The IPRC

The following in is support material for my three part webinar series. I copy of this material with active links will be up in a few days.

In the meanwhile most of the material can be can be found at

Negotiating the maze…

The IPRC webinar series these notes unpin is found at

Class is in Session..

Preparing for the IPRC – Process

Understanding the rules: The case of Emily

1. I am going to, hopefully, lead you to an understanding of the rules and regulations that how we advocate for support with children with education related to disorders such as autism spectrum disorder.

2. The purpose of this section will be to show you how the system can work. In a sense, you will learn about “tools” that you can use. What remains to be explored later on is exactly how you should use a given tool and, if so, when and where to use it.

3. An interesting reality of this material is that often many educators do not actually understand the regulations, including teachers, principals or even supervisory staff. Often, our advocacy efforts can help to connect educators with the legislation. This process can be both advantageous and difficult for parents. Asserting rights that are newly discovered by educators allows parents to be heard. However, change is difficult for everyone and parents need to be mindful of asserting their rights in a respectful and positive manner.

4. Negotiating the Maze – Must Reading This document connects our discussion about IPRCs with broader Special Education Advocacy information.

5. Being on equal at the table – Shared Solutions – A Guide to Preventing and Resolving Conflicts Regarding Programs and Services for Students with Special Education Needs. This book is interesting in many ways. Looking the the introduction to the slender special education introduction signals what the Ministry of Education sees as important.

6. Shared Solutions is a wonderful resource and the root of my efforts explaining the IPRC in this material. The resource spends time exploring possible sources of conflict between Parents and Schools. The resource captures the situation well; however, my experiences advocating for parents give me a slightly different take on the root source of almost all the conflict I observe…

7. The Ministry of Educations released a useful document in Summer 2017 called Special Education In Ontario – Kindergarten to Grade 12 – 2017. Special Education in Ontario Sections D and E are very useful.

8. Autism Ontario helped me in creating three webinars looking at IPRCs. http://www.autismontario.com/client/aso/ao.nsf/web/Classes+In+Session?OpenDocument They interrelate with this writing.

9. How parents can feel…

“During the first few years after my son’s diagnosis thinking about dealing with my son’s school filed me with dread. I felt so frustrated and powerless…”

“No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t seem to get my child’s teacher to understand who my daughter was…”

“I have a complicated job and think of myself as “with it” but when I talk to my kid’s school I am deluged with terms they assume I get. Often, I don’t.”

This is the reality of many parents of children with academic needs. The common thread in my experience supporting parents is that do not feel that they are listened to…

10. Equals at the table.

Imagine you are a parent going to some sort of meeting planned at the school to talk about your child. As you drive, maybe you and your partner are quiet but inside, your mind is racing. Will they listen to me? Maybe if I’m funny enough, or clear speaking enough, or forceful enough, they will listen to me. The knot in your throat tightens and you fell sick.

11. Many parents perceive a fundamental power imbalance between the school and home. Because they do not understand the regulations that govern special education, they feel powerless. This lack of power can create anxiety and anger.

12. Shared Solutions points to a remedy to this imbalance.

“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

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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 could be, although mandated in legislation and cited in tribunal decisions, unfamiliar to educators.

16. In my work as a Resource Teacher, I have found that one way to help some students understand more complicated math equations is to start with simple numbers that have self evident solutions that students can solve by common sense like 2×2=4. Once the learner understands the dynamic of the equation, we can use more difficult numbers.

For many…. 4208(47.5+92.8)

_____________

5

18

Is daunting.

2(2+2)

______

2

2

Less so.

17. In a sense, this process follows the Applied Behaviour Analysis principle of shaping behaviour from the simple to the complex. It’s how we learn to swim and read and drive… and it’s a good way to learn advocacy.

18. That being said, the best way I know to help you understand the labyrinth of the Ontario special education regulatory scheme is to initially refrain from addressing issues related to Autism Spectrum Disorder.

19. ASD is, in a word, “complicated.” The diagnosis shifts over time and has many facets and related conditions. In short, it has many moving parts.

20. Also, if you care for and about the child on the spectrum, there is a tendency to miss the forest for the trees. The facts of their child’s life cloud and obscure a clear view of the process.

21. I first learned the value of explaining special-education regulations in terms of a single trait physical disorder in my work teaching special education to teachers and educational assistants. When I spoke about the needs of the child who was blind or mobility challenged they got it. Such disabilities are immediately obvious to the senses and engage our “common sense”. By initially substituting a single physical limitation for ASD we replace big numbers with small numbers so that our common sense can perceive what should be. It allows you to say things like “Tom Cruise is in grade 9 and is profoundly learning disabled. He can’t read. How are we going to help him pass grade nine English?”

22. One final thought. We will use scenarios to explore the material. Key concepts will be woven into the material. There will be links to source material, letter templates and other related resource material.

The Case of Emily

23. Emily Green was six years old and should be in grade one.

24. She has moved from another province.

25. She was visually impaired. She saw nothing. Her blindness was nearabsolute.

26. Emily had a medical diagnosis of profound vision impairment.

27. There was no concern about or evidence of any other limitation or condition.

28. There were no behavioural or safety issues.

29. Emily had no system in place to allow her to access the curriculum. The other children could look at pictures and learn to read and print and draw but Emily could not.

30. 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.

31. 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.

32. 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.

33. 9. (1) In accordance with requirements under the Education Act, no pupil is to be denied an education program pending a meeting or decision under this Regulation. O. Reg. 181/98, s. 9 (1).

34. 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 regulation states that programming and services must not wait until the child is identified.

35. The Education Act states that all children have a right to be school.

36. (1) A person has the right, without payment of a fee, to attend a school in a school section, separate school zone or secondary school district, as the case may be, in which the person is qualified to be a resident pupil. 1997, c. 31, s. 13.

