Three inclusive questions

The following questions can help teachers develop individualised, strengths- and evidence-based approaches to learning and teaching. These questions can be used when a teacher identifies a situation where a student may require extra support to participate.

Below is an example demonstrating how a teacher can use a strengths-based approach to apply evidence-based strategies to support a student.


Jack is a Year 9 student who has autism. He enjoys IT and has a couple of close friends. He gets anxious about changing classes across the day and although this is not always obvious to teachers his parents report that it causes him significant stress.

1. What are the student’s unique strengths and what has been helpful so far?

Jack’s relevant strengths:

  • Jack enjoys working with computers and has strong IT skills
  • Jack has a couple of good friends who have similar interests to him
  • Jack is able to notice and report when he is feeling anxious
What has been helpful so far:

  • Jack’s school has developed designated quiet areas that a student can spend time in if they are feeling anxious
  • If excursions or other changes to school routines are planned, Jack is informed well in advance.

2. What is the goal and why is it important?

The goal:

  • Jack is able to manage changes in school routines without significant distress

  • It is important for Jack’s emotional wellbeing and future independence that he is able to navigate changes in his environment without distress

3. What evidence-based strategies can be used to reach the goal?

To reach the goal the following strategies will initially be trialled:

  • Jack enjoys working with computers and has strong skills in Digital Technologies
  • Work with Jack on a computer to create a visual schedule so that he knows what changes are coming up. Allow him to be creative and use his understanding of different IT programs when creating the schedule. Suggest that he includes clear information about what he might need for each class and where each class is.

  • Jack is able to notice and report when he is feeling anxious

  • Teach Jack relaxation/breathing strategies before, during, or after transitions if he is feeling anxious. Allow him to access the quiet area if needed.

  • Jack has a couple of close friends

  • Pair Jack with close friends who can prompt him when a transition is coming up, and walk with him to the next class.