Autism Queensland (AQ) School comprises three Education and Therapy Centres located in Brisbane at Brighton and Sunnybank Hills and in Cairns at Edmonton. Distance Education is also available for eligible students unable to attend the aforementioned centres.
Autism Queensland has been providing specialist education for autistic children for 55 years. We support our students with small group learning opportunities, a personalised program, effective inter-disciplinary team support, and collaboration with their families and other school settings, in order that they develop skills to participate to their fullest extent in their home, school and local community.
*Cairns campus currently supports Prep-Year 6 students.
Teaching & Learning
AQ School is an accredited, independent school providing specialist education for students with a verification of ASD from Prep to Year 12.
The AQ School approach to teaching and learning outlines the curriculum and assessment framework for the delivery of Australian Curriculum Learning Areas for students accessing Foundation (Prep) to Year 10 curriculum and the Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement curriculum for students in the senior phase of learning (Years 10-12).
AQ School prescribes a framework that optimises learning for autistic students, with special consideration given to the learning environment and student’s personal learning preferences to support engagement with learning and with others. Curriculum adjustments to content, delivery and assessment consider communication support needs, the preference for consistent relationships and interactions, and the social and emotional wellbeing of students.
Students accessing Foundation (Prep) to Year 10 curriculum will have access to the English, Maths and HPE learning areas with other learning areas considered and accessed as needed.
Evidence-informed strategies and adjustments within AQ School consider the impact of autism on each student, student interests and strengths, and address barriers to curriculum access to ensure:
- Our students can be successful and confident
- Adjustments consider safety, maximise success and are least restrictive
- Universal strategies, language, resources, and support are evident across our school
- Opportunities are provided to progress skills and strategies across settings.
AQ School interdisciplinary support includes teachers, teacher aides, therapists, wellbeing facilitators and behaviour support facilitators.
The AQ School interdisciplinary team identify and address barriers to engaging with learning and with others. Personalised learning goals are collaboratively developed with all stakeholders to address barriers to learning. Goals are monitored and reviewed regularly with all stakeholders provided with reports and reviews.
School wide universal supports provide evidence informed adjustments to all students. This support is provided by the therapy, wellbeing and behaviour support team via consultation, data collection, goal setting, the implementation of whole school adjustments, and resource development. Responsive interdisciplinary support provides additional targeted and specialist support to students in the classroom and playground as needed.
Student Wellbeing & Engagement
- Student involvement in goal setting and planning supports student agency and the development of self-advocacy skills.
- AQ School Values are shared and supported within the school community. View AQ School values here.
- Universal and personalised adjustments within the physical and sensory environment are considered.
- Access to calming spaces and activities away from their class available for students who may be emotionally heightened.
- Major and minor transitions are supported via the sharing of information across teams as well as support for the transitioning student and their family.
- Explicit teaching of personal and social capabilities to support independence, self-advocacy and social awareness and social management.
- Campus Wellbeing Facilitators monitor and support student attendance and engagement with responsive universal, targeted and specialist support to students and families.
- Targeted and specialist support to address behaviours of concern is provided via the development of Individual Positive Behaviour Support Plans (PBSP), Risk Management Plans and Escalation Response Plans.
- Student interests and strengths are celebrated, documented and incorporated into learning activities.
- Universal plan guides school wide positive behaviour support.
- Classrooms and playgrounds are structured and predictable.
- Language is strengths based, neurodiversity affirming, universal and positive.
- Technology access incorporated into routines and learning activities.
- Focus on functional skill building.
- Explicit teaching.
- Learning styles (visual, structured, kinaesthetic, concrete and relating to real life) are considered for navigation though learning areas and learning tasks.
- Learning spaces are controllable and predictable and provide opportunities for students to take breaks.
- Sensory differences are accommodated, including the minimisation of sensory distractions and opportunities for movement breaks.
- Consultation with AQ Research and Development team, AQ Professional Practice team and Autism Cooperative Research Centre.
- School community involvement in action research, formal projects and professional learning relating to educational outcomes of students.
- The interdisciplinary team gathers baseline data to inform planning and measure progress.
- Student involvement in goal setting and planning is supported.
