Supporting mainstream school inclusion of students with disability

This research brings together allied health and education researchers and practitioners to support the inclusion of children with various disabilities in school education. Underpinning this work are a deep commitment to the human rights of all children with disability to education alongside their peers without disability and a belief in the power of sharing expertise through collaboration involving families and professionals. A recently completed and a current project have a focus on inclusive education in mainstream schools through expert and child-focused supports.

The projects have a Victorian focus, drawing on local partnerships. The view is to extend this reach through the creation of open access on-line resources that can be accessed nationally and internationally to provide expanded research opportunities.

Research team members


Co-designing on-line modules to strengthen the capacity of mainstream schools to make accommodations through collaboration with allied health to meet the developmental, functional, educational and psychosocial needs of children with disability

This project has been funded by an NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Readiness Grant. It is led by a team of allied health and education academics from La Trobe and Federation Universities, providing combined expertise in disability, inclusive education, and on-line curriculum design.  Partners in the project are Kalianna Specialist School, Bendigo Special Developmental School, Camp Hill Primary School, and Everyday Independence.

The aim of this project is to develop an on-line education module co-designed by stakeholder representatives of the target audience: allied health professionals from within and outside the education sector, teachers and other education staff, and families of school-age children with disability. Through a co-design process facilitated by the allied health and education academics, and using a case-based learning approach, they will develop and trial the content for on-line modules. The intended learning outcomes of the modules will be to increase knowledge of disability and education policy, obligations and funding criteria; apply this knowledge to case scenarios to develop streamlined allied health and educational supports; and demonstrate key features of collaboration to address the support needs of the children in the two cases. On completion, the modules will be freely accessible via an open-access internet site.

Development of Options to Enable Specialist Schools to become ‘Centres of Expertise’ to Support Mainstream Schools to Implement Inclusive Education

This project was funded by the Principals’ Association for Specialist Schools, Inc. It was led by a team of allied health and education academics from La Trobe University.

The aim of this project was to develop options for how specialist schools in Victoria could become Centres of Expertise to support inclusive education in mainstream schools. Mixed methods were used across five project activities: review of the grey and published research evidence, interviews of key stakeholders, co-design forum, and acceptability and feasibility survey.

These activities resulted in eight options based on 22 options that had been co-designed by stakeholders from specialist and mainstream school communities. These options were submitted in a report to the Department of Education and Training, completing the implementation of a recommendation from the state government’s review of the Program for Students with Disabilities.


2017 Publication

Iacono, T., Keeffe, M., Kenny, A., & McKinstry, C. (2017). Development of options to enable specialist schools to become "Centres of Expertise" to support local mainstream schools to implement inclusive education. Download this report from theLa Trobe Research Online repository