For many parents of special needs children, the school year can seem intimidating at times. Whether it be the child’s first time starting school, their first day of school and/or even their transition and entrance into highschool.
Some parents wonder what exactly goes on with their child(ren) at school. Are all the services and criteria being met for my child to get the best education? How involved should I be? Can I be?
Communication between yourselves and those involved with your child at school is important and key! You are the best advocate for your child(ren). The school staff and yourself should work together on the plan that best fits and meets the requirements for your child.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you are unsure of some of the language/terms they use pertaining to your child, step up and ask for an explanation, they will be happy to explain and walk you through it.
Some terms you may hear:
SEAC – Special Education Advisory Committee
- makes recommendations to the board with respect to any matter affecting the establishment, development, and delivery of special education programs and services for exceptional pupils of the board;
- participates in the board’s annual review of its special education plan;
- participates in the board’s annual budget process as it relates to special education;
- reviews the financial statements of the board as they relate to special education;
- provides information to parents, as requested.
IPRC – Identification, Placement Review Committee
- The IPRC will decide whether the student is an exceptional pupil and, if so, what type of educational placement is appropriate.
- The parent(s)/guardian(s), as well as a student who is sixteen years of age or older, have the right to attend the IPRC meeting and may request that the IPRC discuss potential programs that would meet the student’s needs.
For more information on IPRC check here.
IEP – Individual Education Plan
- An IEP identifies the student’s specific learning expectations and outlines how the school will address these expectations through appropriate accommodations, program modifications and/or alternative programs as well as specific instructional and assessment strategies.
- The learning program provided for the student is modified on the basis of the results obtained through continuous assessment and evaluation.
For more information on the IEP, check here.
Unfortunately some of the frustration is going to come in the form of the barriers and stigmas that still tend to be attached to persons with disabilities. We, as advocates for our children, must make sure these barriers and stigmas continue to be broken down, by using our voices, the resources available to us and the help and support of those who work with our child(ren).
Here is more information and details on the main barriers to education for students with disabilities.
The Ontario Human Rights Code guarantees the right to equal treatment in education, without discrimination on the ground of disability, as part of the protection for equal treatment in services. Education providers have a duty to accommodate students with disabilities up to the point of undue hardship. Students with disabilities are not always being provided with appropriate accommodation, and, in some cases, are falling victim to disputes between the various parties responsible for accommodation. The accommodation process is a shared responsibility. Each party has a duty to co-operatively engage in the process, share information, and canvass potential accommodation solutions. In this regard each party has a specific role to play:
Click here to read what each role is.
Respect for dignity, individualized accomodation and inclusion & full participation are the principles involved with accomodating, once a need has been identified. Accommodation is a means of preventing and removing barriers that impede students with disabilities from participating fully in the educational environment.
For more information on these principle, click here.
Just a few resources to help you begin to understand, and to help you along this important journey of education for our children. I hope these are helpful and informative for you.
More resources and information coming soon.
Have a great evening!