- All students have a PLP identifying goals which address the support needs of individual student in relation to school based learning.
- Staff communicate and collaborate regularly with each child’s education team, including families and carers, home school staff, private therapists and any other stakeholders.
- Termly whole school professional learning (teachers, therapists, teacher aides, wellbeing facilitators, behaviour support facilitators, heads of campus, principal, school administrators and bus team members).
- Teachers, therapists and school leaders are members of AQ professional communities and access supervision through these networks, including the AQ professional practice team.
Attendance & Enrolment
The AQ School offers a selection of full-time and part-time enrolments, as well as Distance Education for eligible students (more information below).
Students are provided with small group learning opportunities, generally with up to six students in each class, according to students’ age, curriculum and support needs. Each class is led by a teacher and at least one teacher aide with additional specialist, targeted and universal support provided by the school interdisciplinary team.
Part-Time (Shared) Enrolment
Students can enrol and attend an AQ School campus part-time in combination with shared enrolment at their local primary, distance education or high school.
Part time class enrolments include either two- or three-days attendance at AQ School. The decision for two- or three-day enrolment is made on a case-by-case basis and is dependent on criteria which impact school attendance and engagement and/or access to learning.
The part-time format of our school-based group program is specifically designed to:
- Enable students to maintain a connection with their peer group and their local school curriculum.
- Enable students to practice and develop skills for generalisation.
- Continue social connection with their local community.
- Provide an opportunity for observation, data collection and sharing of expertise among key stakeholders.
Cairns offers full-time enrolments for Prep-Year 3, part-time enrolments to Prep-Year 6.
Sunnybank Hills and Brighton offer part-time enrolments for Prep-Year 10.
Select full time enrolment is available at all AQ School campuses.
Sunnybank and Brighton:
- Early primary (Prep-Year 3)
- Junior Secondary (Years 7-9)
- Senior school (Years 10-12) – see more information below.
- Early primary (Prep-Year 3)
Senior Schooling (Years 10-12)
The Senior Schooling program for full time students in years 10-12 aims to support those students who have chosen a QCIA pathway which allows them to access a personalised senior program with autism specific adjustments and supports. This class also supports students to develop positive peer friendships, confidence, success, and allows strengths-based learning.
Senior students working towards a Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement (QCIA) access a fully individualised QCIA Curriculum Plan developed by key stakeholders and approved by Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) within the five curriculum organisers:
- Communication and technologies
- Community, citizenship, and the environment
- Leisure and recreation
- Personal and living dimensions
- Vocational and transition activities.
Senior student agency in their curriculum planning and delivery is supported by evidence-informed strategies and resources including use of the Adolescent/Adult Goal Setting Tool (AAGST), explicit support for Senior Education and Training (SET) planning or revision, development of consistent learning relationships, the provision of a consistent learning environment, the use of student strengths and interests, and myWAY Employability resources for adolescents with autism. Supported work experience placements are also identified for senior students.
Enrolment in the Distance Education offered by AQ School is an option for students who meet Student With Disability (SWD) eligibility criteria and due to regional location are unable to attend one of the Education and Therapy Centres located in Brisbane at Brighton and Sunnybank Hills and in Cairns at Edmonton.*
AQ School’s Distance Education provides students with the opportunity to learn from home by interacting daily with the interdisciplinary team remotely. Technology plays a part in allowing the distance learning program to take place.
Teaching and Learning Online:
AQ School’s Distance Education has been designed for students in years 3 – 6. The students engage in Australian Curriculum Learning Areas of English, Maths and HPE with other Learning Areas included in individual students’ programs. The curriculum content, instruction and learning resources are provided by the interdisciplinary team and accessed by the home supervisor and student via online platforms. Each student has a Personalised Learning Plan (PLP) which is developed collaboratively. The student’s PLP details key strategies and adjustments to supporting distance learning along with personalised learning goals.
Benefits of the Distance Education offered by AQ School:
- Students can engage in learning without having to be physically present in an AQ School.
- The student’s daily and weekly distance education schedule can be flexible.
- Students can receive real time instruction and feedback from their interdisciplinary team.
- Students can interact with other classmates, via online environments established by the interdisciplinary team.
