Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada


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FAS: Starting a New School

FAS: Starting a New School

Tips to Remember for FAS: Starting a New School

FAS: Starting a New School

All children react when starting a new school, whether they have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or not, but kids with FAS can overreact to the situation. The following tips for starting a new school stem from my own experiences with FAS grandchildren.

  • Before school begins, drive by the school while out shopping, etc., using a positive tone to remind the child it will be their new school.
    • Tour the school with your child before the start date.
  • Take your child to meet the teacher. Then ask the child to draw/paint a picture of their new school and teacher. Post it on fridge and admire it in front of the child when family or friends visit.
  • Take photos of the school and interior as a reminder for the child of what to expect and post them on fridge. Apply colorful, funny stickers to the photos.
  • Do a count down a week before on the calendar. Use fun stickers. Encourage your child to cross off the days.
  • If you work, take a photo of yourself smiling at your job then remind the child that is where you will be, and you will be thinking of them the entire day.
  • Acknowledge separation anxiety and its consequences.
  • Explain there will be something special waiting for them on their return: favorite food, dollar-store items.
  • Let the child ask as many questions as needed. Smile whenever you mention school. It’s important to keep the mood upbeat.
  • Prepare the child the night before by preparing the lunch, laying out clothes, and stuffing backpack, avoiding a rushed atmosphere the following morning.
  • If friends will be attending the new school, remind your child of who they are.
  • Reassure the child as much as possible, but don’t give in to pressure.
  • Have an emergency contact at the ready in case the child is dismissed early due to behavior.
  • Expect problems so you won’t be disappointed.

FAS: Starting a New School

The best people to ask for advice around starting a new school, are children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and one of those children is my youngest granddaughter with FAS who is now a teen.  Following, are her strategies for teachers educating students with FAS. She insists all the strategies worked for her, plus, she thinks my blog is cool and helpful to others, and wants to get involved.

“Thank you, darling, and congratulations on this defining moment as you take your first step toward advocating for children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I love you and look forward to many more of your posts”

My youngest teenage granddaughter with FAS, suggests the following strategies for teachers. She told me, I just typed:

  • It helps if the child knows the teacher well before starting the school. Have more than one meetup with the teacher before the day arrives so the child remembers who the teacher is. (Grandma thinks this a great idea. Perhaps several meet ups over the month of August could be arranged with the teacher)
  • Supply fidget toys for the child, i.e. stress balls, floam, mini stuffies, available from any dollar store by either teacher or parent. Teacher must not get agitated if the child uses the fidget toys a little too noisily during a class.
  • Absolutely NO YELLING on the teacher’s part. It makes things worse and the loud noise upsets the child.
  • The teacher should give advance warning before ending one subject and beginning another.
  • If the child is becoming overwhelmed, distract the child with another activity.
  • If the child finds it difficult to write down instructions, have them take a photo (cell phone) of the instructions instead, i.e. from the chalk/white board and read the instructions from there.
  • To raise the child’s confidence promote them to helper of a chore you know they can do.
  • Supply free time on electronics, board games etc., as a reward for positive attitude.
  • Supply stuffies for recess/sick time.
  • If a fight with another student ensues, ask for an explanation then instruct the child to walk with a friend while listening to music to allow for calm down time.
That is interesting! Each one of the strategies has helped my granddaughter achieve success at school. But I hasten to add she has an amazing teacher, which helps no end when parents are advocating for their children’s education. As this is her first contribution to this website, please leave a comment of support as she steps out of her comfort zone to help others!

 My websites:

http://www.challengedhope.com

http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

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What Is Specialized School Programming: High School?

Today, I had an appointment, along with other parents, to tour a specialized classroom that my two eldest mentally disabled grandchildren might be attending when they begin high school. I have to say up front that I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic way in which we were welcomed by the staff of the program, plus, their efficiency in answering our questions about specialized programming, and also their interest in transitioning disabled children from high school into inter-dependent adult living including the workforce.

At the time of writing this, a decision has yet to be reached as to whether this will be the high school my grandchildren will be attending, so I have to withhold my excitement for now, but for readers who are curious about specialized programming in high school, the following notes I quickly scribbled, while trying to keep up with the discussion, might be of interest.

