Special Education Programs and Services
Children develop and learn at different rates. Some have difficulty learning to read and write and need the assistance of a special education program. Others learn more easily and require program extensions or more challenging curriculum. The
Peel District School Board offers a range of special education programs and services designed to meet a wide range of needs.
Students who receive special education support
students with autism/pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) - a disability that affects verbal and non-verbal communication, social interaction, and leisure or play activities
students with developmental disabilities - significant delays in the rate of learning, the development of social interactions and the acquisition of life skills
students with emotional and behaviour challenges - difficulty developing and keeping relationships with other students and adults, and with social skills, personal adjustment, self-care and general classroom behaviour
gifted students - an unusually advanced degree of general intellectual ability that requires differentiated learning experiences, beyond those normally provided in the regular school program, to satisfy their educational potential
students with physical disabilities - hearing and vision impairment, significant medical conditions and head injuries, etc.
students with learning disabilities - a disorder that involves one or more of the processes needed to use spoken or written language, and that may interfere with the learning of academic and social skills
students with syndromes - such as fetal alcohol, Williams, Fragile X and Prader Willi
Identifying special education needs
As a parent, you know your child best. For example, you know if your child began to read at an early age or had difficulty learning to talk. Your experiences and observations provide valuable insight for school staff.
Your school has a group of professionals dedicated to creating the best possible learning environment for your child. Your child's teacher is constantly assessing the needs of each student. Special education teachers in each school help classroom teachers meet the diverse learning needs of their students.
Every school has an in-school review committee (ISRC) that meets regularly to assess and monitor students' learning needs. The ISRC can work with your child's teacher to develop a specialized program for your child. If the ISRC feels your child needs more support, it will recommend that the principal refer your child to an
identification, placement and review committee (IPRC). You can also ask your principal to refer your child to an IPRC.
Ministry of Education requires every student who has been identified by an IPRC as exceptional have an
individual education plan (IEP). A student who requires special education programs or services to be successful in school, but who has not been identified as exceptional, may also have an IEP.
Delivery of special education programs and support
Across Ontario, there is a trend towards integrating special education students into regular classes. The Ministry of Education supports integration whenever possible, but requires school boards to maintain a range of special education placements.
Within the Peel board, more and more of our special education students remain in the regular classroom. This trend is consistent with our philosophy of providing service for students in their neighbourhood school whenever possible. We work with parents and children to tailor the learning program that is suited to each child through:
- the regular class, with specifically designed accommodations and modifications
- small group instruction within the regular classroom
- small group instruction in an alternate setting, such as a withdrawal class or special education contained class
- individual instruction in a regular class or alternate setting
Special education resources available to students
Every school has a resource team which may consist of a psycho-educational consultant, social worker, speech-language pathologist, resource teacher and department head, as well as special education teachers. Schools can also assist families by providing interpreters, including sign language interpreters.