37. 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.

38. 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

39. Note: Words are important. When legislation uses verbs like “can” or “could” the statement is optional. When the regulation uses verbs like “shall” or “must” whatever the regulation states is mandatory.

40. It would be rare that a child like Emily would be denied access to a school and/or at least some level of programs and services. However, schools could conceivably respond in a variety of less productive ways including:

• Providing for no support.

• Providing a limited support.

• Allowing for unsafe situations to occur.

• Denying entry/registration until some future meeting.

• Denying entry into the school

41. We will explore strategies based on regulations and law to encourage schools to comply with their obligations later on.

Two weeks later.

42. Emily’s mother, though pleased with the support and engagement from the school asked Ms. Patel, the Resource Teacher, if they could identify Emily through an Individual Placement and Review Committee. (IPRC).

43. Possible Responses

The School promptly begins to schedule and I PRC.

or…

The special education teacher/principal/other staff respond with some combination of.

the following…

• They do not IPRC children until grade ?

• They do not IPRC children unless they are to be moved into a special education class/get educational assistant support/etc…

• They can provide the child with appropriate supports without having an IPRC.

44. To Identify Or Not Identify… This article explores the identification question in the ASD context. Spoiler alert. There is no question.

45. Let’ assume that the school was in someway reticent to schedule an IPRC.

46. Emily’ mother, after consideration, requested an IPRC meeting in writing to the Principal of the school.

47. Sample IPRC request letter.

Below you will find a sample IPRC request letter. This letter is sent to the principal directly. It is a good practice to bring the letter in yourself but you must remember to remain positive in your interactions. I suggest a paper copy be give, though an email copy could also be sent. If this is not an initial IPRC make any changes appropriate. The letter is brief and to the point. Be sure to individualize the template and make it yours.

The Principal

Name of School

Address of School

Dat e

Dear Mr. or Ms (Name of Principal)

Re: (Name of Child) (Date of Birth)

The purpose of this letter is to request that you refer my daughter/son to the school board’s Identification, Placement and Review Committee for the purpose of identifying her/him as an exceptional child and of determining the most enabling educational placement with appropriate programs and Services for her/him.

I do want to thank you for your consideration for and support of my son/daughter. The school has been very embracing and accommodating of Emily and her needs.

Emily father, Mr. O’Neil, has a visual impairment and will require materials written in Braille.

Thank you for processing this request promptly. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely

(your name)

cc (Superintendent of your Family of Schools)

48. Effective Practices – Considering write or typing the note on paper, date and sign. Either call and/or email to confirm that it was received. Avoid adding other issues related to your child and/or the school into the letter or confirming communication. Do not include any grievance in either. These are specific purposeful letters. Any additional material should be positive.

49. Care should be given to be positive in your interactions with your child’s school and the school board as well as other service providers. This is particularly true with email and social media. It is unfortunate but possible to experience considerable frustration and anxiety when trying to obtain appropriate support for your child. It is not helpful , however, to allow your frustration to seep into your interactions with staff. Keep written correspondence as neutral and positive as you can. It is helpful to get a friend or family member to edit material before you send it.

50. Effective Practices – Start and use a School Log/Contemporaneous record.

As with any interaction with the school related to your child’s needs, consider recording the key events related to the school and your child on paper. Use a bound note book. Print or hand write, write objective statements. Use statements that are positive and convey a patient, positive but focussed attitude on your part. Date the entry.

Sample Entry (to be written or printed)

51. October 15. Spoke to Ms. Patel. I asked for an IPRC. Ms. Patal suggested that an IPRC was not needed at this time. I replied that the school was offering needed support for Emily and I wished to have an IPRC to formalize Emily’s status. I said I would send a note to the principal.

52. Negotiating the Maze, Call and Meeting Logs, p. 9

Also take a look at other suggestion regarding communication with the school and record keeping templates.

53. The ability for a parent/ guardian to request am IPRC is found in Regulation 181/98, Subsection 14.1 (link)

14. (1) The principal of the school at which a pupil is enrolled,

(a) may on written notice to a parent of the pupil; and

(b) shall at the written request of a parent of the pupil,

refer the pupil to a committee established by the board, for a decision as to whether the pupil should be identified as an exceptional pupil and, if so, what the placement of the pupil should be. O. Reg. 181/98, s. 14 (1).

54. This right is also found in most School Board Guide to Special Education programs and Services as mandated by the Ministry of Education. This guide will be likely located somewhere on your Board’s website and is generally found when using Google and searching Parents Guide to Special Education Programs and Services along with your Board’s name.

55. The Toronto District School Board is the largest Board in the province and has a wonderful website. This right to request an IPRC is found as follows on the TDSB Guide.

56. “How is an IPRC meeting requested? The principal of your child’s school: – May, with written notice to you, refer your child to an IPRC when the principal and the child’s teacher or teachers believe that your child may benefit from a special education program -Must request an IPRC meeting for your child, upon receiving your written request.” Within 15 days of receiving your request, or giving you notice, the principal must provide you with a copy of this guide and a written statement of approximately when the IPRC will meet.

TDSB Guide.

57. Take some time and locate your School Board’s Parent’s Guide to Special Education Programs and Services. If you can’t your Board’s website, or if the Guide does not include this ability, the right still exists.

58. This request could feel unusual to school staff because, for many schools, this is not a “normal practice.” It is possible that the request will be initially misunderstood and even refused. We will look at how to assert this right in a positive yet assertive fashion shortly.

59. Emily’s mother also noted in her letter that Emily’s father was also visually impaired and required materials in Braille to participate.

60. The School Board has an specific obligation to materials in accommodated formats based the needs as participants who are entitled to materials.

