Special programs

Horsham Special School has a range of programs in place to suit the needs of its students.
Advance Program

Horsham Special School Senior Unit is involved in a program called Advance - a Victorian Program for Youth Development. It is a flexible, school-based program which provides opportunities for students to participate in their local community.
The goal of Advance is to enable young people's participation and volunteering in community life. Advance is available to all Victorian Government secondary schools and is designed for young people in Years 9 and above. Through participation in the program:

 young people will develop skills to participate in their communities
 young people will be engaged in community activities
 communities will support young people's engagement and participation

The essential elements of Advance are that young people DO something with their community, that they do it in PARTNERSHIP with a community organisation and that it involves young people's CHOICE. Advance builds on the Government's commitment to provide better links between schools and communities.

To date The Senior students at Horsham Special School have participated in a range of projects involving local community organisations such as local primary schools, local park committees and meal on wheels.

Programs offered in HSS classroom are designed to meet the student's emotional, personal and physical needs within a stimulating and educational setting. Whilst the daily program incorporates all of the VELs learning areas, the students receive:

daily physiotherapy.
weekly hydrotherapy.
sensory and assistive technology sessions.
Intensive interaction sessions.
Peer and buddy class activities.
Community Access (shopping, excursions and dining out).
Technology sessions (IWB and computer with assistive technology)
Health and Human relations (protective behaviours, relationships and body changes and personal hygiene).

A high level of communication is maintained with families through regular SSG meetings, communication diaries, personal care plans and regular phone contact.

Visual Communications Aids

According to individual needs, we use a variety of visual communication aids with students to augment or as an alternative to their verbal communication. Examples of visual communication aids include:

Chat books
PECS
Behavior scripts
Who's here today Chart
Wait/ My turn Chart
Social Stories
Visual Timetables
Aided language Displays


Occupational Therapist:

Gross (body awareness, balance, coordination) and fine motor skills development (hand skills (dexterity, manipulation skills, upper limb control)
Handwriting and drawing skills
Sensory integration
Behaviour management strategies and assisting students with behaviour modulation
Activities of daily living, eating (using cutlery), drinking, dressing, toileting, assistive equipment, environment adaptations) Everyday activities (e.g. shopping, cooking, brushing hair, cognitive components, physical skills) Community access
Positioning of body and equipment
Play and social skill development
Assessment, management and treatment of skills
Medical and funding reports
Liaising with parents, allied health, doctors and other agencies


Electronic Communication Devices

Some students use Electronic Communication Devices. These devices usually have a visual display (Boardmaker pictures, photos, etc) to represent messages (questions, comments, other phrases, news). When the student activates the picture, the device speaks that message. The Speech Pathologist will assess students and determine the need for an electronic communication device.


Allied Health Staff

Horsham Special School has allied health staff available to work with students (and their families) across the school. The team uses an integrated approach to delivering allied health program working together with teaching staff to develop goals and present therapy activity/programs. The allied health team is made up of a speech therapist, occupational therapist and physiotherapist. Each team member has expertise is the following areas:
Speech Pathologist:

Assessment, diagnosis, management/ treatment of communication and swallowing difficulties.
Communication (speech (voice, stuttering, articulation), language (receptive and expressive), reading, writing, signs, electronic communication devices, symbols and gestures)
Swallowing (video fluoroscopy, safe swallowing strategies, food texture and fluid modification, saliva control)
Play and social skill development
Cognitive skills (providing strategies for memory, problem solving, learning)
Behaviour management (social stories, behaviour scripts)
Medical and funding reports (PSD, A&EP)
Liaising with parents, allied health professionals, teachers, other agencies (DHS, etc) and doctors (including workshops/ training)

Sensory Processing

Sensory processing is the way that our bodies take in information through our senses. This information is organized in our central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) in order for us to be able to understand, react and interact appropriately with the world around us.

Many of our students have sensory processing difficulties were the information coming in from the senses is not interpreted efficiently and the CNS (brain and spinal cord) is unable, or has difficulty making sense of the incoming message.

We have various sensory programs running throughout the school. We have a sensory room for students to access. We have flexible break and outside play times e.g. were students can go outside when feeling over stimulated.