Early years behaviour support program (EYBSP)

Published December 2019

Application of tele-classroom consulting (TCC) practices to support classroom teachers to meet the challenging and complex needs of students on the autism spectrum in the early years of schooling (5–8 years)

Students on the autism spectrum have unique learning needs which teachers may find challenging to adequately support. This can be an ongoing concern for teachers in rural and remote communities due to geographical isolation and a lack of professional learning opportunities. To meet the learning needs of students on the spectrum in these regions, teachers often need access to effective, ongoing support delivered in a timely and contextually appropriate manner. This report presents findings from five school community case studies, describing a flexible, multidisciplinary approach that provides classroom teachers with in-situ professional learning to help meet the more complex and individualised needs some students on the spectrum may experience in school settings. The Teleconsultation Classroom (TCC) approach involved a combination of face-to-face visits and more remote support through phone conversations, emails and video conferencing to facilitate collaboration between classroom teachers and outside specialists. This method demonstrates positive results in providing cost-effective, contextualised support to teachers in rural and remote regions, promoting their professional learning and allowing professional relationships to develop despite distance and cost constraints. Guiding principles are outlined to ensure the success, application and sustainability of the TCC approach in rural and remote settings and consideration of its application in more urban settings.