Our School 2

Our School 2

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
near 400 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, which offers an early year’s program for 400 young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Prep to Grade 3 (ages 4.5-9) and the Wattle Education Intervention Program for secondary age students.

We aim to optimise educational opportunities for our students when they move into more mixed settings. To this end, we help our students build their functional communication, social emotional and language skills as well as their literacy and numeracy. We achieve this by providing intensive, personalised teaching at the start of each child’s schooling to then allow the students to use these strategies in an integrated setting. Our Outreach follows the children into these schools.

At Western Autistic School, the individual child is at the centre of our work. The foundation of our teaching is the child’s own interests and motivations which forms the basis of their learning new skills and building self-esteem. We emphasise the welfare, inclusion and happiness of each child.

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 with the child, parents, and teaching team.

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:


We look forward to welcoming you to our school. During the coronavirus Covid19 emergency we invite you to view our Virtual Tours on this webpage, and to book a WebEx meeting to meet with staff and learn more about our school.

Mary Thomson
School Principal

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