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EDIP604 Supporting Children with Complex Needs , EDIP609 Implementing Differentiated Provision

Unit rationale, description and aim

Educators play a vital role in advocating for and supporting the educational and social development of all students, particularly those with complex needs, unique attributes, and challenging behaviours.

This unit recognises that professionals in their work with all children and young people play a significant role in advocating on their behalf, assuring their safety and supporting their educational and social development. Through exploring the legal and ethical considerations of inclusive education, students will gain a deeper understanding of their responsibilities as educators and the impact of their actions on the students. They will examine learning best practices for creating inclusive curriculum, instruction, and assessment, to design learning experiences that are accessible and meaningful for all students. Focus is given to inclusive practices which specifically address the contexts and needs of First Nations peoples.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to address the social and emotional needs of their students and to develop strategies and design learning experiences that create positive and supportive classroom environments for all students.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Articulate an understanding of the characteristics and needs of students with complex needs, including those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), gifted students, gender diversity and disabilities (APST HA 3.5, 3.7; APST Lead 1.1, 1.3, 1.6, 4.2)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO2Demonstrate skill in creating positive and proactive behaviour supports and interventions (APST HA 3.2, 3.5; APST Lead 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 7.1)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO3Recognise the legal and ethical considerations related to students with complex needs and challenging behaviours (APST HA 3.5, 5.5; APST Lead 1.1, 1.6, 3.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 6.4, 7.1, 7.3)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO4Explain the unique needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and the impact of colonialism, discrimination and marginalisation on their inclusion in the classroom (APST HA 2.4, 3.5, 5.5; APST Lead 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 3.1, 4.4, 6.3, 6.4, 7.3)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC5, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO5Apply practices that recognise the importance of collaboration and communication with families, community members, and other stakeholders, including school counsellors, social workers, and mental health professionals, to support students who have experienced child abuse and neglect and ensure their safety and well-being (APST HA 3.7; APST Lead 3.1, 4.4, 6.3, 6.4, 7.1, 7.3)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

2.4 Understand and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians    

Support colleagues with providing opportunities for students to develop understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages. 

3.2 Plan, structure and sequence learning programs 

Work with colleagues to plan, evaluate and modify learning and teaching programs to create productive learning environments that engage all students. 

3.5 Use effective classroom communication

Assist colleagues to select a wide range of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support students’ understanding, engagement and achievement. 

3.7 Engage parents/carers in the educative process    

Work with colleagues to provide appropriate and contextually relevant opportunities for parents/carers to be involved in their children’s learning

5.4 Interpret student data.    

Work with colleagues to use data from internal and external student assessments for evaluating learning and teaching, identifying interventions and modifying teaching practice. 

5.5 Report on student achievements      

Work with colleagues to construct accurate, informative and timely reports to students and parents/carers about student learning and achievement. 


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

1.1 Physical, Social and intellectual development and characteristics of students  

Lead colleagues to select and develop teaching strategies to improve student learning using knowledge of the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.

1.3 Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds     

Evaluate and revise school learning and teaching programs, using expert and community knowledge and experience, to meet the needs of students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

1.4 Strategies for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island students    

Develop teaching programs that support equitable and ongoing participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students by engaging in collaborative relationships with community representatives and parents/carers. (

1.6 Strategies to support full participation of students with disability    

Initiate and lead the review of school policies to support the engagement and full participation of students with disability and ensure compliance with legislative and/or system policies. 

3.1 Establish challenging learning goals     

Demonstrate exemplary practice and high expectations and lead colleagues to encourage students to pursue challenging goals in all aspects of their education. 

4.1 Support student participation

Demonstrate and lead by example the development of productive and inclusive learning environments across the school by reviewing inclusive strategies and exploring new approaches to engage and support all students. 

4.2 Manage classroom activities

Initiate strategies and lead colleagues to implement effective classroom management and promote student responsibility for learning. 

4.3 Managing challenging behaviour    

Lead and implement behaviour management initiatives to assist colleagues to broaden their range of strategies. 

4.4 Maintain student safety      

Evaluate the effectiveness of student well-being policies and safe working practices using current school and/ or system, curriculum and legislative requirements and assist colleagues to update their practices. 