At this school:

  • There are three classes in the specialized programming: Comprehensive, Autism, and Developmentally Delayed. The tour I attended was for the Comprehensive Program.
  • In the Comprehensive Program, the graduation age is twenty-one.
  • In all three classes combined there is a total of ten Educational Assistants.
  • The Comprehensive Program is geared to students with a minimum grade one or two reading level, plus simple math. Below that, the student would be placed in the Developmentally Delayed program.
  • The students work from the same timetable daily which is important as mentally disabled children prefer structure with as less change as possible, although activities do vary minimally, such as: during cooking class the students will learn to make different meals each time.
  • The students learn life-skills. For example: cooking, shopping, socializing, hygiene, fitness, transportation (taking a bus from A to B without losing their way).
  • Many people (which, before this tour, included me) don’t realize that mentally disabled children can be musically proficient, so I was pleased to learn that specialized programming encourages the student’s skills and confidence through performances in front of other students and parents.
  • Communication between parents and teachers is important to the staff and so daily agendas containing pertinent comments regarding the child’s day are used, plus telephone communication on a regular basis is encouraged.
  • Although registered in specialized programming, students could be assigned an IEP to ensure their individualized needs are continually being met (See post: What is an IEP?).
  • The students are constantly supervised during the school day and travel with a member of staff whenever they leave the classroom (e.g. going to the school cafeteria for lunch, and helping the student to make change while paying for lunch).
  • The staff encourages one-to-one friendships between the students. This particular school has a Best Buddies program to help utilize that goal. There are also after-school activities designed to generate friendships between students such as school dances.
  • When a student helps with necessary work such as clean-up, they receive a freebie snack.
  • The students are encouraged to participate in co-op placements with businesses in their area, resulting in many students finding positions in the workforce upon graduation.
  • I asked if bullying of the challenged children by the mainstream school children was more frequent than bullying of non-disabled students, and was met with a chorus of denials by the staff who assured me they are constantly aware of possible bullying and keep on top of any potential victimizing situations.

If you live in the Hamilton-Wentworth district of Ontario, please go to http://www.hwdsb.on.ca for further information about specialized school programming.

UPDATE: 

I’m extremely pleased to report that my two eldest grandchildren with mental disabilities have been accepted into a Comprehensive Class: Living & Learning Program at a Secondary School for September 2013.

I took my two grandchildren on a recent tour of their new classroom, so they could meet the Teacher and Educational Assistant, and also their fellow students. The classroom will be their home until they are twenty-years of age, during which time they will learn much needed life skills for independence and will get support and help for securing workplace experience and hopefully future employment.

After we had been introduced to everyone in the class, my grandkids were taken on a tour of the school by several of their classmates, during which time the teacher explained to me the various program elements offered in her class, which include:

Functional Literacy:
A reading program which includes a combination of independent reading, guided reading, and shared reading. Materials include – novel studies, magazines, maps, library books, pamphlets, calendars, etc. Writing program includes reading responses, journal writing, resumes, filling out forms, etc. Speaking opportunities include oral presentations, sharing work, role-playing, etc.

Functional Numeracy:
Foundational skills are practiced through hands-on math manipulative, role-playing, environmental numeracy (looking at bowling scores, grocery receipts, menu items, etc.) worksheets and computer drills. Topics include: money, telling time, number sense (adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing), estimating, weather charts and temperature graphs, shopping, time management, etc.

Vocational Skills:
All students learn job readiness skills such as: resumes, interviewing, positive attitude, problem solving, etc. Senior students participate in Transitional Work Experience Program (TWEP) where the EA takes 1-3 students to a job placement. Students in the past have worked at: Fortinos, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Dollarama, Blockbuster Video, local public schools, and Value Village.

Physical Skills:
Students learn about healthy living and improve motor skills through swimming, bowling, outdoor recreation, physical education, games and leisure activities.

Daily Living Skills:
All students participate in daily classroom jobs such as: preparing food, washing and drying dishes, setting-up the agenda, putting chairs up and down, etc. Class activities include how to ride buses safely in the community, preparing healthy meals, washing clothes, healthy relationships, etc.

Pathways Plan:
Students learn about transitions by using a daily agenda and monthly calendar.

Instructional Practices include:

  • Individualized planning based on student needs
  • Combination of independent and group work
  • Use of hands-on materials
  • Experiential learning through “doing” – Field Trips

This class is an excellent environment in which, over the next several years, I am sure, my grandchildren will thrive and learn skills designed to provide them with a solid foundation for life as adults with disabilities.

