Two weeks later.
To Identify Or Not Identify… This article explores the identification question in the ASD context. Spoiler alert. There is no question.
Let’s’ assume that the school was in someway reticent to schedule an IPRC.
The principal, Ms. Smith, responded by arranging to speak to the mother that morning. She immediately spoke to the school’s special education resource teacher as well as the classroom teacher to talk to them about Emily and her needs. The school also allocated an educational assistant for part of the day to provide support.
Comment: The principal and the school acted appropriately by taking immediate action to provide initial programs and services and to collaborate with the parent.
Relevant legislation and legal principles.
The concreteness of the visual impairment makes it obvious and self evident that Emily should be in school. It is also always clear that a child with a visual impairment should and could be identified with an exceptionality. The above regulation states that programming and services must not wait until the child is identified.
The Education Act states that all children have a right to be school.
Ontario’s human rights regimen would also come into play if the school in any way either denied or limited access to school or denied or limited appropriate accommodations for Emily to have meaningful access to education.
Under the Code, education providers in both the publicly funded system and in private schools have a legal duty to accommodate students with disabilities up to the point of undue hardship. Ontario Human Rights Commission – Elementary and Secondary Education
In Emily’s case if you were a dispute her right to be registered in school. However, children with other needs help at times encounter difficulties registering their children. We will explore this possibility in the next post.
The case of Emily
Emily Green is six years old and is of grade one age .
She has moved from another province.
She is visually impaired. She blindness is profound.
Emily has a medical diagnosis of profound vison impairment.
There is no concern about or evidence of any other limitation or condition.
There are no behavioural or safety issues.
Emily has no system in place to allow her to access the curriculum. The other children can look at pictures and learn to read and print and draw but Emily cannot.
In September her mother, Ms. Green, walked into the neighbourhood community school on the first day to register her daughter. She also asked to meet immediately with the principal to talk about her daughter.
Let’s explore the rights and responsibilities of both parents and schools with regard to Emily. In that her visual impairment is fairly straightforward, The way forward, entrenched in legislation and law will seem intuitively obvious and born of commonsense.
The need to understand fundamental special education regulations is an essential component of solid advocacy.
In 2007, the Ontario Ministry of Education released the resource document Shared Solutions – A Guide to Preventing and Resolving Conflicts Regarding Programs and Services for Students With Special Education Needs
Shared Solutions points to a remedy to the power imbalance felt by parents..
“Conflicts may also arise if parents and/or educators are not fully informed about
ministry regulations and policy documents with respect to regular and special
education. As well, it is important for all parties – educators, other professionals,
students, and parents – to be aware of their roles and responsibilities in
the planning, implementation, and monitoring of special education programs
and services.” Shared Solutions, p.14
Shared Solutions also points toward a key plank of the special education platform in the second paragraph of its Overview of Special Education. (Page 6)
“The children and youth who require special education programs and services are a diverse group. Some students with special education needs are formally identified by an Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC);”
The center piece of Special Education in Ontario Schools is the Individual Placement and Review Process. When the special education regimen in Ontario was created, the legislature made the IPRC the pivotal process where the parental common law rights of procedural fairness were found.
Therefore, our initial work here will be to understand the IPRC thoroughly. Doing that, however, we will look at many concepts that are intertwined and flow through the IPRC.
As we progress through a series of scenarios I will identify what I believe are pivotal, important aspects of the process as well as areas and concepts that often can, although mandated in legislation and cited in tribunal decisions, be less than familiar to some educators.