Our School

Our School

Principal’s Welcome

It is with pleasure that I welcome
you and your children to our
unique and progressive school. We
offer an early years program for
300+ young children with Autism
Spectrum Disorder in Prep to Grade
3 (ages 4.5 to 9) and specific programs
for secondary age.

Western Autistic School is a government-funded school. We offer a short term intensive
open pathways option for our students. The early years school program focuses
on foundation skills in social communication, emotional skills, language, learning and
academic skills. It aims to help the children successfully to move on to their neighborhood
school. Our Outreach follows the children into these schools.

At our school, teaching teams supported by expert therapists work with small groups
of children. Utilising proven teaching practice, an individual learning plan is developed
for each child in consultation between parents and staff. The foundation of our
teaching is the child's own interests and motivations, believing as we do that children
will learn new skills and build self-esteem through developing their strengths. We
emphasise the welfare, inclusion and happiness of each child.

As part of the school's mission, WAS is actively involved in research and training. It has
a dedicated research unit, the Practical Research Autism Centre (PRAC), and a registered
training provider The Autism Teaching Institute (ATI), which provides post-graduate
qualifications to professionals working with people with ASD. Further information
about WAS and its branches is available at www.westernautisticschool.vic.edu.au,
www.autismteachinginstitute.org.au, www.autismprac.org.au

We look forward to welcoming you to our school, and invite you to come and visit and
meet the children and staff.

Mary Thomson



Reference: School Community Policy below. 

Our Team

Western Autistic School are proud to have such a dedicated and experienced team of leaders supporting the school community.

Mary Thomson


Sam Hindes

Campus Principal - Laverton

Paige Davey

Assistant Principal

Liz Richardson

Campus Principal - Niddrie

Adele Field

Assistant Principal

Student Health and Wellbeing

Jo McIntyre

Leading Teacher - Laverton

Lauren Topp

Leading Teacher

Blue Pod Laverton Campus

Glenis Williams

Leading Teacher

Green Pod Laverton Campus

Renea Thompson

Leading Teacher - Laverton

Helen Manning

Leading Teacher - Niddrie

Ulea Bayani

Acting Leading Teacher

Niddrie Campus

Our Staff at Work


Ulea Bayani and Holley Beckermann (pictured) contributed to a presentation delivered by Mary Thomson at the World Autism Congress in Houston, Texas in November 2018.

Ulea and Holley created vignettes of their work with students to tell the story of the school’s teaching and learning program and educational philosophy.

In this presentation, we hoped that sharing our knowledge and practice will assist other schools and educators around the globe to close the gap for learners with autism in school- based programs.

Our Values

Our school demonstrates our commitment to the following values:




Diversity          Learning as an ongoing process

Respect            Sharing and growth of knowledge


Our Governance

A specialist school dedicated to the
education of students with Autism

School Council Members

  • Principal:
  • Mary Thomson

  • President:
  • Sinead Bradley

  • Treasurer:
  • Phil Burgoine

  • Executive Assistant:
  • Lois Maurer

  • Parent Members:
  • Ivana Forsdick
  • Jessie Gallagher-Smart
  • Maria Mavromihalis

  • DET Members:
  • Paige Davey
  • Adele Field