6.3 Engage with colleagues and improve practice    

Implement professional dialogue within the school or professional learning network(s) that is informed by feedback, analysis of current research and practice to improve the educational outcomes of students. 

6.4 Apply professional learning and improve student learning   

Advocate, participate in and lead strategies to support high-quality professional learning opportunities for colleagues that focus on improved student learning. 

7.1 Meet professional ethics and responsibilities   

Model exemplary ethical behaviour and exercise informed judgements in all professional dealings with students, colleagues and the community. 

7.3 Engage with the parents/carers     

Identify, initiate and build on opportunities that engage parents/ carers in both the progress of their children’s learning and in the educational priorities of the school. 


Topics will include:

  • Understanding the characteristics and needs of students with complex needs and recognizing how they may be affected by mental health and other conditions, including  
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
  • gifted students
  • gender diversity
  • student with disabilities
  • Creating positive and proactive behaviour supports and interventions, recognising the impact of trauma, poverty, and cultural diversity when considering behaviour supports.. 
  • Legal and ethical considerations related to students with complex needs and challenging behaviours, including issues related to privacy, consent, and information sharing. 
  • Understanding the unique needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and the impact of colonialism, discrimination, and marginalization on their inclusion in the classroom.  
  • Strategies for creating culturally responsive and inclusive classrooms. 
  • Collaboration and communication strategies for working with families, community members, and other stakeholders, including school counsellors, social workers, and mental health professionals, to support students who have experienced or are at risk of child abuse and neglect. 
  • Insights from professionals and educators working with students with complex needs in the field. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered fully online and uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of the essential knowledge associated with the enactment of a rights respecting framework for supporting children and young people in inclusive settings. Students will explore key issues and develop a deeper contextualised understanding of child rights, voice and agency through online asynchronous activities. Other activities may include lectures and reading, self-directed learning, participant critical reflection against relevant professional standards with particular reference to case studies, engagement with the literature, dialogue and interrogation of concepts, theories and practices, and the application to their current professional contexts.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks are used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes and professional standards and criteria consistent with University assessment requirements. 

The assessment will relate directly to the achievement of the outcomes above. Some flexibility may be exercised in the assessment tasks to align with the needs of the students; for example, some students may be working in schools or other educational contexts, in an administrative role or currently on leave from teaching in a school. In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit all assessment tasks and achieve an overall mark above 50%.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1 

Literature Review  

Choose a specific student population for focus (e.g. students with autism spectrum disorder, gifted students, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students etc.). Critically analyse current understanding of this focus group’s characteristics and needs with relation to contemporary strategies for supporting them in the classroom. How do the recommended strategies support or challenge the methods recommended for teaching in inclusive settings? 


LO1, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 2 

Support Plan

Create a behaviour support plan for a hypothetical student with challenging behaviours. The plan should include positive and proactive strategies for addressing the behaviour, as well as a plan for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the interventions. The plan should include strategies for collaborating and communicating with families, community members, and other stakeholders.


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Representative texts and references

Dharan, V., & Mincher, N. (2022). Continual disobedience: a term perpetuating exclusive practices in schools. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 1–14.  

McMillan, J. M., & Jarvis, J. M. (2022). Ensuring inclusive outcomes for young people with disability within School-wide Positive Behaviour Support. In School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support (pp. 147–169). Routledge.

McQuillan, M. T., & Leininger, J. (2021). Supporting gender-inclusive schools: educators’ beliefs about gender diversity training and implementation plans. Professional Development in Education, 47(1),156–176.  

Moodie, N., Maxwell, J., & Rudolph, S. (2019). The impact of racism on the schooling experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students: A systematic review. The Australian Educational Researcher, 46, 273–295.  

Nevill, T., & Savage, G. C. (2022). The changing rationalities of Australian federal and national inclusive education policies. The Australian Educational Researcher, 1–19. 

Ninkov, I. (2020). Education Policies for Gifted Children Within a Human Rights Paradigm: a Comparative Analysis. Journal of Human Rights and Social Work, 5(4), 280–289.  

Scorgie, K.,  &  Sobsey, D. (Eds.). (2017). Working with families for inclusive education: Navigating identity, opportunity and belonging. Vol. 10, International perspectives on inclusive education. Emerald Insight. (e-book) 

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