DISABILITY INCLUSION PACKAGE and Disability upgrades for schools: How can schools get the most out of a limited budget.

As part of Victoria’s 2020-21 State Budget, government schools will be allocated $1.6 billion for school disability funding. This means schools will be able to modify their environment to provide accessible facilities, classrooms and amenities for students and staff living with a disability. 

As a registered builder, ELC Home Modifications has worked extensively with both primary and secondary schools to offer modifications that ensure all students can safely and comfortably navigate around their school.  

From grabrail installations to custom bannister rails and ramp installations, ELC Home Modifications has been helping schools develop accessible classrooms and facilities to be better prepared for the needs of all students. 

We’re uniquely placed in this industry, sister company REED Furniture has over 45 years of experience in the education sector, meaning ELC Home Modifications can not only provide you with an extensive range of school building modifications, but we can also offer specialised educational furniture to better accommodate for the needs of students living with developmental disorders and learning disabilities, including autism and ADHD.  

Common and simple school modifications can significantly improve access and allow for greater inclusivity both on the playground and in the classroom. There include: 

1. Ramps 

Installing wheelchair-accessible ramps in areas students frequent ensures that your school is accessible for all forms of wheeled mobility, including wheelchairs or walking frames. Access ramps not only aid those students who require a wheelchair, but they also allow students with limited mobility to reduce the physical strain of navigating stairs and steps.  

2. Stair and Step Modifications  

Step modifications are designed to reduce the risk of falling, tripping or slipping on stairs by offering improved stability. This includes increasing or decreasing the length or depth of steps, replacing and/or repairing damaged or unsafe steps and improving visibility of steps by applying high-visibility non-slip tape. 

3. Grab Rails and Custom Bannister Rails 

Grab rails and custom bannister rails are fixed rail units designed to offer balance support and stability for those with limited mobility.  

Grab rails are ideal for spaces where students require additional support to independently complete daily tasks safely, such as in the school amenities. ELC Home Modifications recommends installing grab rails along the changeroom shower walls and beside the toilet to allow students to safely and comfortably use the bathroom. 

Custom bannister rails are tailored to your existing stairs to allow students with additional needs to safely navigate up and down stairs to maintain access to all areas of the school. 

4. Change Room Modifications 

Modifications are necessary to provide accessible changerooms for all students. Installing a stepless shower unit and maximising the size of the wet area in the changeroom shower to cater for mobility equipment can significantly improve shower accessibility. 

Replacing the changeroom tiles to non-slip (R10 or higher) tiles can create a safe and comfortable changeroom environment to ensure all students can safely enter and exit the bathroom without the risk of slipping. 

5. Widened door frames 

Classroom and office building door frames should be wide enough to accommodate for wheelchairs and walking frames in order to maximise accessibility. 

6. Flexible furniture 

ELC Home Modification’s sister company, REED Furniture specialises in educational, flexible furniture that stimulates students’ brain. Research suggests that enabling movement for students with ADHD can improve concentration and overall academic performance.  

By supplying schools with flexible furniture like wobble stools, ELC Home Modifications can curate a universal, flexible classroom that allows students with learning disabilities to maximise their academic potential. 

7. Flooring 

Uneven flooring can become a serious tripping hazard for students with reduced mobility. In addition, some types of flooring do not cater for wheeled equipment, such as carpet. 

Replacing the flooring in classrooms and school halls with nonslip tiles, vinyl, linoleum or wood flooring can help reduce the risk of falls and make it easier for students with wheeled mobility to navigate. 

To take advantage of the generosity of the Victorian Government, get in contact with ELC Home Modifications as your local, licensed builders and modification experts to create an accessible and inclusive learning environment for all students to learn and grow. 

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