- Students have the flexibility to access materials, review content and practice skills at their own pace and as many times as necessary.
- Students can demonstrate knowledge and independent proficiency in skills through the development and sharing of an online personal portfolio.
- Some of the barriers, which make attendance in a mainstream school challenging, do not need to be navigated.
- Students can continue to access support from personal therapists in and around their daily and weekly learning schedule.
Attendance in the Distance Education offered by AQ School is measured by the student’s regular engagement in his or her program and frequent sharing of student’s work at his/her independent and individual level.
AQ School’s Distance Education has many benefits; however, there are also potential challenges. To assist parents to determine the suitability of the distance education program and the specific benefits for their learner it helps to consider and discuss the following questions.
- Where in the home can a positive learning environment be set up and what items will need to be included?
- Who will assume the consistent role of the home supervisor and what time does this person have available for this role?
- What skills has the student acquired that will benefit his or her engagement in the distance learning program?
- What changes or additions will be required to your family’s daily and weekly schedule to accommodate learning from home?
*NB: Priority will be given to students from remote and regional areas – as we aim to provide specialist schooling options for students across Queensland.
The AQ Distance Education team is on hand to answer all of your questions. For initial enquiries, please click the below button to fill out our easy online enquiry form!
To learn more about AQ School Distance Education, eligibility, technology requirements and how Distance Education can help your family, please download the attached flyer below.
EOIs & Other Enquiries
For all other enquiries and to submit an Expression of Interest* (EOI) form and associated documentation, please send an email to [email protected]
*We are continuing to take Expressions of Interest for 2024 classes, and for consideration for future enrolment opportunities as AQ Distance Education grows.
Why the AQ School?
- Small classes to support engagement with learning and with others.
- Personalised Learning Plans (PLPs) tailored to address the impact of autism on students’ access to learning, developed in collaboration with the home school education support team and parents and carers.
- An interdisciplinary team approach with regular consultation and collaboration with students, parents / carers, students’ home school team, and Autism Queensland School team.
- Universal supports within the classroom and playground areas.
- Targeted and specialist interdisciplinary support as needed.
- Explicit teaching of skills addressing the function of behaviours of concern.
- Structured learning environments
- Focus on functional skill development including social problem solving and emotional regulation skills necessary for small group learning
- Emphasis on generalisation to other educational settings.
- Regular communication with parents and carers and home school stakeholders.
AQ School aims to provide a safe, supportive learning environment that respects:
- The rights of all students to learn.
- The rights of all staff to teach.
- The rights of students and staff to be safe.
It is accepted that settling into a new school is a significant event for any child and particularly challenging for autistic children. To provide the best opportunity for your child’s educational success, a review of progress for each student is undertaken after three months for continued enrolment at the AQ School. You will be informed regularly during this period on your child’s progress and are strongly encouraged to speak with your child’s teacher if you have any concerns.
Criteria for ongoing enrolment at the AQ School are:
- The student is able to participate in a group setting.
- The student demonstrates safe behaviour towards self and others.
- The student is able to participate without the need for ongoing one-to-one support.
- Timely payment of school fees in agreement with the Autism Queensland Financial Services Department.
Enrolment in the Distance Education offered by AQ School is an option for students who meet Student With Disability (SWD) eligibility criteria and due to regional location are unable to attend one of the Education and Therapy Centres located in Brisbane at Brighton and Sunnybank Hills and in Cairns at Edmonton. (NB: Priority will be given to students from remote and regional areas – as we aim to provide specialist schooling options for students across Queensland.)
Should these criteria not be met, a meeting will be arranged at the earliest opportunity to share options with you around possible alternative arrangements to better meet the educational needs of your child.
AQ School Campuses
AQ School comprises three Education and Therapy Centres located in Brisbane at Brighton and Sunnybank Hills and in Cairns at Edmonton.
Sunnybank Hills Campus
What’s on offer at AQ School Sunnybank Hills?
Located in the outer southern suburbs of Brisbane, the AQ School Sunnybank Hills Campus supports Prep-Year 12 autistic students. Our Sunnybank Hills campus features small classrooms to encourage participation and engagement, interactive learning equipment, outdoor shaded play areas, swimming pool, quiet spaces, hall, art room, kitchens for learning, gardens and more. School transport assistance including a bus service is available from all campuses, once your child has settled into our school.