Some times, amazing things do happen!


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Special Needs Educator

… My school years are long in the past, but I do remember how mentally disabled students were treated back then. I’m thinking of two students in particular who were my peers in the elementary school in England where I grew up. There was Jennifer who suffered with the worst stutter I have ever heard plus severe learning disabilities, and Robert who was obviously challenged by an acute case of ADHD. Strangely enough, in those days, bullying of the more vulnerable by fellow students was seldom practiced, sad to say the teachers more than made up for it.

Not a day passed without my seeing a teacher lob a blackboard eraser at Jennifer or whack the back of her hand with a wooden ruler as she painfully stuttered her way through a story she couldn’t read, her face turning red with embarrassment and tears streaming down her cheeks as she was heckled and humiliated by the very person who should have been helping her. And I remember the time the Principal called the whole school staff and students out into the grounds, then dragged Robert outside and publicly shamed him by pulling down his pants and repeatedly swiping him on the rear end with a sneaker, for insolence over not listening to authority. Robert’s protesting howls are with me to this day.

For me, trying to justify this sordid behaviour against the mentally disabled with the excuse that teachers just didn’t know enough about mental disorders in those days is unacceptable. When did ignorance replace compassion?

Thank goodness things have changed! That’s one reason why I contacted my two eldest mentally disabled grandchildren’s teacher and asked him to help parents realize just how much help there is for mentally disabled children in the classrooms today.

His name is Tim Groenewegen and he is a special needs educator in the city of Hamilton, Ontario and kindly agreed to share his experience with, and knowledge of, special needs education….

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             Teaching Students with FASD: Tim Groenewegen

As a special needs educator within the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), I have been privileged to work with many students diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD). In this article I hope to inform parents and guardians of children with FASD of the education systems support for students with such needs, the educational choices that will have to be made, and how to unite parents/guardians and educators in supporting children. I will include in the term FASD: Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE), Partial FAS (PFAS), Alcohol-Related Neuro-developmental Disorder (ARND), and Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD).

Background

I have been working with students with special needs for the past four years with the previous two years having been in a special class setting. I made the switch into the special education classroom after working as a respite care worker for students with mental and physical disabilities. I had several realizations while working as a respite care giver: I have a skill set useful for special needs education, I enjoy teaching the life skills component of a special needs education classroom, I am able to perform the administrative duties associated with high needs and I very much enjoy seeing students reach their social, emotional, educational and physical goals. After this realization, I pursued my Special Needs Education specialist certificate through on-line course work.

Teaching students with FASD has been both challenging and rewarding. Understanding the needs of a child with FASD is a complex matter as their needs are different to the other children in my class. In addition, the needs can vary greatly between students with FASD. It is a learning process to understand how to better structure their day, lesson or social expectations and the HWDSB has provided me with training from a FASD specialist. By communicating with parents, caregivers, social workers and the academia, I have been better able help my 4 students with FASD perform better in the special education classroom.

Through experience I have found the following premises essential to apply to the education of students with FASD:

  • – Foundational to the success of students with FASD is the premise that they are trained for a successfully dependent future not a successful future of independence. In doing so, we teach students how to access the resources available to them. 
  • – Repetition can replace thinking so we repeat important actions until they become automatic. 
  • – Constant supervision and structured choices will help students to choose the right actions. Extra supervision is given to children with FASD during unstructured times such as recess time, before and after school. 
  • – Setting educational goals just below the child’s potential, which seems contrary to success, but will enable students to approach material feeling confident in themselves and their surroundings. 
  • – Offering what may appear to be rewards before more difficult academic content helps students feel successful before venturing into something new. These nuanced approaches have lead to much success in the classroom.

Placement

The twelve students I educate were placed in my classroom through a formal process following the decision of the Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC). This committee determines if a student should be identified as an exceptional student (according to ministry and board criteria) what exceptionality/exceptionalities they have and what classroom placement would best suit their needs. This committee may consist of a principal, vice principal, special education consultant, learning resource teacher and a classroom teacher. Parent/guardian input into this committee is important in order to benefit the student.

