Beginning school is an important step in the life of every child.  Change can be full of excitement, anxiety and anticipation for both parents and the child.  When your child has special needs, careful planning is needed to ensure a successful school career.

School Entry Action Plan

These suggestions will help in the planning and preparation of your child’s entry into the school system:

  • Know your rights: start learning about the school system at least one year before your child is to attend school
  • Identify your child’s strengths and needs: Well before school begins, consider what your child needs to provide them with the best possible school experience and learning environment.

Questions to ask:

What does my child enjoy? How does my child learn best?
What things can my child do for himself and what things does he/she need help with?

  • Write down the supports your child will need to fully participate at school. Start in the year before your child starts school.  Identify what you will be looking for at the school and supports you will have from the school.

Questions to ask:

What other services (besides educational programming) will my child need, i.e., physiotherapy, occupational therapy, teaching assistant?
Will my child need transportation to school?
Is the school building accessible, i.e. ramp?
Will my child need a mobility device, i.e. a wheelchair?

  • Research school system options of choice (public, separate, private): Begin researching your options at least one year before your child starts school.

Questions to ask:

What are the school board’s philosophies toward special education and integration?
What are the school’s geographical boundaries?
Can I tour the school?

  • Make an appointment with the principal of your local school to discuss your child and supports needed at least by January prior to the start of school:

Questions to ask:

When is registration?
What is the enrolment?
What documentation is required?
Can my child’s needs be met at this school?

  • Register your child for school: This usually occurs in March.

Questions to ask:

What is the start date?
Is transportation available?
Are there classroom supports?

  • Attend a school Open House, if there is one: This is usually held in May or June.  This gives your child the opportunity to see the school.

Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC)

The IPRC will:

  • Identify your child as exceptional
  • Identify the areas of exceptionality
  • Decide appropriate placement
  • Review the identification and placement at least once each school year

The Principal of your child’s school:

  • Must request an IPRC meeting for your child upon your written request
  • May refer your child to an IPRC

May parents attend the IPRC meeting?

  • You are entitled to be present and participate in all committee decisions about your child
  • Be present when the committee’s IPRC decision is made

Individual Education Plan (IEP)

An IEP must be developed for your child, in consultation with you.  It must be completed 30 days after your child has been placed in the program.  The Principal will provide you with a copy.

The IEP shall contain:

  • Present level of achievement (strengths & needs)
  • Relevant medical/health information
  • Short & long term goals, student outcomes
  • Program area(s) & current performance levels
  • Instructional strategies/modifications/resources/accommodations
  • Assessment/evaluation
  • For children 14 years and older, a plan for transition to appropriate post secondary school activities, such as further education, work or community living

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)

All school boards are required to have SEAC committees to advise the Board on matters related to the provision of special education programs and services to exceptional students.  The Special Education Advisory Committee consists of voluntary representatives from local associations, community representatives and trustees, all appointed by the Board.  Easter Seals has SEAC representatives in a number of school boards across the province.