Over the last month I have been trying to find resources online to tell me what steps to take to make sure that Nickolas will get everything he needs in the school year. Knowledge is power.
Because we are going to the Catholic School System I started with the school board website. This has had some challenges to begin with. They have a special education section with links. I thought great! This is info available online. Except most of these links don't work, and when I contact the webmaster (because that it was it says and there is no way to contact an actual person online) I am told this email does not exist.
The whole thing has me even more worried now! If their website links don't work for 'exception students' then what does that really say about what the board thinks about these students and the importance of assisting parents.
I did some more digging on the site and came up with a couple of more links a document about exceptional health conditions, as well as Parents Guide to Special Education - which can only be viewed online, not in pdf format. There is information about roles and responsibilities in regards to special education, that says what is expected by everyone involved.
Everything that we have considered in regards to school has been to get the most out of the school experience for Nickolas. And the beliefs about special education in regards to accessibility and diversity makes me think this is the right school of thought.
We debated both the catholic and the public school board. The Catholic school board was very specific in regards to inclusion of children with exceptional needs. The Public school board said that they will attempt to integrate children (with all the flowering talk) but I just felt that the Catholic school board had the support that we wanted.
When I'm stressing out about things I want to collect as much information as I can.
There is a whole bunch of new words and terms that I need to learn about.
- Exceptional student, this is the government etc that is trying not to say disability. I think I like the terminology.
- Special Education
- I.P.R.C. - the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee - this is who determines that a child is exceptional and needs a special education program. It consists of at least 3 people at least is the principal.
- this includes facilities, resources, support people and equipment
- S.E.A.C. - the Special Education Advisory Committee
- I.E.P (individual education plan); meant for every identified student, including students with physical exceptionalities. I take this to mean it is appropriate for kindergarten (regardless of what certain secretaries may think).
- Specialized Health Support Services - nursing, OT, PT, ST, catheterization, toileting are all on the list.
It looks like this is all of the information that I can collect for now.
SBHAO resources (just scroll down to Education) has a number of resource links as well:
- IEP samples, including what resources were used to develop the samples
General Guides (PDF):
the IEP - a resource guide
IEP standards for development, program planning and implementation
I am concentrating that Nickolas will need help because of physical issues. At the moment Nickolas is still age appropriate for other developmental scales and even though I have worries about letters, writing and language I'm reassured this is still within limits for 3 years old.
There are a number of resources concerning learning disabilities and I am just not ready to go there. Spina bifida and Hydrocephalus are associated with learning disabilities. I am aware of this and will keep my mind open to the possibility that this might be something we need to further explore. But not yet.
There are other resources for support for people who are trying to figure out education issues.
Precious Minds is a support for families with children who have barriers to learning (learning, physical, developmental and behavioral disabilities)
Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario, help parents with advocacy.
Holland Bloorview Resource Centre, links to meet education needs
I think this is the end of my research for now. I think I have a lot of reading for the next couple of months.