Deciding on which classroom setting is best suited for a child with FASD is an important decision. The following options are most often presented:

1. Regular classroom: In this case, a student identified as exceptional will stay in a regular classroom with additional support. These supports will include an Individual Education Plan (IEP), and may include assistance from an Educational Assistant (EA) or from a Learning Resource Teacher (LRT), extra supervision, and a safety intervention plan (SIP). In some cases, a student will spend most of their time in the regular classroom and integrate into another classroom for a particular subject (e.g. attend a grade 3 math class).
2. Special Class: In a special class, a student will be one of a maximum of 12 students. Their teacher will have special training in Special Needs Education and there will be at least one EA in the class. Each student will be on an IEP, more closely supervised during transitions (between classes, before and after school), and have a greater focus on daily living skills during the course of a school week. The academic level of a special class is a large factor to consider as students in a special class are typically placed there due to high educational needs.
3. Special Day School: This placement best suits students with severe behaviour needs, mental health needs and academic concerns. All students are on IEPs, are placed in small class sizes and have access to special education teachers and EAs.
Communication between school and home

Open communication between home and school is vital for the success of students. Teachers may send home a questionnaire at the beginning of the school year or partway through the year if new student arrives. The questionnaire seeks to gain understanding of key topics such as: how a student communicates, what their strengths and needs are, what interests they have and what goals they are trying to achieve. Accessing this information will minimize the “settling in period” into a new school or new class setting. Teachers will use the student agenda, phone or possibly email to communicate success, concerns or incidents. The student agenda is the most used medium of communication between home and school. Many parents and guardians find it helpful when the teacher notes down the nature of a conflict or incident at school so they can discuss it with the child at home. For many students with FASD, the connection between how they feel and what happened can be too great of an intellectual step to make on their own; the agenda can help make that step.

Teachers appreciate being kept up to date on issues pertaining to the well being of their students such as:

  • – changes in medications
  • – change in living arrangements
  • – upcoming events that may be causing excitement or anxiety
  • – new reward systems or behaviour tracking systems
  • – key terms or language used at home targeting behaviour e.g. “keep it small”, “ fishing” (when someone is looking or “fishing” for negative attention), “because that is the rule…”
  • – meetings with other people in the students care team e.g. doctor, psychologist, therapist…
  • – information regarding school the parent/guardian may not be aware of e.g. student broke up with her boyfriend or hurtful words were exchanged between students in the change room

Plan for the future

Goals for students with FASD should be goals of successful dependence on others rather than goals of successful independence. Focusing on functional math skills e.g. paying for groceries, budgeting; and functional literacy skills e.g. using a bus map, reading a recipe are crucial for future success. Goals for the future can and should be chosen with the student/parent/guardian and teaching team. Many generic goals will be set for students such as the ones listed above. Additional goals or refining goals can be done with increased input from guardians and parents. For example, a parent or guardian could provide a more individualized perspective by indicating a child’s phobia of being in crowded places (i.e. bus), anxiety around talking to strangers, personal hygiene skills, toileting, fine motor skills, or pronunciation. Together, goals can be chosen and monitored to help meet these needs on a case by case basis.

Choosing a high school setting that will equip students with dependent living skills, teaching functional math and language, and training in employable skills will help students achieve a successful future. This can be discussed at an IPRC meeting and be written into the “transition” section of the student I.E.P. Working as a team of parents/guardians, educators and medical staff can support students with FASD from kindergarten through to adulthood in achieving a successful future.

I wish you all the best in planning for success. I hope my perspective has helped you in making the right educational choices for the children you care for.

Tim Groenewegen

Helpful http://www.HWDSB.on.ca documents:

  • Working Together pdf.
  • IPRC pdf.
  • IEP pdf


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What is an Intellectual Disability?

Just this year, all three of my mentally disabled grandchildren have undergone Psycho-educational testing with a result of two of them being diagnosed with an Intellectual Disability, and the third with a specific learning disability. This diagnoses means that the children are likely to learn and develop significantly more slowly than other children of the same age.

According to Community Living Ontario, at communitylivingontario.ca, an Intellectual Disability is:…a disability that significantly affects one’s ability to learn and use information. It is a disability that is present during childhood and continues throughout one’s life.  A person who has an intellectual disability is capable of participating effectively in all aspects of daily life, but sometimes requires more assistance than others in learning a task, adapting to changes in tasks and routines, and addressing the many barriers to participation that result from the complexity of our society.

