Within Queensland, state education provision for students with severe and multiple disabilities has become a reality in this past decade. The inclusion of these students has impacted significantly on the dimensions of special education service delivery. The current service delivery model for students with disabilities encompasses a continuum of program options. It is child centred, needs based and delivered in least restrictive settings. Increasingly, there has been a demand from both parents and educators for services to be delivered in proximity to the individual student’s home and family. However, in delivering services to students with severe and multiple disabilities in rural areas such delivery becomes a more complex matter. The present study explores rural service provision for students with severe and multiple disabilities and the impact of current trends in special education in two selected Queensland education regions, namely Darling Downs and Central. In particular, the study explores the changing role of rural special education units in meeting the needs of a diverse student population and considers the impact of this on the type of service delivery model required and on staffing implications.
At the time of writing the thesis, it should be noted significant changes were occurring within the organisational structure of the Queensland Department of Education. A number of changes are to be made to the regional and central structures and the current twelve regions will be reorganised to eleven regions with changes to the regional boundaries.
As the data was collected on the boundaries of the twelve Departmental regions, the thesis is discussed in this context and the nomenclature of the previous organisational model will be used.