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For schools

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The SDSS Program supports schools by providing funding to approved organisations to deliver services to improve access to, and participation in, the curriculum and the educational outcomes for eligible school-aged students with disability.

SDSS Program fact sheet for schools (PDF, 381KB).

How to access the Specialist Disability Support in Schools (SDSS) program services

All services are provided at the request of the school, based on a prioritisation process and may provide local, regional and/or state-wide services. It is recommended that schools make direct contact with the organisation to discuss service provision at school.

The list of SDSS Program funded organisations (PDF, 907KB) provides details of organisations under each of the 3 funding categories. 

The list of Outreach for SDSS Program funded organisations (PDF, 420KB) provides the outreach calendar for certain organisations.

Protocols for SDSS services

Protocols for SDSS services (PDF, 404KB) to schools have been developed to assist SDSS organisations to establish and maintain effective professional relationships with schools including initial contact and appointments.

SDSS Program and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The important distinctions between the department's SDSS Program and the NDIS are available on the following link and the video clip below—SDSS and the NDIS.

Transcript for schools, the SDSS program and the NDIS video (DOCX, 22KB)

Please note the NSO Program concluded in December 2018 and has been replaced by the SDSS program; however, the same distinctions apply regarding the NDIS.

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Frequently asked questions

Why would my school use the SDSS Program?

The Department of Education provides funding through the SDSS Program to specialist service providers to support students with disability in Queensland state and non-state schools.

The approved SDSS organisations deliver services to improve access to and participation in curriculum and the educational outcomes for eligible school-aged students with disability through:

  • identification of barriers to access, participation and achievement; and
  • provision of supports to enhance student attendance, participation and achievement in schooling.

All approved SDSS organisations have a current service agreement with the Department of Education and receive funding to support schools and students with disability.

Services provided by organisations under the SDSS Program are complementary services to those offered by the education sectors and are not intended to be a duplication of those services available in schools.

While SDSS organisations may approach a school to offer a service, SDSS Program services are only delivered at the written request of the school, based on the needs of the student to access and participate in the curriculum. The Principal, or delegate of the Principal, decides if assistance is required and requests the services of a SDSS organisation.

Many of the supporting services are state-wide services, which means that all schools, including those in rural and remote locations, have the opportunity to access services from funded organisations to engage a specialist education support service.

What supports are available?

SDSS organisations are funded under service agreements with the Department of Education for 3 types of funding categories: 

School Support Services

Funding for the provision of a range of professional services and consultation in schools for eligible students with disability. Services may include support services from educators, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, orientation and mobility specialists, and psychologists.

Resource Centre Services

Funding to provide equipment, materials and resources to schools for the support of eligible students.

Specialised Equipment

Funding for specialised equipment is:

  1. to improve the equipment loan pools of organisations providing support services to students with disability to enhance access and participation in school
  2. for equipment that is complementary to the equipment that is available from the regionalised loan service
  3. for trial purposes at school; and/or
  4. for short term equipment loans up to 6 months.

This funding may not be used for equipment for individuals or minor equipment and materials.

Who is eligible for support under the SDSS program?

A student enrolled in a Queensland school who has been identified under the Education Adjustment Program as requiring significant educational adjustment related to the specific impairment areas of:

  • autism spectrum disorder
  • hearing impairment
  • intellectual disability
  • physical impairment
  • speech-language impairment
  • vision impairment
  • social emotional disorder
    • non-state schools: students with a verification of social emotional disorder
    • state schools: students who:
      • are recorded as receiving substantial or extensive adjustments to address a social emotional disorder in the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data for School Students with disability; and
      • have been formally reported as being subject to abuse or harm or are at risk of harm.
Where can I find information regarding the SDSS organisations and the services they offer?

The list of SDSS Program funded organisations (PDF, 907KB) provides details of the SDSS organisations and an overview of their services.

How do I request SDSS support for a student with disability at my school?

Prior to requesting a SDSS service, schools should consider the needs of students in conjunction with any services already available to the school, such as school based therapies. Should it be established that a complementary service is needed to improve the student’s access to and participation in the curriculum, then a SDSS service can be requested.

Schools should make direct contact with a SDSS organisation to discuss service provision at their respective school and are encouraged to only request support from one SDSS organisation at a time for each impairment to minimise duplication of services and potential confusion.

The Principal of the school, or delegate, decides if assistance is required and requests the service from a SDSS organisation by completing and signing a school request for support form.

What is the difference between SDSS and NDIS?

The SDSS program and the NDIS have two distinct purposes.

The SDSS program supports schools to enhance the learning outcomes for eligible students who require significant educational adjustments. The SDSS organisations are funded by the Department of Education and their services are engaged by schools.

NDIS services are focussed on supporting people with disability in their daily lives and do not include supports within schools to access the curriculum. NDIS funding is allocated to parents of students with disability under a NDIS participant plan, with parents directly engaging a provider.

SDSS Program enquiries

Email: sdss@qed.qld.gov.au

Telephone: (07) 3513 6743

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Last updated 25 November 2019