61. A person or body required by this Regulation to communicate in writing to a parent or pupil shall, at the request of the parent or pupil, use a braille, large print or audio-cassette format for the communication. O. Reg. 181/98, s.4,

62. A week or so later, Emily’s mom received a call from Ms. Patel telling her the school was planning an IPRC for Emily for early November, about four weeks away.

63. She told Ms. Green that a package would be sent home with Emily containing a letter from the principal confirming the future meeting as well as a copy of the Board’s Guide to Special Education Programs and Services. She added that there will be a copy of the materials in Braille. She concluded by asking her mother if she had any questions and inviting her to call the school if she had any questions or concerns.

64. The next day Mrs. Green found an envelope from school in Emily’s backpack after school.

65. Comment: The school has substantially met its obligations as listed in regulations and has demonstrated an open and inviting attitude as suggested by the Ministry of Education in the Publication Shared Solutions.

66. Regulation 181/98, Subsection 14 (7) (a) to (f) states:

The Principal has 15 days to respond to a parent/guardian’s letter in writing. It is a normal and accepted practice for Principals to delegate parts of this action to school staff such as Resource Teachers.

67. The legislation/regulation is silent on a parent prompting a school board to hold an IPRC if the Principal/school/board either does not respond or explicitly refuses to hold an IPRC upon request from a parent/guardian.

68. However, the Ontario Special Education Tribunal does provide a pathway for parents when detailing the Appeal and Hearing process on their website. Hearing and Appeal Process

“If the principal does not respond to your request or refuses to hold the IPRC you can request a hearing by the Special Education Appeal Board. To request a SEAB hearing, contact:

• the principal (again)

• your school board superintendent

• the district office of the Ministry of Education

Before requesting an SEAB hearing, you may want to get advice from a parent advocacy group or legal counsel.”

69. In the legislation, the appropriate person to send a request that a SEAB be constituted is the secretary of the School Board, generally the Director. The same guidelines noted when sending in the IPRC letter to the principal apply. Be factual, positive and forward focussed. Deliver a physical copy to the Director’s office, either in person or by courier. Contact the others noted above to make the same request and indicate you have sent a letter to the Director. Record that you delivered it in your log. Stress that your intention was to have an IPRC and that you have been frustrated in your efforts. Reference the directions given on the tribunal site. The result of this action will most likely be a scheduled IPRC by the school/school board.

70. It would seem and be reasonable to act prudently and allow the Principal time to respond. If the 15 day period passes call the school and send a polite note. I would wait at least a week and make a third request through writing as well as calling. Take the position that the request has been overlooked because of a busy time at school. Convey this position in your communications. If your request is directly refused, remember to be polite. Ask for their position in writing. Indicate that you hold a different position and will advocating for an IPRC with the school board.

71. Request a Special Education Appeal Board be convened.

72. Sample letter that could be sent to the (Secretary) Director.

Secretary of the School Board

Name of the School Board Address

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that we request a Special Education Appeal Board to constituted regarding our son, Mario Smith. Our request is based on advice from the Special Education Tribunal to take this action when substantially frustration in efforts to have a IPRC for our child. (Ontario Special Education Tribunals, Appeal and Hearing Process (www.sjto.gov.on.ca/oset/appeal-and-hearing-process/). We have formally requested an IPRC as required in legislation three times over a one month period (dates ). I have attached the letters. In response to our attempts….

We are concerned regarding this situation in that our ability to have an IPRC at our request is ensured in O. Reg. 181/98, s. 14 (1) .

Thank you for your prompt attention to the matter. We are confident that your involvement will make any further efforts to ensure an IPRC through further appeals unnecessary. We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely.

(your name)) Chair of the School Board Regional Office of the Ministry of Education

Principal

73. A Significantly Delayed IPRC

In the likely event that the school/principal does respond but tells you that the IPRC will be held so far in the future that you feel it constitutes an unreasonable delay, both the regulations and tribunal case history seems silent on the issue.

74. The following regulation does give some sense of direction around what time lapse between IPRC request and actual IPRC might be considered reasonable.

75. (2) A request by a parent under clause (1) (b) may be made at any time after a placement has been in effect for three months but may not be made more often than once in every three month period. O. Reg. 181/98, s. 21 (2).

76. The regulation notes that a parent/guardian can request an IPRC every 3 months. For this provision to function the IPRC would have to happen within the three month window. The other compelling reason for an IPRC to be held in a reasonable time is the common law notion of fairness. Emily’s blindness must be accommodated. Emily’s mother should not have to wait ten months to be heard. A wait of one months, even two feels reasonable if the school is taking measures at present.

77. In the unlikely event of being given an IPRC date a year away, it seems reasonable to treat the long wait as a refusal, citing the three month reference and asking for a SEAB from the Director.

78. While Emily’s mom was waiting for the IPRC, she wondered if the school had any documents about Emily that she might not have. She walked into the school and asked the secretary when she could see Emily’s Ontario Student Record. The secretary told her that she would speak to the principal and get back to her. The secretary called back and Ms. Green was able to review Emily’s OSR the next afternoon with the Special Education Resource Teacher.

79. Emily’s mother asked for a copy of the medical notes that she did not seem to have and the school obliged by making her a copy. The school was again acting in a positive manner as described in Shared Solutions and was following provincial regulation. The Ontario Student Record (OSR), 2000 , Section 4.2 notes:

“The parents of a student have the right to have access to the student’s OSR, until the student becomes an adult (age eighteen). Under both the Children’s Law Reform Act and the Divorce Act, 1985, the legal right of a non-custodial parent to have access to a child includes the right to make inquiries and to be given information concerning the child’s health, education, and welfare.”

“In addition, municipal and provincial freedom of information legislation permits persons who have the right to have access to personal information to receive copies of the information. “

80. In the unlikely event that access is denied, parents have several courses of action, from following the board’s complaint protocol to more assertive responses. These are beyond the scope of this work.

