The concept of a school for kids with autism was born from the schooling experiences of Brisbane parents and their children with autism. A group of these parents formed a not-for-profit organisation, and worked for two years to bring The Sycamore School to fruition.
Having experienced first-hand the difficulties in finding appropriate educational settings for their autistic children, they set out to provide educational options for children with autism in Queensland that were tailored to the needs of the students.
"It’s not just about meeting curriculum outcomes; it’s about giving each student a voice, giving them the tools to advocate for themselves, and to be involved in the decision making processes of their lives. It’s about giving them confidence, self-determination, and a valued place in our community."
With over 10,000 school aged students diagnosed with ASD in Queensland, there is a growing community not only of students, but also the increased numbers of families and educators who require support. The Sycamore School hopes to not only support those touched by Autism in their lives, but we also hope to promote acceptance and diversity in mainstream schools and various workplaces through mentoring programs and partnerships, to ensure that as a community we can continue to support people with Autism through their whole life.
"We can only achieve great things, such as establishing this important place of learning, with the help of our community."
The Sycamore School opened in January 2017 on the TAFE campus at Alexandra Hills. The key to the school’s success has been the commitment of our Board of Directors who are all people with a personal connection to a young person with autism. Equally as important is the support the school has received from the community, whom have contributed to creating this wonderful place for learning.
What We Do
The Sycamore School is a Primary School (Prep to Year 6) for your people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The school provides a safe and inclusive educational environment with programs supported by allied health, aimed at achieving academic, social, emotional and behavioural goals.
Using a strengths-based approach, new and innovative ways of teaching alongside evidence informed strategies and the national curriculum, the school provides a positive learning environment with the instruction of quality teaching, community engagement and support programs providing pathways to assist students on their educational journey.
The Sycamore School works to provide young people with opportunities to reach their potential. It’s not just about meeting curriculum outcomes; it’s about giving each student a voice, giving them the tools to advocate for themselves, and to be involved in the decision-making processes of their lives. It’s about giving them confidence, self-determination, and a valued place in our community.
Our approach is simple; the child is centre. Programming is focused on each student and what makes them unique, as we believe that this will allow for learning opportunities to be recognised and implemented to their fullest extent. We believe in the promise and potential of each child and this is our motivation.
At The Sycamore School we provide an Autism Friendly Learning Environment, a Spectrum of Choice and a Place of Celebration.
What does Autism Friendly Learning mean?
- A safe and positive learning community - ensuring positive behaviour support underpins practise
- Use of a strengths based approach – respecting the strengths and interests of the young people
- Evidence informed practise is imbedded in programming to build independence with communication skills, social interactions, adaptive behaviours, sensory processing and information processing skills
- Support from a transdisciplinary team, including Teachers, ESOs, Speech & Occupational Therapist, Social Worker
- Ensuring the wellbeing of young people and their families
- Collaboration and connection with wider team, parents, community
A Spectrum of Choice?
- Creating learning opportunities that respects the young person's strengths and interest
- Supporting each young person to achieve their greatest potential through modified and adapted programming
- Valuing parents contributions and collaborating with them as an integral part of the young person’s learning journey
- Embracing the professional perspectives of the transdisciplinary team (Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Social Worker and external stakeholders).
A Place of Celebration
- We celebrate diversity and strengths through valuing the uniqueness of every young person to reach their greatest potential
- We celebrate the families and The Sycamore School team
- Young people don’t have to achieve academically to be celebrated
Our Guiding Principles
The Sycamore School is guided by the principles of:
- Quality Teaching
School Character Values
Employees and Young People attending The Sycamore School are encouraged to model the character values of Respect, Safety, Participation and Celebration. These values are displayed in all of The Sycamore School classrooms. Character Value Superhero awards are presented to students who have demonstrated the character value areas.
Our Statement of Philosophy
Please click here to view our Statement of Philosophy.
Our Strategic Plan
Please click here to view our 2017-2020 Strategic Plan.
Teaching, Learning & Curriculum
Programming is focused on on the young person and what makes them unique, as we believe that this will allow for learning opportunities to be recognised and implemented to their fullest extent. We believe in the promise and potential of each child and this is our motivation.
The platforms that guide our practise are
- Structured Teaching
- The Zones of Regulation
- Positive Behaviour Support
- School Wide Character Values
- Regular Communication.
The Sycamore School Curriculum comprises of three key components:
- Respect The Spectrum (RTS)
- Australian Curriculum Learning Areas
- Australian Curriculum General Capabilities
At The Sycamore School, the core component of our Curriculum is what is referred to as ‘Respect The Spectrum’ or RTS. This is usually what is often termed as the ‘hidden curriculum’. ‘Respect The Spectrum’ involves explicit teaching, as well as the incidental teaching of a range of skills across the areas that are typical characteristics and indicators of ASD, being communication skills, social interaction, adaptive behaviours, sensory processing and information processing skills. Without this explicit teaching and specialist support, independence and access to the Australian Curriculum is often challenging for our young people. All teachers at The Sycamore School design their classroom program to align with Learning Areas, General Capabilities and most importantly, the characteristics related to the Respect The Spectrum components.
We base our content around the National Curriculum, keeping learning relevant, and in line with typically developing peers in Australian schools.
The following are the subjects that young people will engage in whilst at The Sycamore School: Literacy, Numeracy, Zones of Regulation, Connections (Friendship & Social Skills, Autism Awareness etc.), Wellbeing, STEM & Genius Time, The Arts (Music, Dance, Drama), Humanities & Social Sciences, Chill Out (relaxation/self-regulation), Superpowers (reward time) and Superhero Assembly.