for students to help them find out about what happens at school and to feel positive about responding to new situations. Parents can also read these stories with their child to help them feel confident about participating in all school activities.

Link to AllPlay Learn's secondary stories with text