81. A few weeks before the scheduled IPRC, Emily’s mom sent the Principal and the Resource Teacher a letter outlining her concerns regarding Emily as well as her well considered expectations for the IPRC.

Practice Note: Remember, deliver a physical copy to the recipients. Email or call to confirm it was received. Be positive. Record in your log.

Sample heads-up letter indicating expectation about an upcoming IPRC

Ms. Smith

82. Thank you for the getting back to me with the details for the upcoming IPRC. I would also like to thank Ms. Jones for finding the time to review Emily’s IPRC with me.

83. I thought I would write you a note so that we are on the same page regarding my daughter’s upcoming IPRC. My understanding of the IPRC is the product of research into the IPRC as it is described in Regulation 181/98 of the Ontario Education Act.

84. First, I plan to consult with you to develop the needs list that captures my child’s needs based on empirical evidence (Medical Reports, Psychological Assessment information, report cards, etc…). I plan to advocate for language with sufficient clarity to capture my child’s needs. O. Reg. 181/98, s. 5 (1). , O. Reg. 181/98, s. 9 (2). , O. Reg. 181/98, s. 17 (1).

85. I also plan to request that we discuss proposals for programs and services my child requires to accommodate and meet his needs as described on the needs list. Though I am aware that discussions about programs and services are often held at IEP development meetings, the need to discuss programs and services at an IPRC at the request of parents is noted in 181/98. O. Reg. 181/98, s. 16 (1). I understand a program as including “a plan containing specific objectives and an outline of educational services that” will Emily’s needs and services to mean “facilities and resources, including support personnel and equipment, necessary for developing and implementing a special education program.”

Ontario Education Act, R.S.O.. 1990, c. E.2 1. Interpretation, other general matters. Special Education Programs, Special Education Services.

86. In order to have a meaningful IPRC that addresses these concerns, I am making myself available for a meeting of at least 45 minutes in length.

87. I must stress that to a great extent our discussion of my child’s needs and of programs and services will be merely an acknowledgement and celebration of the good work that school staff do with my son/daughter.

88. I am mindful that my requests, though mandated by regulation and substantially listed in our School Board’s Guide to Special Education, might not fit with how traditionally IPRCs are carried out in our board. If you have any questions and/or want to discuss my thoughts please contact me.

Ms. Green decided to add some points as regarding the IPRC that gave the school a sense of her thoughts about what she wanted out of the IPRC.

89. As regards Emily I thought I would note some points I plan to bring up.

90. Strengths – Due to Emily’s young age, there are no formal assessments of her ability. However medical comments as well as initial impressions from her teacher as conveyed to us indicate she seems able to meet grade expectations.

91. Needs – I have a report from Emily’s vision teacher and have given a copy to Ms. Patel. I noted in he OSR that you have an older copy of the report. Clearly, her needs, her complete vision impairment should be noted. I also would like to include her issues with mobility and safety on the needs list. Both are noted in the medical report.

92. I do plan to note the wonderful support and initial programming that the school has provided for Emily as well as propose that Emily be supported by the vision team and the augmentative communication training begin immediately. I do plan to note the wonderful support and initial programming that the school has provided for Emily as well as proposed that Emily be supported by the vision team and that augmentative communication training begin immediately. My preference is braille related so Emily can be supported by her father. I also would like to propose that Emily be supported by a mobility specialist as well as additional intensive staff support to provide a safe environment as well as implement the augmentative communication system under direction of teaching staff augmentative communication system under direction of teaching staff. These proposed services are all within the recommendation section of the doctor’s report.

93. The letter initially confused the principal. She had never experienced an IPRC anything like the one described in the letter. The letter seems so assertive and thick with requests. However, it was also very positive and forward thinking. Furthermore, all interactions with the family had been positive and constructive.

94. After speaking to the resource teacher the principal sent the letter to the superintendent. She came to realize that the request were all acceptable practices based on legislation.

95. On October 16, Emily’s teacher calls and left a message stating the Principal was sending home a letter with Emily. The letter stated that an IPRC had been scheduled for Tuesday October 28th at 2.00 at the school.

96. The school had again met its obligations.

97. At least 10 days in advance of a meeting of a committee or special education appeal board, the chair of the committee or board shall give written notice of the time and place of the meeting to a parent of the pupil and, where the pupil is 16 years of age or older, the pupil. O. Reg. 181/98, s. 5 (5).

98. Finally, two days after Emily’s mother received the letter, she called the school and also dropped a letter at the school for the principal saying that she had spoken to her doctor and he was able to attend the meeting. She also mentioned that a community advocate who supported many families of children with vision impairment was going to attend the meeting to support her and would possible speak for her at times.

99. The right for a parent to have a representative support and even speak for them is found in 181/98

A person who has a right under subsection (1) or (2) to participate in a discussion also has the right to have a representative present at the discussion, to speak on behalf of the person or otherwise support the person. O. Reg. 181/98, s. 5 (3).

A person who has a right under clause (1) (b) to be present also has the right to have a representative present to support the person. O. Reg. 181/98, s. 5 (4).

100. The representative is not defined so it can be anyone, even a Lawyer or Paralegal. The representative can be present for both discussion and at the time that decisions are made. Given that the IPRC is an relatively informal meeting, most representatives are family friends or community based support people. The presence of legal professional might actually work against a positive IPRC; however, it could be fruitful to obtain legal advice in some situations.

101. There is no specific right to bring your doctor or other professional but there are multiple references throughout educational regulations to collaboration with professionals and this is rarely an issue. Ms. Green was right to give the Principal a heads up that the doctor was coming. Technically, she should have told the IPRC chair but the two are generally one and the same and if they were not, the principal could convey the information.

The stage for the meeting is set.

