Developmental educators in practice: Informing curriculum renewal in the Bachelor of Disability and Developmental Education (BDDE)
August 2021 - August 2022
Journal articles on DE role and curriculum design will be published.
This study seeks to gain insight and perspectives on the current practice of developmental educators across Australia. Findings will inform curriculum renewal in the Bachelor of Disability and Developmental Education at Flinders University, and ensure our graduates are best prepared for professional practice.
The Bachelor of Disability and Developmental Education (BDDE) at Flinders University is an accredited 4-year degree offered by the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Graduates are eligible for full membership with the Developmental Educators Australia Inc (DEAI) to practice as developmental educators across Australia.
Developmental educators (DE’s) are National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) approved allied health professionals who work with people with disability using a human rights framework to achieve full participation in community life (DEAI, 2021). Developmental educators also operate in roles that fall outside of the regulatory framework of the NDIS (e.g. education, local government, justice and health), and work within multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teams in government, non-government organisations and private practice.
The introduction of the NDIS in 2013 has brought major social reform for Australians with disability. In order to respond to significant changes and challenges across the sector, the BDDE degree has undergone a significant curriculum renewal process, with new topics currently under development to ensure graduates are prepared for professional practice.
In order to inform the curriculum renewal, consultations with alumni, current students, and industry stakeholders in 2019 identified a stronger focus on specialist skills including strength-based assessment and report writing, instructional strategies, positive behaviour support and strengthening professional identity as a DE was required. As a response, new topics have been added across the curriculum, including core specialist 4th year topics focusing on current DE practice which will be available from 2022:
DSRS4104 Early Intervention
DSRS4106 Practicum 3: DE Specialisation
DSRS4116 Delivering Therapeutic Supports
DSRS4117 Positive Behaviour Support: Assessment and Functional Analysis
DSRS4118 Positive Behaviour Support: Implementation
DSRS4119 Positive Behaviour Support: Practicum and Mentoring Program
DSRS4120 Capstone for Professional DE Practice and Leadership
This study seeks to gain further insight into DE practice across Australia to ensure our new topics prepare our graduates for professional practice in the current landscape.
Findings will enhance our understanding of the role of developmental educators in Australia, and inform curriculum renewal in the Bachelor of Disability and Developmental Education at Flinders University to ensure our graduates are best prepared for professional practice.
An easy-read resource for this project is not currently available.