Reasonable adjustments

 Our site also has specific information about different disabilities.

To make sure your child has the same learning opportunities as children without disability, an education provider must make reasonable adjustments.

Reasonable adjustments may include changes to the way your child is supported in their learning, the kindergarten or school environment and providing additional supports.

For an Easy English version of this topic, see:

What a reasonable adjustment is

A reasonable adjustment is a measure or action taken to help your child with disability take part in education courses and programs, on the same basis as a child without disability.

Education providers can make reasonable adjustments:

  • in the classroom
  • in the playground
  • to excursions and camps
  • to the premises.

Examples of adjustments include:

  • changing activities or work in line with your child’s needs
  • different ways to access information –for example, adaptive or assistive technology, sign language, multimedia, braille or illustrated text
  • using assistive technology like voice recognition software, screen readers and adjustable desks
  • changing class schedules or locations
  • accessing school support services like psychologists, speech pathologists and visiting teachers
  • changing the premises – for example, installing ramps or a lift
  • offering different assessment options – for example, oral assessments instead of written,  or multiple choice questions
  • extra time to finish class work or projects
  • modified activities and excursions – for example, if your child cannot take part in an activity, the education provider can offer an alternative
  • specialised professional development or training for your child’s teachers and other staff as needed.

When a reasonable adjustment does not have to be made

If an adjustment is not considered reasonable, the education provider does not have to make the adjustment. To help an education provider determine if an adjustment is reasonable, they may have regard to a number of factors including:

  • consider how your child’s disability affects their ability to take part in education
  • talk to you and your child about the type of assistance they need
  • review any relevant reports from your child’s allied health and/or medical practitioners about their needs and the support that can help them
  • consider if the adjustment will allow your child to:
    • achieve their learning outcomes
    • take part in programs
    • increase their independence
  • consider how the adjustment might affect the education provider, their staff and other children or students
  • the cost and benefit of making the adjustment.

Unjustifiable hardship

There may be times when making an adjustment would cause unjustifiable hardship. If that's the case there is no obligation for the education provider to make that adjustment. 

If an education provider decides not to make an adjustment, they'll discuss the reasons with you.  Find out how to raise a concern.

How to speak to an education provider about reasonable adjustments

You can speak to your child’s education provider about adjustments at any time during your child’s education.

The principal, or their delegate, will meet with you and your child to talk about what type of adjustments will best meet your child’s needs. This is called consultation.

If your child is already attending kindergarten or school, their program support group or student support group is involved in consultation about their needs. If your child does not have one of these groups, speak to the education provider about creating one.

When talking about what adjustments are best for your child, you may discuss:

  • how your child’s disability might affect the way they learn
  • what support and adjustments might meet your child’s needs
  • how the adjustments might affect the education provider, their staff and other students.

You may also need to give information about your child’s disability, like medical reports or assessments from their allied health practitioners.

An assessment by a medical professional may be needed to help decide the best reasonable adjustment for your child. However the principal makes the final decision about what adjustments will be made, based on all available information.

As your child’s needs change, reasonable adjustments should be reviewed regularly.

When your child is enrolling in a kindergarten or school they can also have adjustments made to the enrolment process if needed.

Assistance for VCE exams

If your child has a disability they may be able to get special arrangements to complete their VCE.

This can include:

  • extra time to complete the exam
  • rest breaks
  • providing one question at a time
  • using computers and assistive technology
  • using a reader or scribe
  • changing the format such as oral or typed assessment instead of written
  • holding tests in quiet areas
  • material in accessible formats.

Special arrangements are available for VCE or VCAL at both school-based assessment and external examinations.

Talk to your child’s school about special arrangements for VCE.

More information and advice

It is important to know your child’s rights and what the education provider can do.

For information about your child’s rights, visit:

Raising a concern

You can complain or raise a concern if you’re unhappy with the support your child is getting.

Talk to the education provider first.

Use our complaints process if you’re unhappy with how your concern was handled. 

Find a local advocacy service if you need help raising a concern.