102. Summary

1. Student is enrolled and begins to community school. (regulatory right)

2. Parent/Guardian Requests IPRC in writing to Principal – regulatory right.

3. Principal responses in writing: acknowledgement, Parents Guide if 1st IPRC, approximate date of IPRC.

4. Parent views OSR (optional) and asks for copies of some information. – regulatory right.

5. Parent writes letter to school talking about intention to focus on evidence based Needs and programs and services. (Letter refers to regulatory rights)

6. Principal contact parent to give exact time and place for meeting

7. Parent indicates that a representative will accompany them to the IPRC to support and speak for them. (Letter refers to regulatory right)

Next Steps

• Looking at ASD and the IPRC in depth.

• An in depth examination of needs in terms of the IPRC.

• An in depth examination of programs and Services.

• The actual IPRC meeting.

• After the IPRC

• The people skills needed to move advocacy forward.

• Other advocacy issues.

Preparing for the Meeting – The internal process – the intellect

103. IPRC logic flow

Before the meeting occurs it is important to understand how the legislations sets out how the key parts of the IPRC connect to and build on other parts.

The IPRC can best be understand as a series of components that flow in a logical progression.

104. Strengths and Needs

Strengths and needs are important. It is in the list of strengths and needs that decisions around exceptionality, placement, and needed programs and services originate.

Let’s think about Emily.

105. Strengths

Emily is young and has not be formally assessed in terms of her academic ability through a test such as a psycho- educational assessment. However, the medical reports her as a “curious and little girl” and initial reports from school describe her as precocious in her use of oral language. This is soft evidence of:

-strong oral receptive and expressive communication

-working at grade expectations

106. Needs

Emily is visually impaired. The evidence of this, apart from the obvious fact that she is blind, is a medical report from the doctor qualified to make such a diagnosis.

A second need that flows from her visual impairment could be safety. Because of her visual impairment she’s in danger of injury.

A third possible need could be a lack of mobility within the environment. She is unable at present to move safely within the class and school

The needs list could look like this

• Visual impairment

• Safety concerns

• Inability to access curriculum

A committee might make the list even briefer.

• Vision

• Orientation

• Mobility

The wording can be varied as long as it describes the child’s needs with sufficient clarity that it clearly leads to the programs and services the child requires to be successful in school.

If the IPRC suggests further needs, there generally should be no concern as long as the key needs as you see it are present.

Be reasonably concise; it is common practice to generally limit needs to 10 or less..

107. Note: Needs within the context of the IPRC process refers to things inherent to the child and not things the child needs to learn. These are termed programs and services.

108. Note: Needs can be more strongly advocated for when they are a function of a diagnosis, specific exceptionality and or a disability. Emily’s needs are all related to her diagnosis and have been noted as such by a medical professional.

The Case of Madeline

109. Let’s leave Emily for a while and consider the case of Madeline. Madeline is also in grade one. She has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum disorder. Madeline is nonverbal and has no communication system in place. When she becomes over stimulated by stimulus she can engage in self injurious behaviours and can at times display aggression towards other children. She does not engage in turn taking, reciprocal play with others, cannot dress without assistance and wears a diaper.

The diagnosis letter references her lack of communication and lack of life skills appropriate for her age. A report from the community Early Intervention Team refers to her lack of adaptive life skills, the fact that she becomes overstimulated and her self injurious behaviour and aggression.

110. The needs statement could look like this. Like Emily, each of these needs is evidence-based.

• Receptive and expressive communication

• Sensory – overstimulated by verbal stimulus/movement

• Self injurious behaviours

• Infrequent aggression towards peers.

• Social skills – lack of reciprocal turn-taking

• Life skills – unable to dress self

• Life Skills – incontinent

As with Emily, it might be suggested that Madeline’s needs list be boiled down.

• Communication

• Sensory

• Self Regulation

• Social

• Adaptive

111. Be sure to advocate for needs statements that are of sufficient clarity that they adequately expressive your child’s needs and lead to a discussion about appropriate programs and services. There is a good argument to be made that IPRC needs are vague in the IPRC then narrowed in the IEP. However, they do need to be specific enough to have meaning. Be wary of terms like self regulation and adaptive. The words are fine but might require clarification.

112. Note: It is important to understand and to explain to others that Madeline’s needs are essentially no different than Emily’s needs in that they flow from her disability or diagnosis. There is a tendency to view needs in the case of ASD as apart from the ASD diagnosis and this must be actively and continuously resisted.

113. To the extent that Madeline’s situation is like Emily’s situation, educators are required to provide programs and services to meet her needs.

114. Needs can be identified by professionals within the educational community or by outside professionals. The validity and evidence of a need is stronger when the individual identifying it is within their professional competence to do so. A teacher might identify Emily’s lack of understanding of certain mathematical concepts. This could later be validated by a more formal assessment. Emily’s vision impairment, on the other hand, is identified by medical professionals.

115. ExceptionalIty

The evidence that generates the strengths and needs list often also forms the basis of the decision that a child has an exceptionality. For instance, the medical reports for Emily and Madeline provide the diagnosis that allows the IPRC to identify the children as visually and paired and having ASD respectively. The question of exceptionality can be complex and is not within the scope of this article. It should suffice to say the children with of ASD can and should be given an IPRC exceptionality of ASD. In the very rare situation where an IPRC refuses to identify a child with a medical diagnosis, a call for a Special Education Appeal Board after the IPRC (within 30 days) will likely to a future identification of ASD. It is suggested that a letter explaining your course of action be sent to appropriate staff (principal, supervisory staff.)

116. To Identify Or Not Identify…

117. Programs and Services

We have spoken about how IPRCs are compelled to entertain proposals from parents regarding programs and services if requested to do so by the parent. What exactly are programs and services within the context of the education in Ontario and what are the limits to what parents can effectively advocate for?

