Accessing Students with Special Needs Support
Ministry of Education guidelines state “To the maximum extent possible, special education services should be organized for delivery at the school level”. It is imperative that interventions for students with special needs utilize school based resources before referral is made to outside resources. The following procedure should be used as a guideline for seeking appropriate support for a student with special needs. Parent(s) have the right, should they choose, to be involved in all decisions regarding their children. It is essential that the parent(s), and the student, where appropriate, are involved in partnership with the school and district personnel at all stages of the procedure. They are considered an integral part of the school-based team.
- The problem is identified by the student, parent, classroom teacher or other school-based personnel.
- The teacher, in collaboration with the parent(s), and where appropriate, the student, sets instructional objectives and chooses appropriate strategies and materials. If the objectives are achieved and the student’s needs are met, further intervention is not required. If the objectives are not achieved, this step may be repeated, or a decision may be made to proceed to stage 2.
- The classroom teacher, in collaboration with the parent(s), and where appropriate, the student, consults with the learning assistance teacher, counsellor and/or principal. If additional objectives and instructional strategies emerge from this collaboration, they are implemented. If this intervention is successful and the student’s needs are met, further intervention is not required. If the objectives are not achieved this step may be repeated or there may be a decision to proceed to the next step.
- When further intervention strategies are required, the learning assistance teacher, in close consultation with the classroom teacher, should locate and analyze all available information, observe the student’s work and behaviour, conduct further assessment if required to provide new information and refer to the school-based team.
- The school-based team, including the parent(s), and where appropriate, the student, meets to consider all information regarding the case and plans a program for implementation. If the plan is successful, the student’s needs are met. If the objectives are not achieved this step may be repeated, or there may be a decision to proceed to stage 3.
- This step begins with a pre-referral consultation (a conversation, emails or telephone call) with the appropriate Student Support Services staff member (this may have been completed at a school-based team meeting, as noted above). As a result of this consultation, further intervention strategies may be identified which can be implemented at the school level without further involvement of district resources.
- If no further strategies are identified, the student should be formally referred to the appropriate Student Support Services staff member. The school-based team will discuss the referral with the parent and complete the Request for Student Support Services form which requires written parental consent.
- The appropriate Student Support Services staff member will locate and analyze all available information, test only if new information is required and meet with the school-based team to assist them with the planning and implementation of a program.
- If the plan is successful and the objectives are achieved, then the student’s needs are met. If the plan is not successful, then step seven is repeated and another plan and implementation is attempted. This process will continue to be repeated until an appropriate plan is developed.