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Learning Goal

We are learning to understand the Special Education: A Guide For Educators, written by The Ministry of Education in 2001. We will be specifically focusing on Part C, Program Planning, to give you a working knowledge about the process of problem solving that focuses on the needs of the student, on programming for the student, and on referral for identification.


Preschool Identification

Before a child with special needs enters a school often early identification is done by other agencies:

  • Healthy Babies, Healthy Children
  • The Preschool Speech and Language Initiative
  • The Intensive Early Intervention Program for Children with Autism

When early identification of a child with special needs has been made and preschool services are provided, these services may need to continue to help a child have a smooth transition into school

Ministry Philosophy

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Special Education: A Guide for Educators - Page C4

Enrolling a Child With Special Needs

  • All children, including those with special needs, have the right to attend school at the beginning of the school year following registration (this will be discussed further in Part A)
  • Parents and school board personnel need to work together to get the the necessary supports are in place
  • Although a transition plan from preschool may already be in place, consider identifying people who have already worked with the student in the past, identify the people who will be continuing to support the student and get in place the appropriate program, supports and services to meet the needs of the students once in school
  • Parents and the school need to work together to continue to gather and review information as well as keep up regular communication about the student to determine the best programming for the student

Early and Ongoing Identification

  • Since the Education Act of 1982 the Ontario government has attempted to make early identification of the learning abilities and needs of students a priority
  • Policy/Program Memorandum No. 11 requires school boards to identify all students' strengths and needs not only when they first register but to reassess those needs on a regular basis

Why Have Early Indentfication?

  • gives understanding of visual, hearing or other medical condition that may impact learning
  • identify students that may face academic, cognitive, motor or social challenges and this can lead to interventions or more in-depth assessments can be given
  • get treatment started for those students that are not developing speech and language skills within normal ranges
  • allow school team to plan proactively to do their best to assist students with their strengths and help them meet any special needs immediately when they enter school
  • learning problems may be suspected by observing a student's behaviour, through their health or medical issues and current developmental issues - it is both the responsibility of school personnel, other professional and parents to gather and share this information about the student so the proper programming and monitoring can be put in place at the school

The In-School Team and Other Support Measures

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School Board Supports - Educational, Professional

Services, Paraprofessional Services, Parents

Some of the School Board Supports for a Student with special needs

Occupational Video - Special Needs Teacher

- Educational services

This includes support by:

- resource teachers (all special education resource teachers), guidance counsellors (high schools), teacher-advisers, school board resource teachers, consultants, administrators

- Other professional services:

This includes support by:

- psychologists, psychological associates, behavioural consultants, social workers, occupational therapists or physiotherapists, speech-language pathologists, and auditory-verbal therapists, Interpreters, Interveners, orientation and mobility instructors, transcribers (transcribe assignments in Braille)

- Paraprofessional services:

- child/youth worker, developmental assistant (ERW, EA)

- paraprofessionals work under the supervision of qualified professionals and work under the direction and supervision of the teacher and school principal

- Last, but not least - Parents

Assessing A Student's Strengths and Needs

Teacher Observation and Data Gathering

Assessing a Student’s Strengths and Needs

- Assessing Students for Whom English Is a Second Language

- Educational Assessment

- Speech and language assessment

- Health assessment

- Psychological assessments

Release of Confidential Information

Program Planning for Students With Special Needs

Curriculum implementation for these students requires:

  • Careful and perceptive adaption of courses and programs developed from curriculum guidelines;
  • A constant awareness of standards and expectations;
  • Flexible organizational structures;
  • Selection of the strategies, resources, activities, and assessment procedures most appropriate to the student’s needs;
  • Accommodation for individual differences;
  • An IEP

Accommodations including specialized supports

Modification of curriculum

Alternative expectations not derived from curriculum expectations

In planning instruction and activities – must take into account strengths, needs, learning expectations, and accommodations identified in the IEP

Students who have IEP:

  • Identifies learning expectations
  • Outline how these expectations will be addressed though program and services; will include transition plan for students 14 and older
  • Consultation with parents and student 16 and older
  • Some with IEP, curriculum expectations may be modified
  • Alternative expectations – assessed based on expectations set in IEP rather than provincial curriculum policy (will not receive a credit, secondary)
  • Assignments/activities must take into account strengths, needs, goals, learning expectations, and accommodations in IEP

Reporting Achievement

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Transitions: Ideas for Successful Practice

Key transition periods are:

o Entry to school

o Change from on division or school to another

o Move from elementary to secondary

o Transition from secondary school to postsecondary activities

Preschool-to-School Transitions

School-to-School Transitions

Transition to School From Care and Treatment Facilities and Correctional Facilities

Transition to School Following Prolonged Medical Abuse

Transition From Elementary To Secondary School

Transition From Secondary to Postsecondary Education

Transitions From Secondary School to the Worlds of Work