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International Day of People with Disabilities - 3rd December

International Day of People with Disabilities aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions. This is an opportunity for us to make positive changes to the lives of the 4.4 million Australians with disability. This year’s theme is Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world’

To find out more, click here, or make contact with your Inclusion Professional.

The NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency (IA) is part of the Inclusion Support Program and is managed by KU Children’s Services, in partnership with Include Me and Gowrie NSW.

The Inclusion Support Program aims to build the capacity and capability of educators to address participation barriers for all children through implementing quality inclusive practices.

Eligible Services

We provide free tailored inclusion support to eligible early childhood education and care services including:

Support for Educators

Educators are directly supported by our team of Inclusion Professionals, who are based at Inclusion Hubs across NSW and the ACT.

Inclusion Professionals use a strengths-based approach, including coaching and practical inclusion advice when supporting each service. Support is provided through a combination of phone appointments, online appointments and service visits.

How do we support services?

Inclusion Professionals recognise that the inclusion journey of each service and educator is unique. The support provided is tailored to meet the individual needs of each service.

The role of an Inclusion Professional is to support educators to:

  • Acknowledge and identify their strengths
  • Reflect on their understanding of inclusion and identify
    inclusion barriers
  • Critically reflect on their practices
  • Overcome specific inclusion barriers by identifying and planning practical strategies and solutions through the development of a Strategic Inclusion Plan
  • Implement their Strategic Inclusion Plan, reflect on their progress and identify next steps
  • Promote an understanding of inclusion principles with families and other professionals
  • Access all Inclusion Support Program (ISP) resources including the Inclusion Development Fund, if required, to support children to access and participate in every aspect of the program
  • Work in partnership with families, community groups, services and organisations

Inclusion Professionals are unable to:

  • Assess or support individual children
  • Provide funding for one to one support for individual children
  • Tell educators what to do or what resources they have to use
  • Provide access to specialist equipment for therapy purposes
  • Complete planning and/or funding applications on behalf of a service
  • Recommend ECEC services to families

Strategic Inclusion Planning

The Strategic Inclusion Plan (SIP) is a self-guided inclusion assessment and planning tool for services, which includes strategies for improving and embedding inclusive practice, in line with the National Quality Standard (NQS). Developing a Strategic Inclusion Plan (SIP), in conjunction with their Inclusion Professional, supports services to identify their current inclusion capacity as well as identify strategies and actions they will implement to ensure all children can actively and meaningfully participate in the program. A Strategic Inclusion Plan is the first step in accessing support from the Inclusion Agency.

A Strategic Inclusion Plan is developed, implemented and evaluated within a 12 month period and can be updated at any time to reflect changes and to record progress.

Valuing Inclusion

The NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency recognises each service’s ongoing commitment to inclusion by providing them with an “Our service values inclusion” acknowledgement when they have an active Strategic Inclusion Plan.

This acknowledgement can be displayed to show families, the community, Authorised Officers, and any other visitors to the service that you value inclusion.

Each year a service maintains an active SIP, their Inclusion Professional will provide them with a star which shows that they continue to be a service that values inclusion.

Children with Additional Needs

While there is no national definition of ‘additional needs’, there are children who may need or require specific considerations or adaptations to participate fully in ECEC services (although not all children with additional needs will require support).

The Inclusion Support Program (ISP) supports educators to address access and participation barriers and to support the inclusion of children with additional needs, with their typically developing peers.

The Inclusion Support Program recognises that additional needs may arise for children who:

  • Have a disability or developmental delay
  • Are presenting with challenging behaviours
  • Have a serious medical or health condition, including mental health
  • Are presenting with trauma-related behaviours

and for children from:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Refugee or humanitarian backgrounds

who may also require special considerations, such as cultural support, to ensure that they are able to participate fully in early childhood education and care, out of school hours care and family day care services and experience positive outcomes.

Extract from: Department of Education, Skills and Employment, Inclusion Support Program Guidelines, Version 2.3, July 2021.

How to Access Support

Please contact your Inclusion Professional directly, at a time that is convenient for you. Their contact details can be located at the bottom of each email they have sent your service.

Alternatively, please contact our friendly team at the IA Help Hub on 1800 703 382 (toll-free) or email us at inclusionagency@includeme.com

The NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency will also contact your service at least twice each year, via phone or email. This provides you with the opportunity to access support and share your inclusion achievements and challenges with your Inclusion Professional.

Your Inclusion Professional will share with you information about available inclusion resources, upcoming professional conversations opportunities and program support options.

We look forward to working with you soon and supporting you with your inclusion planning.

Specialist Equipment Library

The NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency includes the Specialist Equipment Library (SEL). The SEL loans a range of specialist equipment, free of charge, to early childhood education and care (ECEC) services to enable children to access and participate in all aspects of an ECEC program.

Inclusion in Action

Man and kids

Explore a range of resources designed to support, inspire and challenge your inclusive practice

What we learn becomes a part of who we are.