Find us at:
AQ School Sunnybank Hills
437 Hellawell Road, Sunnybank Hills QLD 4109
What’s on offer at AQ School Brighton?
Located in the coastal northern suburbs of Brisbane, the AQ School Brighton Campus supports Prep-Year 12 autistic students. Our Brighton campus features small classrooms to encourage participation and engagement, interactive learning equipment, outdoor shaded play area, basketball court, quiet spaces, vegetable gardens and more. School transport assistance including a bus service is available from all campuses, once your child has settled into our school.
Find us at:
AQ School Brighton
136 North Road, Brighton QLD 4017
What’s on offer at AQ School Cairns?
Located in the southern suburbs of Cairns in far North Queensland, the AQ School Cairns Campus supports Prep-Year 6 autistic students. Our Cairns campus features small classrooms to encourage participation and engagement, interactive learning equipment, outdoor shaded play area, sensory playground, quiet spaces and more. School transport assistance including a bus service is available from all campuses, once your child has settled into our school.
Find us at:
AQ School Cairns
15-17 Marr Street, Edmonton QLD 4869
Enrolment & Fees
Consideration for enrolment is requested by submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) and all supporting documents (see below). Please note that we are unable to progress an EOI without supporting documentation and at times may request further supporting information in order to determine your child’s support needs
Confirmation of receipt of your EOI and all necessary supporting documentation will be provided via email and your child may be placed on a waitlist for enrolment opportunities.
As a vacancy suitable for your child’s support needs arises, you will be contacted to request any updated documentation needed and to organise a visit to the campus.
While placements at our school are subsidised by Australian and State Government funding, school fees are still applicable and are invoice at the beginning of each school term. Please note that NDIS funds cannot be used for school related purposes including the payment of AQ school fees or enrolment deposits.
EDSTART Payment Plans (Optional)
AQ has partnered with a specialist provider, Edstart, to make managing your school fee payments easier. Edstart offers an easy, flexible and zero-cost way for you to pay for your child’s education in periodic instalments that suit your family budget, with no credit checks.
This new payment option will allow you to spread your fees into weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments over 12 months, with the ability to choose your preferred day for when payments are made. Families will continue to have the ability to pay termly through AQ School if they wish.
What are the benefits for families?
- Families have the option to either pay the school upfront directly (termly/annually) or pay weekly, fortnightly or monthly to align fee payments to their budget with Edstart.
- Edstart will pay each family’s invoice to the school in full every term. Families can choose their preferred payment method, when payments are made, and adjust this at any time.
- The school absorbs all transaction fees associated with Edstart so it’s free for parents to use.
What does this process look like for families?
- Easy account set-up: families submit their details via the dedicate Edstart website.
- Finalise your account: the Edstart team will contact you to finalise the set up of your Edstart account.
- Edstart pays your fees when the invoice is received and families pay Edstart via their preferred payment plan.
With your child’s outcomes at the heart of what we do, parent fees are crucial to the school’s sustainability. While we put our resources into the highest quality education, growth and continued new initiatives, Edstart are the experts in their field and are best placed to assist our families moving forward. We are always here to help with any concerns and will work closely with Edstart for a smooth transition.
Please Read: Required EOI Documents
Before you start an expression of interest, please ensure that you have all of the following ready to submit:
- Copies of diagnosis or signed Education Adjustment Program (EAP) Specialist Form 3.
- Latest School Reports.
- Latest School Personalised Plan.
- Court and/or Parent Agreements (where applicable).
- For students already attending school, details of your child’s eligibility for enrolment as a student with disability is required. This may include a screen shot or print out of:
- For students enrolled in a Qld State School, a Student DDA report is required or current AIMs details showing the status of verification via the Education Adjustment Program (EAP)
- Verification status showing expiry dates for C1 and C2 via a letter from Independent Schools QLD or Catholic Education Verification confirmation details.
- Any recent therapy, medical or learning support reports/documents relevant to school supports.
- A personalised plan, noting the adjustments and supports provided to your child.