When the Psychological Report was compiled and a diagnosis made, many aspects of my grandchildren’s lives and abilities were taken into consideration, i.e.,

  • Reason For Referral (in their case to review their learning strengths and needs for programme planning)
  • Background Information
  • Observations during the assessment
  • Document Reviews of previous assessments and school reports
  • Interviews with the child and myself
  • Assessment Measures which include professional Developmental Tests
  • Behaviour Testing
  • Memory and Learning Testing
  • Individual Achievement Testing

For my grandchildren, I suspect, the testing felt long and arduous as it was completed over several appointments, but each one managed to complete the task, and as a result the older two were placed in a specialized school program for children with learning disabilities. See posts: What is Specialized School Programming? and What is Specialized School Programming: High School?


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What is Specialized School Programming?

In Ontario, Canada, there are various forms of specialized school programming for children with disabilities. According to the Ontario government website at: edu.gov.on.ca …. Exceptional pupils are identified as such by an Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC). Upon receiving a written request from a student’s parent(s)/guardian(s), the principal of the school must refer the student to an IPRC. The IPRC will decide whether the student is an exceptional pupil and, if so, what type of educational placement is appropriate. The principal may also, on written notice to the parent(s)/guardian(s), refer the student to an IPRC. 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. On the basis of these discussions, the IPRC can recommend the special education programs and/or services that it considers to be appropriate for the student.

The regulation governing the identification and placement of exceptional pupils directs the IPRC to consider the integration of exceptional pupils into regular classes. Before considering the option of placing a student in a special education class, the committee must first consider whether placement in a regular class, with appropriate special education programs and services, would meet the student’s needs and be consistent with the parent’s preferences. Where placement in a special education class is deemed most appropriate, the IPRC must provide written reasons for its decision. For students whose needs cannot be met entirely in the regular classroom, a range of placement options is available.

These options include:

  • A regular class with indirect support where the student is placed in a regular class for the entire day, and the teacher receives specialized consultative services.
  • A regular class with resource assistance where the student is placed in a regular class for most or all of the day and receives specialized instruction, individually or in a small group, within the regular classroom from a qualified special education teacher.
  • A regular class with withdrawal assistance where the student is placed in a regular class and receives instruction outside the classroom, for less than 50 per cent of the school day, from a qualified special education teacher.
  • A special education class with partial integration where the student is placed by the IPRC in a special education class in which the student-teacher ratio conforms to Regulation 298, section 31, for at least 50 per cent of the school day, but is integrated with a regular class for at least one instructional period daily.
  • A full-time special education class where the student-teacher ratio conforms to Regulation 298, section 31, for the entire school day.

The IPRC may also consider referring the student to a provincial committee for consideration of eligibility for admission to one of the Provincial Schools for blind, deaf or deaf-blind students, or to one of the Provincial Demonstration Schools for students with severe learning disabilities.


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I.E.P. & I.P.R.C.

When my mentally disabled grandchildren were young, I enrolled them in a private Christian school. By doing so I believed they would benefit from the one-to-one monitoring the learning centre provided, and the help and instruction they received was impeccable, especially from the kindergarten teacher who, despite their disabilities, taught all four the basics of reading and writing related to their specific age group.

But as time progressed, it became obvious that their mental challenges were impeding their learning and so, as the Christian school had no alternative programming for disabled students, it was necessary for me to make the decision to take them out of the Christian school and place them in the public school system. Since then they have received a lot of help regarding their disabilities including an education assistant and an IEP (individual education plan: See – What is an IEP?) and, in September 2012, the two older children were registered in a specialized program which focuses more on learning independence for daily living, rather than on the ABC’s.

However, experience has taught me the importance of communicating with the school staff in order for the children to receive the help they need. Before the two older grandchildren qualified for the specialized program, a psycho-educational assessment had to be completed for each  of them and IPRC meetings (See – What is an IPRC?) had to be attended, but above all, the children’s resource teacher is to be commended for her advocacy of them being placed in a specialized environment. For this, I thank her profusely, and pray all other parents of disabled children are as fortunate as I in receiving help such as hers.

Another resource  is after-school programming. This can provide respite for the caregiver, and also remove the disabled child from the after-school neighbourhood play which invariable leads to bullying of the child by neighbourhood kids. In the after-school programme they can play safely and under supervision and benefit greatly from the structured routine.

