Our Therapy Team

At BESDS we have the following therapy disciplines:

  • Speech Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Music Therapist

The therapists’ expertise complements the educational services the school offers and enhances the school philosophy of ‘Learning for Life’.

The participation of therapists encourages a multidisciplinary approach to teaching and learning. Therapists work on a consultative basis with parents, guardians and teaching staff to incorporate therapeutic practices into daily routine activities. Therapists support both individualised goal based learning and school wide practices such as Augmentative and Alternative Communication systems, signing and ‘ALERT’ ready to learn program. They base their practice on Positive Behaviour Support approaches to enable students to gain confidence, independence and achieve their goals.

Therapists are available to assist families and guardians to lodge funding submissions for specialist equipment such as wheelchairs, adaptive seating, communication aids, orthotic foot support and apply for relevant government and non-government grants.


In Music and Movement sessions, the students participate in activities involving body awareness, listening, turn-taking, choice making, cooperation, tolerance, a willingness to work with others, gross motor skills and sensory awareness. These are skills which can be transferred across other to other learning.

The Music Therapist works in groups with many students in the school. Students revel in the opportunity to express themselves through their voice and body.  Personal learning goals are supported in music therapy.

Creative Movement class presents students with another forum to express themselves creatively through moving their body.  This is offered weekly on a rotational basis and presented by a highly skilled dance teacher.


The Physical Education program at Burwood SDS offers a number of different activities using school and community based programs.

The students experience a variety of physical and sensory activities to maintain and develop basic movement patterns and recreational and leisure skills. PE enhances the students’ personal and social development as well as fitness and strength.


The art sessions place emphasis on creativity, participation and process rather than on the end product. Artwork is done both individually and as a group where sharing, cooperation, empathy and collaboration are encouraged and enjoyed. The student’s learning goals are supported in the art program. Pride in one’s own creations and those of others is fostered by dedicating time to “show off” and displaying artwork around the school.

Early Education

The Early Education program provides a nurturing and effective preparation for school life for children aged from 2.8 years by January 1 of their enrolment year to 5 years. Children who have a developmental delay or disability identified by a paediatrician are eligible to attend our Early Education Program.   Each child has an Individual Learning Plan catering for their learning needs and developed in consultation with parents and school therapists. The EE program follows the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework as prescribed by the Victorian Department of Education & Training.

Primary and Secondary

The school offers a safe and stimulating educational environment that considers students individual needs. WE use the DET VELS ‘Working Towards Level 1’ guidelines for students with special needs and the ABLES (Abilities Based Learning and Education Support) assessment tool developed at Melbourne University in all planning. The students ILPs (Individual Learning Plans) are developed in consultation with parents and carers at the beginning of the year with mid-year and end of year reporting shared with parents.

Programs include:

  • Communication skills
  • Functional Numeracy/Literacy
  • Personal/Social Skills
  • Independent Living Skills
  • Creative activities
  • Developmental Play
  • Recreation and Leisure
  • Community Based Programs/Incursions
  • Work Skills
  • Art
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Creative movement

Our therapy team is comprised of:

  • Speech therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Consultant paediatric physiotherapist
  • Music therapist

Support services

The Family Support Coordinator

It can be difficult to know what resources and services are available in the community and how to access them when raising a child with special needs. The Family Support Coordinator can assist families and guardians to explore the options and access the following:

  • external support networks
  • application forms, grants and submissions
  • out of school care and holiday programs
  • services to assist your child and family