At Bendigo Special Developmental School, the therapist teams' services focus on enhancing educational outcomes for our students. 


The speech pathology service supports the development of students’ communication skills to enhance them to access the school curriculum and to socialise with peers and staff to the best of their ability. Therapy programs are primarily in the classroom in collaboration with the teacher and education support staff. The speech pathologist works with teachers and students in the following areas: 

  • Formal and informal assessment of communication and eating/ drinking   
  • Treatment of and advice on the following aspects of communication:  
    • Augmentative and Alternative Communication systems (AAC) including:  
      • Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display (PODD) communication books  
      • High-tech communication devices (e.g. proloquo2go) or switches  
    • Pragmatics (social communication)  
    • Language (understanding and speaking)  
    • Literacy (phonics & phonological awareness, reading comprehension)  



In terms of physiotherapy, this is particularly relevant for students who have difficulties with posture and movement which affects their access and participation in the school curriculum. Physiotherapy is primarily provided in the classroom with the teacher and educational support staff. Interventions and strategies relate to:

  • Chest physiotherapy: Students requiring input to help manage their chest health and secretions.
  • Student wellbeing: Assisting each student to optimise their physical wellbeing, health and fitness.
  • Staff education: Whole staff and smaller group education of staff in topics relating to student physical wellbeing. 
  • Mobility: Optimising student mobility and safety with physical supports.
  • Physical access to the curriculum: Including fine and gross motor skills as well as switch access in areas of cause and effect and language development (in collaboration with the occupational therapist and speech pathologist dependent on student needs). 
  • Postural Care and Positioning: Optimising student wellbeing through positioning during their school day (in collaboration with the occupational therapist dependent on student needs).
  • Monitoring and adjusting equipment: Including splints, standing frames and walkers (in collaboration with the occupational therapist dependent on student needs).
  • Return to school after joint/bone/muscle surgery or injury: Liaising with external allied health and medical staff and assisting in coordinating safe return to school in collaboration with the occupational therapist dependent on student needs.
  • Gross Motor Skills: Optimise students’ gross motor abilities and development within the curriculum.
  • Swimming and aquatic physiotherapy programs: Assessment and provision of aquatic physiotherapy programs for priority swimming students.
  • Optimise student physical activity levels: All students should participate in 30 minutes of daily physical activity as per DET guidelines. Assist in ensuring this activity is targeted to student needs and includes suitable activities to optimise health and wellbeing.
  • Manual Handling: whole school professional development and in class consultation as required.