What is an IEP?

I initially registered my grandchildren in a private Christian school where an alternative program for disabled children was not available. But as time progressed it became obvious that they needed specialized programming so I placed them in a public school. It was then I heard the initials I.E.P. and had no idea what it stood for or how it was to be utilized in my grandchildren’s education. Now I understand that IEP stands for Individualized Education Program: a legally binding document that explains exactly what special education services your child requires.

When I attended my first IEP meeting at my grandchildren’s new school, I learned that the IEP was developed by each child’s teacher and learning resource teacher who, together, had taken into consideration their recent provincial report cards, my assessment of their needs, earlier psychometric assessments, verbal reports from their previous school, and reading, math and language assessments. The IEP also recorded areas of strengths and needs, and noted the reason for the development of each IEP.

Also a list of accommodations to each child’s learning needs were recorded, i.e. Instructional Accommodations, Environmental Accommodations, and Assessment Accommodations. These provide suggestions on how the child can be best helped in the classroom, such as, buddy/peer tutoring; extra time for processing; strategic seating, and use of technology/calculators, etc.

This was followed by a list of Learning Expectations, Teaching Strategies, and Assessment Methods for each of the child’s learning problem areas, such as: Math, Language, and English, etc. This IEP was used throughout the school year to help each child’s level of achievement improve, with a new IEP established annually if necessary.

The IEP meeting was attended by myself, the learning resource teacher, the teacher, and a caseworker overseeing my grandchildren’s development. But the meeting does not have to be limited to mostly school staff. If a parent or guardian would like other members of the community who he/she feels could add extra insight into the child’s needs, for example: a psychologist, a therapist or social worker, it can be requested.

It’s important not to feel intimidated during these meetings. At the first IEP meeting for my grandson, I remember having the IEP placed before me and being led through it one item at a time, but due to my nervousness at being surrounded by staff who appeared to know a lot more about my grandson’s needs and IEP’s than I did, I had difficulty following along, but when asked to sign the IEP, I did so without hesitation when in fact I should have taken it home first to study it and return it signed when satisfied. It would also have been a good idea to go prepared with appropriate questions and comments instead of sitting with my head hung down in embarrassment because of my uncertainty of what an IEP actually was.

What is an IPRC meeting?

By the time I attended an I.P.R.C. (Identification, Placement & Review Committee) meeting I understood more about the specialized programming for children with special needs. The IPRC meeting was scheduled for two of my grandchildren when it became obvious their disabilities could not be served by an IEP alone. A committee decides whether or not a child should be identified as having special needs that fall under one of Ontario’s Ministry of Education categories. The IPRC’s objective is to ensure safeguards surround the student to ensure his/her full learning potential is reached.

Either the parents, guardian or school staff can request an IPRC, with the parent being notified at least ten days before the meeting takes place. The time and date can be changed by the parent if inappropriate to their schedule. Remember, you have the right to be present and participate in all IPRC dialogue about your child, and it’s in your, and the child’s, best interest for you to attend every IPRC meeting.

Those usually attending the IPRC meeting are the student’s teacher, resource teacher, guidance counsellor, principal, psychologist, a school board representative and the parents. Using information from the staff and parents, the committee will form a recommendation for placement of the student, and the parents will be asked to sign a document agreeing to the committee’s recommendations.

All other information submitted by the child’s doctor’s or other professionals involved in his/her diagnosis must be taking into consideration by the committee, and is usually done so before the meeting takes place.

According to the Ministry: If everyone is in agreement, the statement of decision may be signed at the IPRC meeting and a copy given to the parent — but parents may also take the document home to review it before signing.

The statement of decision must include:

  • whether the Committee has identified the pupil as exceptional
  • where the Committee has identified the pupil as exceptional, the decision must include:
  1. the Committee’s description of the pupil’s strengths and needs
  2. the categories and definitions of exceptionalities identified
  3. the Committee’s placement decision
  4. the Committee’s recommendations, if any, regarding special education programs and services.

A key element of the IPRC decision is the proper identification of the child’s learning needs. The Statement of Needs on the IPRC document should include all the areas for which special education support is required. There is no limit on the number of needs that may be included on the IPRC document.

For information regarding Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board programming contact 905.527.5092 or visit their website at http://www.hwdsb.on.ca