Special Education programs, services and supports offered by school boards address a range of special needs, including:
- Learning disabilities
- Intellectual disabilities
- Physical disabilities
- Developmental disabilities
- Visual impairment
- Speech and/or hearing impairment
- Behavioural difficulties
- Multiple exceptionalities
The first point of contact for families who are concerned about their child’s abilities is the child’s teacher and the principal at the child’s school. Together with the parents or guardian, they will determine the best ways to meet the child’s learning needs.
A student may be formally identified as “Exceptional” by an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC). This formal identification gives the child access to certain special education programs and/or services.
When newcomer families are registering their child for school for the first time, and they are aware that their child has a disability or other special need, the parents/guardian should notify the school and request an IPRC meeting. It is the responsibility of the child’s principal to provide translation/interpretation for the meeting, if necessary.
Some supports for children and youth with special needs are provided within the local school; programs with more intensive support are provided at locations with specialized instruction.
An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is developed for students who have been identified as “Exceptional”. An IEP is a written plan describing the special education program and/or services required by the student to achieve his/her learning expectations, as well as any modifications to the learning expectations for his/her particular grade level.
You can learn more about Special Education at the four school boards in Toronto here:
People for Education Tip Sheet on Special Education (available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Urdu)
Glossary of Terms Used in Special Education from Easter Seals Ontario
Information about Special Education in Ontario on the Ministry of Education website