The Ontario Education Act defines special education programs and services in the following way.

Interpretation, other general matters

1 (1) In this Act and the regulations, except where otherwise provided in the Act or regulations,

“special education program” means, in respect of an exceptional pupil, an educational program that is based on and modified by the results of continuous assessment and evaluation and that includes a plan containing specific objectives and an outline of educational services that meets the needs of the exceptional pupil; (“programme d’enseignement à l’enfance en difficulté”)

“special education services” means facilities and resources, including support personnel and equipment, necessary for developing and implementing a special education program; (”services à l’enfance en difficulté“)

Education Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E.2

118. To summarize, the Act states, a Program

• assumes a student with an exceptionality

• is modified in an ongoing fashion by continuous assessment

• has specific objectives

• -includes the services the student will need.

119. A service refers to

• facilities

• resources

• support personal

• equipment

• needed to effectively provide programming for the student.

Note: It is helpful to conceptualize key programs and services as flowing from pivotal needs.

120. In the case of Emily, programs might include:

-her visual impairment might necessitate the use of Braille and/or specialized computer equipment/programs and/or support staff to read and scribe in order to allow her to access the curriculum.

-her safety needs might require support personnel to support her on an ongoing basis to ensure her safety

-her mobility Needs might require a mobility coach to teach her strategies to negate her environment.

-depending on the school board these programs and services might be administered in different ways and be expressed in varying language.

121. The Emily Test

Madeline’s needs are more complex and many children with ASD have needs that are

more much more complex and nuanced. However, it is essential to remain clear on the

basic concepts of meeting documented needs. As we consider the world of needs,

programs and services, keep this question in the front of your mind.

• is the need evidence based?

• Is the need a function of the child’s condition/diagnosis/disability?

• is the proposed program/service proposed a logical, action supported by professionals that meet the need.

• Is the provision of the program/services a “yes/no” question? The more black and white the question is and the less “shades of grey”, the stronger the request is.

122. Emily is visually impaired as diagnosed by a medical profession.

Her needs are clearly a function of her condition.

The proposed programs and services are clearly appropriate and supported by professions.

123. To the extent that the above conditions are met and the facts are similar to Emily, the advocacy efforts are sound, based on accepted practice and are likely to succeed.

124. Before we consider advocacy efforts with Madeline we will survey education sources to explore needs, programs and services with regard to ASD in Ontario.

We will look at a variety of resources to get an informed vision of what the educational community views as programs and services and what tribunals and courts ruled or asserted are potentially sound practices.

Toronto District School Board Special Education Plan, 2016

Effective Educational Practices for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2007

Ontario Special Education Tribunal

Ontario Human Right Tribunal

Supreme Court of Canada

125. Toronto District School Board Special Education Plan, 2016

Some key programs/services listed in the document:

• Behavioural Support Team, direct service, p. 13

• Assisted Technology Consultant, p. 13

• psychologist

• social worker

• counsellor p.13

• detailed standardized individual assessment, p17

• OT/PT assessment, p. 21

• Psychological Assessment, p.23

• Social Work Assessment, 24

• Speech/Language Assessment, 25

• educational assistant, special needs worker, p.28

• ASD team, p 29

• social skills training, p. 47

• ASD ABA charting

• -Applied Behavioural Analysis

• Targeted Instructional Programming, p. 48

• alternative programming, life skills, functional literacy, vocational skills, adaptive skills, personal care, p. 85

• ABA methods, p. 87

• -ASD related job descriptions 150-167

• Assisted Technology/Special Equipment Amount (SEA) p. 129

• Additional intensive staff support/Special Incidence Portion (SIP) p. 130

• administering oral medication, lifting and positioning, mobility assistance, feeding, toileting. P. 133

126. Effective Educational Practices for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2007

Needs

• impaired social interaction, p. 12

• insistence on routines, p. 15

• over-sensitivity to stimulus, p. 15

• difficulties transferring skills, p. 18

• list of impairment characteristics, p. 16

• sensory considerations, p. 48

• challenging behaviour, p.70

• limited range of interests, 106

• anxiety, p. 106

• motor coordination, p. 106

• home school communication templates, ABA material, 112-204

Programs/Services

• frequent and ongoing communication between home and school, p. 20

• structured learning environment/visual supports, p. 46

• assisted technology, p. 48

• OT, sensory considerations, p. 52

• ABA, PPM 140, p. 52

• Functional Behavioural Assessment, p. 72

127. Ontario Special Education Tribunal

Court and Tribunal decisions show us the extent of what programs and services can be expected of school boards in individual situations.

ONTARIO SPECIAL EDUCATION (ENGLISH) TRIBUNAL B E T W E E N: C. E. and T. E. Appellants -and- THE DRYDEN BOARD OF EDUCATION

• a student displaying significant aggression

Ordered Programs and Services

• full time educational assistant

• 7 hours a week/ home instruction teacher

• -program space to be created in board building for student

• supervised by principal

ONTARIO SPECIAL EDUCATION (ENGLISH) TRIBUNAL B E T W E E N: O. and O. Appellants -and- THE WENTWORTH COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

• a child with a hearing impairment

Ordered Programs and Services

• cueing aid(staff) 50% of day

• teacher of the deaf for 50% of day

• development of protocol to coordinate student activities between classroom teacher and teach of the deaf.

ONTARIO SPECIAL EDUCATION (ENGLISH) TRIBUNAL B E T W E E N: A. and B. Appellants -and- UPPER CANADA DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD Respondent

• A child with multiple exceptionalities.

Ordered Programs and Services

• a decision that the description of programs and services “as deemed appropriate” did have provide enough clarity for parent to accept placement.

