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.



The occupational therapy service assists students who have problems with occupational performance and engagement which affects their access and participation at school. The occupational therapist works in a consultative, coaching, direct, and integrative way to incorporate strategies with classrooms. The areas considered by the occupational therapist include:

  • Fine-motor skills: Students requiring assistance with handwriting and cutting/pasting 
  • Self-care: Increasing independence in toileting, mealtimes, and dressing routines 
  • Sensory and emotional regulation: Assisting students to identify their state of arousal and adopt strategies to optimise for learning e.g. using Zones of Regulation 
  • Environmental adaptation: Ensuring that the environmental, task demands, and students skills, all match-up 
  • Social Skills (in collaboration with speech pathologist) 
  • Return to school after joint/bone/muscle surgery or injury (in collaboration with physiotherapist) 
  • Gross Motor Skills (in collaboration with physiotherapist) 
  • Postural Care and Positioning (in collaboration with physiotherapist) 
  • Monitoring and adjusting equipment (in collaboration with physiotherapist)