Making sure your needs are met in high school

Are your learning and accessibility needs being met at school?

Written by
Monique Ziegelaar profile picture
Monique Ziegelaar
Speech Pathologist & How I Learn Contributor
High school boy wearing a sports jumper smiley at the camera

Are your learning and accessibility needs being met at school?

If yes, that’s great! Keep asking yourself this question at the start of each term or any time there’s a change in circumstances. For example, it may be a change in teacher, change in classroom layout, or change in your level of functioning.

If not, think about what needs to change. You might want to re-do your How I Learn profile, or just some sections of it. Then speak to your school.

Advice from other students

  1. Talk to your teachers.
  2. Find a staff member you feel comfortable speaking with. It may be a teacher, the school psychologist or the head of year.
  3. Ask for help when you need it.
  4. Making friends can be daunting and tricky, but having close friends can help you feel more comfortable.
  5. You’re the expert in your disability, don’t let adults tell you what you can and can’t do.
  6. Keep a copy of your learning profile on you to hand out to relief teachers if needed.

What can I do if I feel my learning or accessibility needs aren’t being met?

If you feel a teacher isn’t implementing your learning or accessibility needs, talk to them about it. It may not be intentional, they may have just forgotten. Trying to solve the problem yourself is important for developing your self-advocacy.

The tips below might help you feel confident and comfortable having this conversation with your teacher:

  1. Set up an appropriate time and place to have the conversation away from distractions. The below conversation starters might help you organise this with your teacher:
    • “I need to talk to you about …. Can we make a time to talk about it?”
    • “The way things have been arranged isn’t working for me, can we please make a time to talk about it?”
    • “It’s really important to me that…. Can we please make a time to talk about this?”
  1. Remind yourself this conversation needs to be had using an assertive communication style.
  2. Let your teacher know you’re self-advocating because it’s important to you.
  3. Consider if you’re more comfortable having the conversation alone or with someone you trust.
  4. Think beforehand about what you’re going to say. Think of some potential solutions to your problem.
  5. Bring a positive attitude.
  6. Remember to say thank you to your teacher for taking the time to meet with you at the end.

More resources for students