The Therapy team is a multidisciplinary team made up of Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, a Physiotherapist and a Social Worker.  The Therapy team utilises a consultative model within the school to maximise the learning outcomes and goals for students in the classroom setting.  The main role of our school-based therapists is to support students to access the  curriculum by assisting teaching staff to deliver adapted and modified learning environments.  The team also work in consultation with families and external medical/therapy services to support students’ needs.

Occupational Therapy

The term occupation in Occupational Therapy refers to all ‘activities of daily living’. An occupational therapist is a trained health professional whose role is to assist the people with whom we work to successfully and independently take part in their daily living activities or ‘occupations’.

What do we do?

  • Assessing and addressing the sensory needs of individual students at school.
  • Assess and address the skills required by the students to participate in the school curriculum.
  • Run class-based sessions in conjunction with the staff including sensory programs; gross and fine motor skill development, play and life skills.
  • Liaise with private therapists, professionals, families and carers.
  • Collaborate with private therapists to provide consistency across environments.
  • Prescribe equipment / modifications to enable the child to access the school environment.
  • Assist staff in the implementation of functional routines in the school environment.


The Physiotherapists’ role in a school is to optimise the physical functioning of our students. In both the early education and school environment we assess and assist with the gross motor development and function of the child.

What do we do?

  • Help to facilitate a child’s ability to move about their environment, with assistance or independently.
  • Develop and implement various programs around a child’s physical needs.
  • Prescribe equipment (wheelchairs, standing frames, assistive walking devices, seating) for early education, school & home, in conjunction with the OTs.
  • Work and liaise with orthotic specialists to prescribe & fit foot and leg orthotics.
  • Provide support to staff and families.
  • Attend various appointments as required (wheelchair/equipment trials & fittings, specialists etc.)
  • Collaborate with private therapists to provide consistency across environments.

Speech Therapy

Speech Therapists support individuals to communicate as independently and effectively as possible. This may include assisting with speaking, listening, understanding language, reading, writing, social skills, stuttering and using voice.  We are also trained to work on areas concerning the function and musculature of the mouth, such as eating and drinking, speech clarity or articulation.

What do we do?

  • Support classrooms to improve accessibility to activities (e.g. using visuals or sign language).
  • Assist teachers to set up classroom therapy programs that focus on food exploration and play, joint attention, turn-taking, social skills, language development and choice-making.
  • Support students with oromotor needs such as hypersensitivity and aversion.
  • Provide safe swallowing recommendations, e.g. food and drink medications and strategies.
  • Trial and develop individualised communication systems in consultation with significant others.
  • Support students with life skills such as making friends, coping with change, interpreting signs in the community and ordering at a café.
  • Collaborate with private therapists to provide consistency of services across environments.

Social Work

Many families require information about what disability services and supports are available and how to access these services.  The Social Worker at Monash SDS acts as the link between community resources and families and can assist families in obtaining the most appropriate services for them.   

To promote good communication, the Social Worker also acts as a liaison between school and families.  The Social Worker advocates for families in need and works to keep both school staff and families informed of new and changing resources. 

The Social Worker assists the school in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the students and networks with many community partners like Child FIRST, Association for Children with a Disability, and NDIA to ensure families are receiving the supports they need.

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