ONTARIO SPECIAL EDUCATION (ENGLISH) TRIBUNAL B E T W E E N: I. Appellant -and- TORONTO DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD Respondent

Ordered Programs and Services

• .5 educational assistant

• intensive mathematics and language program to be taught by Special Education Teacher.

ONTARIO SPECIAL EDUCATION (ENGLISH) TRIBUNAL B E T W E E N: W. Appellant -and- LIMESTONE DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD Respondent

Ordered Programs and Services

• child with vision impairment

• provision is American Sign Language interpretation can be considered a program/service.

ONTARIO SPECIAL EDUCATION (ENGLISH) TRIBUNAL B E T W E E N: J. T. Appellant -and- PETERBOROUGH VICTORIA NORTHUMBERLAND AND CLARINGTON CATHOLIC DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD Respondent DECISION

Ordered Programs and Services

• Individual Education Plan with measurable goals

• school to work with Geneva Centre on program development

• increase of direct service – speech and language pathologist

ONTARIO SPECIAL EDUCATION (ENGLISH) TRIBUNAL B E T W E E N: C. Appellant -and- TORONTO DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD Respondent DECISION

Ordered Programs/Services

• social skills programming

• augmentative communication system

128. HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL OF ONTARIO___ B E T W E E N: L.B., as represented by his Litigation Guardian S.B. Applicant -and- Toronto District School Board Respondent

• The OHRT uses the word accommodations and the tribunal relates the word to Programs and services as follows: “appropriate accommodations in the form of special education programs and services.”

• defined the following as possible Programs and Services

• social work

• actively exploring treatment classes and provincial demonstration schools

• counselling

R.B. v. Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, 2013 HRTO 1436 (CanLII)

Ordered Programs and Services

• timely Behaviour Management Plan

• effective communication protocol between parents and school

• functional Behavioural Assessment

• full time EA

• direct speech and language therapy(30 mins a week)

• additional support from Special Education teacher during crisis.

129. Citation: Moore v. British Columbia (Education), 2012 SCC 61, [2012] 3 S.C.R. 360

• child with severe learning disability (dyslexia)

• defined accommodations as programs and services

• intensive remediation (one to one staff)

• early formal assessment

130. Analysis of Program and Services List

The list of potential programs and services is expansive and confusing.

To cut through the noise, Let’s go back to the Emily Test. The key is to keep the argument simple through developing answers to these simple question.

What is the need?

a) Is it related to a diagnosis/defined condition/disability under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Is this connection evidence based?

b) Is the need evidence based and/or readily apparent to those who know the child?

c) What program(s) and/or service(s) (sometimes called “support” in Board language, referred to as an “accommodation” in OHRC language.) would meet the need. Are the proposals evidence based?

d) Is the request for the program/service a yes/no situation. Advocacy in this area works best when the proposal for a program/service is a yes/no request.

131. Imagine you are having trouble getting your breath and can’t walk stairs. You visit your doctor. He sends you to a heart doctor. She tells you that you have a blocked artery that is starving your heart of blood.

a) Are your needs related to a diagnosis/condition? Yes

b) Are the needs evidence based and documented and/or apparent? Yes

c) Programs and Services that meet the need? Evidence?

The doctor tells you that you need a specific operation and there is a risk. Its up to you to decide whether to have the operation.

d) Is the service (the operation) a yes/no option? Yes

Advocacy is strongest when these conditions are met. It is important, however, to understand where advocacy efforts are less strong and more tenuous.

You have the right to request the operation from a doctor qualified to do the operation. However, few reasonable people would believe that you have the right to tell the surgeon how, when, where or how to do the operation. Those decisions are within the power of the competent doctor to make.

132. Applying this test to Madeline.

It works best to consider each need independently. Let’s look at the fact that Madeline is non-verbal.

What is the need? Non-Verbal

a) Is it related to a diagnosis/defined condition/disability under the Ontario Human Rights Code? Yes. Do you have evidence of this connection? Yes. The medical report lists it as a function of ASD.

b) Is the need evidence based and/or readily apparent to those who know the child? Yes

c) What program and/or service are proposed (sometimes called “support” in Board language, referred to as an “accommodation” in OHRC language.) and are the proposals evidence based? Visual Communication System, Use of an IPAD with specialized software, Involvement of ASD team, support from SLP, support of support staff. Training classroom teacher in use of visual supports. These proposals are from the medical report and the Speech/Language section of the Community Team Report.

d) Is the request for the program/service a yes/no situation.? Advocacy in this area works best when the proposal for a program/service is a yes/no request. Yes. The intervention/service/program are either in place or is not in place. No request for how, where, when and by you are be the programs and services is being requested.

133. Preparing for the Meeting – The internal process – the intellect

IPRC logic flow

Strengths and Needs

Strengths

Emily

-strong oral receptive and expressive communication

-working at grade expectations

Needs list could look like this….

• Visual impairment

• Safety concerns

• Inability to access curriculum

A committee might make the list even briefer.

• Vision

• Orientation

• Mobility

• Needs – strongly when function of a diagnosis, specific exceptionality and or disability.

• Evidence Based

134. The Case of Madeline

• grade one.

• diagnosis of Autism Spectrum disorder.

• nonverbal

• when over stimulated by stimulus she can engage in self injurious behaviours

• some aggression towards other children.

• No turn taking, reciprocal play with others

• cannot dress without assistance

• wears a diaper.

• All of above is evidence – based; referenced by reports from professionals

135. The needs statement could look like this:

• Receptive and expressive communication

• Sensory – overstimulated by verbal stimulus/movement

• Self injurious behaviours

• Infrequent aggression towards peers.

• Social skills – lack of reciprocal turn-taking

• Life skills – unable to dress self

• Life Skills – incontinent

The list might get boiled down to something like this.

• Communication

• Sensory

• Self Regulation

• Social

• Adaptive

Insist on sufficient clarity that they adequately expressive your child’s needs

136. To the extent that Madeline’s situation is like Emily’s situation, educators are required to provide programs and services to meet the needs.

