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Find important information about educational options and support available for children with disabilities.
 Special Education Information


Special education programs are provided for students with disabilities (Prep to Year 12) with significant educational support needs. Education Queensland provides an array of specialised programs and services to support students with disabilities with significant educational support needs, within an inclusive education framework.

Special schools offer highly specialised programs for students with an intellectual impairment whose educational needs have been identified through an EAP (see below).  Enrolment in a Special School depends on a number of factors including student needs and available levels of support, and takes into consideration:

  • all curriculum, mobility, social skills, personal care and communication needs;

  • all supporting documentation from medical practitioners and other health and education professionals; and

  • specialist nature of individualised program requiring high frequency adjustments to ensure student access to curriculum and achievement of learning outcomes.

Services that may be available to support students and children with disabilities with significant educational support needs via outreach support (e.g. to state and non-state schools, child care centres and kindergartens) may include the following:

  • advisory visiting teachers (AVT)

  • speech-language pathologists;

  • occupational therapists;

  • physiotherapists;

  • registered nurses;

  • school transition officers;

  • guidance officers; and

  • orientation and mobility teachers.


School Transport Assistance Programs for Students with Disabilities

Education Queensland provides school transport assistance for students with disabilities where it has been identified that due to the nature of the student's disability and the family's circumstances support is required to travel between home and school.

For information on the eligibility criteria and process for applying for school transport assistance, please see:


Individual Education Plans for Students with Disabilities (IEPs)

The Individual Education Plan (IEP) process brings Parents/Carers, professionals and the student (where appropriate) together as a team to consider the student's current level of performance and to determine needs and learning priorities for the next six months. An IEP is not a plan of total instruction for students with disabilities. Other curriculum areas are covered in the general programming of the class, records of which are kept by the class teacher. An IEP is only one tool a teacher or specialist support staff member might use to record either:

  • outcomes for an individual student that are different to the outcomes for their peers; or

  • adjustments being made for individual students which are beyond the adjustments being made for other members of the class.

Prior to the introduction of the Educational Adjustment Program, IEPs were required for students with disabilities whose educational needs have been ascertained at level 4, 5 or 6. With the transition to the Education Adjustment Program, ascertainment levels are no longer assigned. However, IEPs are still required for any student with a disability where the plan would assist educators to meet the individual educational needs resulting from a disability. Professional judgement of specialist support staff is required to determine whether the IEP would assist in achieving positive learning outcomes for the student.

Additionally, IEPs are required for all children (3-6 years) who are receiving support through early childhood developmental programs.


The Education Ajustment Program

The Education Adjustment Program (EAP) is a process that is used to identify and respond to the educational needs of students with disabilities. This process is used to identify students (from Prep-Year 12) who meet criteria for the disability categories, and to report the educational adjustments they are providing to meet the teaching and learning needs of these students.

The Education Adjustment Program (EAP) identifies and provides support to students with disabilities in the following areas - autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), hearing impairment (HI), intellectual impairment (II), physical impairment (PI), speech language impairment (SLI), or vision impairment (VI). Students who do not access additional resourcing through the EAP process, but who still have a disability under the Disability Discrimination Act definition, are supported through the full array of student support services allocated to regions and schools.

The Queensland Department of Education has a number of policies, definitions and criteria which is used to determine if a child has a disability, what the level of their disability is, and if their educational needs can be met in a special school. For more information about these policies and criteria, and to access these documents, see:


Approved Programs

The Queensland Education Directory of Special Education Programs and Services provides information on what special education programs are offered at particular schools throughout Queensland. To access this information please see:

(Use the arrows on the bottom left hand corner of the screen to expose the tab for the Sunshine Coast region. Click on the tab which will bring up all the schools in the Sunshine Coast North and Sunshine Coast South educational districts.)

The following information will assist in interpreting the spreadsheet.

School type:

SS - state school

SHS - secondary school

SPEC S - special school

Year levels:

OP - refers to students of pre-Prep age

PY - refers to students of Prep age

Year levels equates to the year levels provided by the school i.e.:

  • Primary: Prep -7

  • Secondary: 8- 12

OP - PY indicates an early childhood development program.


A number in Column K (5, 6 or 7) indicates that the program has sufficient size to attract a leadership/administrative position to manage the program at the school.

Areas of Specialisation

The areas of specialisation that the schools support are indicated by a "Y" in the respective columns (M - V).

The column descriptors are provided below:


Autistic Spectrum Disorder


Intellectual Impairment


Speech-Language Impairment


Deaf/hearing impairment


Physical Impairment


Vision impairment

PI Cluster

School facilities can physically cater for students with a physical impairment

Multiple Impairment

Students with Intellectual Impairment and one or more other impairment(s)

Early Childhood Development

For early childhood development programs that provide services across all disability areas



Early Childhood Development Programs and Services for Children with Disabilities - Prior to Prep

Education Queensland currently provides Early Childhood Development programs and services for children prior to Prep age with a suspected or diagnosed disability with significant educational support needs in the areas of:

  • intellectual impairment

  • autistic spectrum disorder

  • speech-language impairment

  • hearing impairment

  • vision impairment

  • physical impairment

The purpose of Early Childhood Development programs and services is to enable the:

  • engagement of children in a wide range of learning experiences to maximise their individual potential;

  • assessment of educational support needs prior to Prep;

  • transition to Prep; and

  • establishment of partnerships with families to ensure quality educational outcomes in the critical early years of schooling.

Early Childhood Development programs and services for children prior to Prep age with a suspected or diagnosed disability may be provided on-site at an Early Childhood Development Program (ECDP) or via outreach support to the home or another site (e.g. kindergarten, child care centre) in order to support children with disabilities and their families.







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