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View from behind. A mother holds her sons hand as they walk to school.
We want to share some of the ways our PossABLE Advocates have supported, changed lives and advocated for people with disability. This is *Charlie and *Sophie's story. 

 *Names changed for confidentiality.

An NDIS support coordinator referred Charlie and his mother Sophie to Advocacy.

Charlie is a 7-year-old boy who lives with his mother Sophie, and 4 siblings. He lives with Autism and is non-verbal. Charlie loves attending his local public school. Every day he walks to school with his Mum.

Sophie is concerned that the school is bullying her.

They want her to accept a support class placement for Charlie, an hour away from their home. The Department of Communities and Justice has recently referred Sophie to an intensive family support service. She feels that they are working with the school to put pressure on her to accept the placement. The school have stated that they feel the new placement is in Charlie’s ‘best interests.

The advocate worked with Sophie to make her aware of Charlie’s rights. That includes attending his local public school on the same basis as any other student. Also, they reminded Sophie that it was the school's responsibility to make all necessary provisions and reasonable adjustments to include Charlie in a regular class.

Sophie was encouraged to arrange a meeting with the school to express her concerns.

The advocate arranged a conference call with Sophie and a lawyer from LawAccess. The Lawyer provided her with some legal guidance on approaching the issue and steps in making a formal complaint. Preparing her In case the school fail to engage with her requests. The advocate supported Sophie to prepare a list of key points she wanted to raise during the meeting. This included withdrawing her consent for the support class placement.

Sophie and her advocate met with the school principal, her family support caseworkers and other school staff. Before the meeting, Sophie had texted the advocate to say she had butterflies and was very nervous, as she felt intimidated. Sophie advised that she did not want Charlie to move schools as he was happy there. She felt this was how he would learn social skills from his peers and be part of a mainstream community. Sophie informed the school she is to engage new therapists using Charlie’s NDIS plan to work with them on strategies for inclusion. The Learning Support officer advised many plans had already been put in place. So, the advocate provided ideas on some new strategies and resources the school could use to support Charlie.

The meeting ended with Sophie agreeing to view the support class placement. The school Principal advised that if she didn’t want to accept the placement, they would continue to support Charlie.

Sophie has stated she felt empowered by the advocate. She still plans not to accept the placement. After she has viewed the placement, she will arrange another meeting with the school to discuss how they can support Charlie going forward.

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