Authentic Inclusion in Schools: a DSV Education Conference

Authentic Inclusion in Schools: a DSV Education Conference thumbnail.

Join us for this essential professional development conference and learn practical ways to create the foundations for genuine inclusion at your primary or secondary school.

In-person ticket sales have now closed for DSV’s biennial Education Conference for teachers and educators, Authentic Inclusion in Schools. However, the recording is available for purchase until Friday 8 March 2024. Follow the registration button below to book a recording ticket.

The conference will present a range of practical strategies from a series of leaders in the education sector, supporting educators to better include and engage all students, creating genuine and meaningful inclusion in schools.


Date: Monday 4 March 2024


Australian Education Union (AEU)

126 Trenerry Crescent, Abbotsford VIC 3067

Target audience

This conference is best suited to any educator looking to improve diversity and inclusion within their school. This includes classroom teachers, specialist teachers, leadership teams, and support staff. In the past, some parents have also enjoyed attending the conference to learn about the myriad ways schools can support their sons and daughters throughout their schooling journey.

We are thrilled to announce Professor Sue Buckley and Dr Rhonda Faragher as our Keynote Speakers for this event. Continue reading to find out more about our speakers, or view the program here.


KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Professor Sue Buckley

Director of Science and Research at Down Syndrome Education International and Emeritus Professor of Developmental Disability at the University of Portsmouth, UK.

Sue Buckley is currently Director of Science and Research at Down Syndrome Education International and Emeritus Professor of Developmental Disability at the University of Portsmouth, UK.

Sue is a psychologist and a leading expert in education and development for young people with Down syndrome. Sue began research examining early reading instruction for children with Down syndrome in 1980 and founded Down Syndrome Education International in 1986. Her research and contributions to the lives of young people with Down syndrome has been widely recognised through numerous awards.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Dr Rhonda Faragher

Associate Professor in Inclusive Education and Diversity in the School of Education at the University of Queensland.

Dr Rhonda Faragher AO is director of the Down Syndrome Research Program at the University of Queensland where she is Associate Professor of Inclusion and Diversity in the School of Education. With a background as a secondary mathematics teacher, and mother of an adult daughter with Down syndrome, she has a particular focus on helping all learners to be successful with their education. 

Rhonda has internationally recognised expertise in the mathematics education of learners with Down syndrome. In her research and teaching, she works to improve the educational outcomes of students who have difficulties learning mathematics, for whatever reason, including through educational disadvantage. Beyond mathematics education, she has expertise in inclusive education in a range of contexts, including secondary classrooms.

Colby Hickey

DSV Advisory Network, Advocate, Speaker.

Colby is passionate about advocating for people with a disability. As someone with lived experience of Down syndrome, Autism, ADD and being non-verbal, he is on advisory panels for both Down Syndrome Victoria (DSV) and the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO). Colby currently writes a monthly article for the DSV newsletter and has experience creating social media content.

Colby enjoys live music and has an active social life. He loves travelling to see new places, meet new people and experience new cultures. Learn more about Colby here.

Tommy Quick

Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, Speaker.

Tommy experienced a stroke at age 12 and has since been on a journey to raise money for stroke survivors and stroke awareness. Tommy has been on many an adventure, including walking the Kokoda Trail and riding his bike to the four points of Australia on his mission to increase understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion. His passion for inclusion arose from his struggles to fit back into school after his stroke. He is going to tell our audience of education professionals why it is important to include everyone!

Tommy is a personal trainer, a nutritionist, a speaker and a wannabe actor!

Darrelyn Boucher

Building an inclusive environment for all school community members that is sustainable and underpins the inherent culture at Cockatoo Primary School

Darrelyn has been a primary school principal since 1996 and a teacher since 1975. During the 1980s she studied special education and gained a Graduate Diploma in Special Education and later a Bachelor of Education which majored in Remedial Education. These qualifications cemented a passion in making a true difference for students with special needs and opened my eyes as to how Darrelyn could teach every student in her classroom at their point of need.

Teaching was Darrelyn’s life and she had no aspirations to be a member of the principal class. She believed that the way to shape and influence lives happened in the classroom, at the coalface. However, she discovered that she was wrong. Being a leader has enabled Darrelyn to affect change, influence the opportunities afforded to all students and build a culture of inclusiveness for each member of the Cockatoo Primary School community.

Helen Tainsh

Speech Pathologist

Helen Tainsh is a Speech Pathologist with 30 years of experience of working with students who have complex communication needs. She presents regularly on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) in workshops and at conferences. She currently works at the Cerebral Palsy Education Centre in Melbourne and also has a private practice.

In her private practice Helen supports children and adults with severe and multiple disabilities, who use augmentative and alternative communication. She supports access to the curriculum within their mainstream school. Helen consults regularly in a number of Special Schools, supporting implementation of AAC and comprehensive literacy instruction. She has a strong interest in AAC and literacy and has been instrumental in using the Four Blocks Framework with many students to improve their literacy skills. Helen has completed both the Introductory and Advanced Intensive Seminars on Literacy in AAC.

Helen has completed PROMPT introductory and advanced training and. She is a certified presenter in Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display (P.O.D.D.) Communication Books. She also has extensive experience in the programming and use of speech generating devices.  Helen works with the Department of Education and Training (DET), presenting a series of workshops to provide training to DET employees regarding best practice in supporting student with CCN in the school setting. 

Tyrone Smoger

Senior Project Officer, Principal Behaviour Support Adviser Unit, Department of Education

Tyrone is Senior Project Officer in the Principal Behaviour Support Adviser Unit in Department of Education. Tyrone began his career in a special developmental school in an education support staff role before becoming a teacher. He later completed postgraduate studies in counselling and then applied behaviour analysis, leading to his accreditation as a Certified Behaviour Analyst.

He has over 20 years working in secondary schools, a behaviour withdrawal unit, and providing outreach for primary and secondary teachers supporting students in their classrooms. His current role is leading the behaviour support projects in the department’s central office, as well as providing expert advice to school and department leaders on challenging cases.

Dr Brent Hayward

Principal Behaviour Support Adviser

Dr Brent Hayward is a registered nurse and Credentialed Mental Health Nurse, and Registered Disability Practitioner. He is the Principal Behaviour Support Adviser in the Victorian Department of Education. He has spent most of his career working in clinical, regulatory, and policy roles which support people with intellectual and developmental disability, particularly those persons with behaviours of concern, in hospitals, residential units, in the community, and in schools.

His PhD explored the influences on the development of behaviour support policy in the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Brent has worked in the Victorian Department of Education for the last six years, leading the policy and practice for behaviour support and restraint and seclusion in government schools.

Attendance at this conference can contribute to your VIT professional development.

For more information phone 9486 9600 or email

To learn more about our Education Program and other opportunities for support and involvement, click here.

With grateful thanks to our supporters:

Major Partner: Department of Education and Training