Middle Years Behaviour Support Project (MYBSP)
This project utilises a teleconsultation approach to support the learning needs of students on the autism spectrum in the middle years of schooling in rural, remote, Indigenous, and isolated education communities. Teleconsultation (TCC) uses electronic communications and technology to provide support when distance separates the participants. The use of TCC to overcome professional isolation and implement support and services to rural regions is a growing area of research. Although application of TCC is becoming increasingly prominent to provide health and specialised services to rural areas there is limited application in educational contexts.
Challenges experienced by students on the autism spectrum are heightened during the middle years of schooling (years 4 to 10). Building on previous research findings the Middle Years Behaviour Support Project (MYSBP) explores and extends the use of TCC to middle years contexts. Employing an action research approach the MYBSP has three key cycles:
- Cycle 1: A Co-Design Focus; (Year 1 and 2)
- Cycle 2: A TCC Implementation Focus; (Year 1 and 2) and
- Cycle 3: An Action Knowledge Focus (Year 3).
Within these cycles, MYBSP will use TCC using a range of electronic communication options (e.g. phone, email and video conferencing) to implement a consultative approach between educators and parents in rural, remote, Indigenous, and isolated communities (e.g. home or distance education) and specialist support staff in metropolitan areas. The TCC approach used will be an iterative process with the specific details determined in consultation with participants once their needs are identified.
Implementing a TCC approach in rural, remote, Indigenous, and isolated education communities could have the following significant impacts:
- Increased retention and attendance rates for middle years students on the spectrum;
- Reduced restrictive practices for middle years students on the spectrum;
- Increased use of inclusive practices for ALL students including those on the spectrum.
- Beth Saggers, Queensland University of Technology