What is a Developmental Educator?

Developmental educators are qualified professionals who specialise in working with people with disability using a human rights framework to achieve full and effective inclusion and participation in society. Developmental educators consider the whole person and their sociocultural context. Practice centres on the lived experience, needs, goals and aspirations of people with disability.

Developmental educators collaborate with people with disability to promote inclusion and address attitudinal and environmental barriers. They do so by employing a range of professional and technical skills including applying developmental, behavioural, learning and social theories; assessing the person and their environment; collaborative planning and goal setting; teaching skills through evidence based instructional strategies; supporting life transitions; programming, monitoring and evaluation; advocacy; community education; and capacity building.

Core competencies of Developmental Educators

Scope of Practice for Developmental Education

Developmental Education is a Self Regulating Allied Health Profession and is recognised by the South Australian Government, the National Disability Insurance Agency and listed in the Pricing Arrangements under Capacity Building Supports and in the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission Practice Standards Verification Module.

You can learn more about Allied Health Regulation here.

What training do Developmental Educators need?
All Developmental Educators complete a 4-year university Bachelor or Master level qualification in Disability Studies. In South Australia, Disability and Community Inclusion at Flinders University offers disability and developmental education studies (including Bachelor, Honours, Graduate Certificate, and Masters studies). Universities across Australia also offer postgraduate disability studies. The DEAI assesses these qualifications for eligibility for membership.

What services do Developmental Educators provide?
  • Promoting the physical and emotional well-being of people with disability
  • Undertaking developmental and functional behavioural assessment
  • Developing and implementing positive behaviour support programs
  • Teaching functional life skills including social, communication, self-care, daily living, recreation, and employment
  • Providing case management, specialist support coordination, and counselling supports to people with disability
  • Assisting people with disability to set and attain individual goals
  • Working and liaising with families, service providers, allied health professionals, and community members to enhance the choice, social inclusion and quality of life for people with disability
  • Facilitating self-advocacy and / or advocating on behalf of people with disability
  • Supporting individuals with disability to transition to, access and maintain meaningful vocational experiences
  • Helping families, caregivers and individuals with disability understand the impact of disability on a person’s daily functioning
What NDIS Services can a Developmental Educator provide?

Core Supports – Participation in Community, Social and Civic Activities

Capacity Building – Support Coordination Levels 1-3

Capacity Building – Increased Social and Community Participation

  • Assistance in Coordinating or Managing Life Stages, Transitions and Supports
  • Development of Daily Living and Life Skills

Capacity Building – Improved Relationships

  • Specialist Behavioural Intervention Support (PBS Practitioner Registration Required)
  • Individual Social Skills Development

Capacity Building – Improved Learning

  • Transition through School and to Further Education

Capacity Building – Improved Daily Living

  • Early Childhood Supports – Early Childhood Professional
  • Therapy Supports – Assessment Recommendation Therapy or Training – Developmental Educator
Where are Developmental Educators employed?
Developmental Educators are employed in state and commonwealth government and non-government agencies providing disability services. They are also self-employed, for example as sole providers with or without National Disability insurance Scheme (NDIS) registration. To find a sole provider Developmental Educator, visit the Find a Developmental Educator page.

Potential occupations/roles include: Developmental Educator, skills trainer, behaviour intervention specialist/consultant/practitioner, program coordinator, case manager, specialists support coordinator, respite coordinator, leisure and recreation coordinator, early intervention worker/coordinator, disability employment officer, employment consultant, disability liaison officer, planner, plan manager, community development worker, administrator, policy developer, project officer, researcher, manager.

A short video explaining the profession of Developmental Education was developed by Disability and Community Inclusion at Flinders University, which can be viewed below: