Kymberly Martin

Distance education program for children on the autism spectrum

Autism Spectrum Australia is opening an autism specific distance education program in 2020.


The program, which is an Australian first, will run out of the Aspect Hunter School, in Thornton, NSW. The program will allow students on the autism spectrum to learn from home by connecting them to teachers via digital learning tools. Students will also participate in 15 face-to-face days at the Aspect Hunter School each year.

It is open to primary school aged children in the Hunter and surrounding region who are on the autism spectrum, are geographically isolated, don’t have access to an appropriate school program or have disengaged from traditional education programs due to individual circumstances. These circumstances can include situations where parents choose to educate their children at home because of bullying, the child’s mental health issues, school/parent relationship breakdown, and a limited school understanding about autism.

According to Aspect Hunter School principal, Lara Cheney, “Distance education addresses a real need in regional and remote communities where access to autism-specific learning for students is few and far between”.


Hunter School coordinator Craig Smith, pictured, said there is also a focus at the school on building up social strategies and emotional understanding for children and all manner of other daily skills. “Our educators have some truly amazing learning experiences ready for next year and I cannot wait for our new students to get involved and see where they can take things.”

The school is currently seeking expressions of interest from families of children who will be entering Years 3 to 6 in 2020. The Aspect Hunter School serves the Newcastle, Maitland, Lake Macquarie and Port Macquarie local government areas, and satellite classes are run in Tarro, Cardiff, Abermain, Waratah West and Port Macquarie.

For further information call: 02 4922 5900.

Subscribe to the F2L newsletter

Join over 7,500 subscribers for the latest news, products, services and technologies for the disability and rehabilitation sectors. Subscribe here.