137. ExceptionalIty

• The evidence that generates the strengths and needs list often also forms the basis of the decision that a child has an exceptionality.

• Children with of ASD can and should be given an IPRC exceptionality of ASD

• To Identify Or Not Identify…

138. Programs and Services

IPRCs must consider proposals from parents regarding programs and services if requested to do so by the parent.

A Program

• assumes a student with an exceptionality

• is modified in an ongoing fashion by continuous assessment

• has specific objectives

• -includes the services the student will need.

A service refers to

• facilities

• resources

• support personal

• equipment

• needed to effectively provide programming for the student.

Emily – Programs/Services might include:

• Braille and/or specialized computer equipment/programs and/or support staff to read and scribe in order to allow her to access the curriculum.

• Support personnel to support her on an ongoing basis to ensure her safety

• Mobility coach to teach her strategies to negate her environment.

139. The Emily Test

As we consider the world of needs, programs and services, keep this question in the front of your mind.

• are the Needs evidence based?

• are the needs a function of the child’s condition/diagnosis/disability?

• is the proposed program/service proposed a logical, action supported by professionals that meet the needs.

140. To the extent that the above conditions are met and the facts are similar to Emily, the advocacy efforts are sound, based on accepted practice and are likely to succeed.

• Are there clear connections between evidence, needs and programs/services.?

• Is it self-evident and reasonable that programs/services are required

141. Possible programs and services.

Toronto District School Board Special Education Plan, 2016

• Behavioural Support Team

• Assisted Technology Consultant

• OT/PT assessment

• Psychological Assessment

• Speech/Language Assessment

• educational assistant, special needs worker

• ASD team

• social skills training

• Applied Behavioural Analysis

• Targeted Instructional Programming

• Alternative programming, life skills, functional literacy, vocational skills, adaptive skills, personal care

• Assisted Technology/Special Equipment Amount (SEA)

• Additional intensive staff support/Special Incidence Portion (SIP)

• administering oral medication, lifting and positioning, mobility assistance, feeding, toileting.

Effective Educational Practices for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2007

• frequent and ongoing communication between home and school.

• structured learning environment/visual supports.

• assisted technology.

• OT, sensory considerations

• ABA

• Functional Behavioural Assessment

142. Court and Tribunal decisions show us the extent of what programs and services can be expected of school boards in individual situations.

Ontario Special Education Tribunal

A student displaying significant aggression

• full time educational assistant

• 7 hours a week/ home instruction teacher

• -program space to be created in board building for student;

A child with a hearing impairment

• cueing aid(staff) 50% of day

• teacher of the deaf for 50% of day

A child with multiple exceptionalities.

• a decision that the description of programs and services “as deemed appropriate” did have provide enough clarity for parent to accept placement.

Other Ordered Programs and Services

• intensive mathematics and language program to be taught by Special Education Teacher.

• provision is American Sign Language interpretation can be considered a program/service.

• Individual Education Plan with measurable goals

• school to work with Geneva Centre on program development

• increase of direct service – speech and language pathologist

• social skills programming

• augmentative communication system

• The OHRT uses the word accommodations and the tribunal relates the word to Programs and services as follows: “appropriate accommodations in the form of special education programs and services.”

• defined the following as possible Programs and Services

• social work

• actively exploring treatment classes and provincial demonstration schools

• counselling

Ontario Human Rights Tribunal

• The OHRT uses the word accommodations and the tribunal relates the word to Programs and services as follows: “appropriate accommodations in the form of special education programs and services.”

• timely behaviour management plan

• effective communication protocol between parents and school

• functional behavioural assessment

• full time EA

• additional support from Special Education teacher during crisis.

• social work

• actively exploring treatment classes and provincial demonstration schools

• counselling

Supreme Court of Canada

• intensive remediation (one to one staff)

• early formal assessment

143. Analysis of Program and Services List

As we consider the world of needs, programs and services, keep this question in the front of your mind.

• are the Needs evidence based?

• are the needs a function of the child’s condition/diagnosis/disability?

• is the proposed program/service proposed a logical, action supported by professionals that meet the needs.

Let’s add this condition to the test.

• Is the request for the program/service a yes/no situation. Advocacy in this area works best when the proposal for a program/service is a yes/no request.

Imagine you are having trouble getting your breath and can’t walk stairs. You visit your doctor. He sends you to a heart doctor. She tells you that you have a blocked artery that is starving your heart of blood.

It is important, however, to understand where advocacy efforts are less strong and more tenuous.

You have the right to request the operation from a doctor qualified to do the operation. However, few reasonable people would believe that you have the right to tell the surgeon how, when, where or how to do the operation. Those decisions are within the power of the competent doctor to make.

144. Applying this test to Madeline.

It works best to consider each need independently. Let’s look at the fact that

Madeline is non-verbal.

What is the need? Non-Verbal

• Is it related to a diagnosis/defined condition/disability under the Ontario Human

• Rights Code? Yes. Do you have evidence of this connection? Yes. The medical report lists it as a function of ASD.

• Is the need evidence based and/or readily apparent to those who know the child? Yes

• What program and/or service are proposed (sometimes called “support” in Board language, referred to as an “accommodation” in OHRC language.) and are the proposals evidence based? Visual Communication System, Use of an IPAD with specialized software, Involvement of ASD team, support from SLP, support of support staff. Training classroom teacher in use of visual supports. These proposals are from the medical report and the Speech/Language section of the Community Team Report.

• Is the request for the program/service a yes/no situation.? Advocacy in this area works best when the proposal for a program/service is a yes/no request. Yes. The intervention/service/program are either in place or is not in place. No request for how, where, when and by you are be the programs and services is being requested.

.