Open Access College Student Story - Family

This is a story of a family of 7 children all of whom attended OAC. Several were/are active in all aspects of student life, including Student Leaders, Come In Days and Curriculum Days. Father is severely ill and the mother has a severe debilitating disease which made it more and more difficult to home school. This became a major issue with DECD Home Schooling and the AP Student Welfare intervened. He worked with the Channel Manager who agreed all remaining children were at risk.

Students are now full time at OAC under the At Risk criteria. Since 2016 OAC has sought assessment for both of the youngest children with no success. In 2017 OAC Psychologist assessed the 2 youngest children providing possible interventions which will be used to apply for NDIS funding. OCOPs were written for both of these children.

The eldest “H” enrolled in Stage 1 in 2010 as a Curriculum Choice student. She left for TAFE to do a Cert 2 in Information Technology in 2013. She returned to complete her SACE as an adult in 2016. “E” the second eldest enrolled at OAC in Year 10 in 2012. He was very keen on a career working with animals and did one day voluntary work at the local Vet every fortnight. “E” had food intolerance leading to occasional absences and him taking time away from school. He returned to OAC in 2014 to complete Stage 1 including a Certificate II in Animal Studies. He left mid 2015 having gained a place at Gilles Plains TAFE in Certificate III Companion Animal Services.

“L” the third eldest child of the family was also the most academic. She initially studied Year 8 and 9 French, and Music at OAC in 2013 and 2014. She was eligible to come full time at OAC in 2015. She successfully completed Stage 1 and 2 over the next 2 years and won a place in Forensic Science Flinders University.

Currently OAC students include “M” who like her sister studied Year 8 and 9 Music at OAC in 2013 and 2014. Again when eligible she enrolled full time in New Directions in 2016 due to academic issues and has an OCOP.

She has continued doing Cert 3 Music via OAC and moved into Transition Stage 1 and 2 in 2017-18 with an OCOP. “I” also studied Year 8 and 9 French, Music at OAC in 2013 - 14. When eligible in year 10 in 2015 “I” enrolled at OAC in the New Directions program. “I” is interested in computers as a career and benefited from the certificate aspect of the New Directions program. “I” also studied music via the VET Cert 3 course through OAC. “I” successfully completed the Stage 1 Transition Program in 2017 and is currently in the Stage 2 Transition Program. He has an OCOP.

The youngest 2 were enrolled as students at risk after intervention by the AP Student Welfare.

“A” enrolled as a student at risk in year 5 in 2017. He had been home schooled and had very little formal schooling. His mother said he was showing growth but was still very hard to engage at home as he lacked concentration as much as mother tried to work with him. He was enrolled in an Individualised Learning Program and has continued in this program.

He came to OAC with a non DECD verified intellectual disability for Autism but was assessed by the OAC Psychologist in 2016 which has been verified and has an OCOP. “A” has continued with Reading Support. SWL has organised for “A” to join the DECD SWD (Student With Disability) Swimming at The Parks Centre.

“J” enrolled as a year 1 college based student under the at risk category in 2016. He had been home schooled and had very little formal schooling.

Further assessments were needed once we established his ability and engagement levels. Reading Support was put in place. He re enrolled as a student at risk year 2 and 3. “J” has no formal diagnosis but mother reports that she is seeking an assessment for possibly ASD or ADHD as she reports that “J” is "extremely active, has no off switch, no self regulation and has difficulty concentrating and staying focussed.”

The family moved from a rural town to Adelaide in 2017. Father and mother separated and dad ended up in gaol in late 2017 due to family violence. The family lost their home mid-2018 and moved from accommodation to accommodation. Limited internet access and all students’ attendance fell away. In June 2018 SWL visited mother who was very sick.

SWL delivered an internet modem so children could access lessons. The OAC Social Worker worked with mum via Intensive Case Management and home visits. They attended an appointment at Uniting SA and had some success. Family was in emergency motel accommodation for several months.

During the holidays mother was successful in securing a private rental property.

During their period of homelessness it impacted on the whole family in varying ways. The mother’s ability to be the nurturing and caring parent that she is was minimised due to the numerous appointments that she was required to attend.

Throughout this whole process SWL and Social Worker both reinforced and

empowered mother that she was doing an awesome job of holding it all together during this time of serious upheaval. Social Worker maintained contact with mother throughout the holiday period often ringing her after hours to ensure that the day was a success. The family have now moved into their new home and have all their belongings out of storage, looking forward to establish routines and structure.

Last updated: 04 August 2020