What Is Special Education?

What Is Special Education?

School boards view every child as unique and aim to provide an educational setting that nurtures this uniqueness and enables each student to maximize his/her intellectual, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual potential. School boards are committed to the principle that the most desirable placement for children is in a regular classroom with appropriate special education services. For those students whose needs cannot be met in a regular class setting, more intensive special education services are provided. School boards provide the following range of programs based on the student’s needs:

  • regular program
  • remedial program
  • resource support program
  • self-contained program

What Is A Special Education Program?

A special education program is defined in the Education Act (note linked here “The Education Act requires that school boards provide special education programs and services for their exceptional students.) as an educational program

  • that is based on and modified by the results of continuous assessment and evaluation
  • includes a plan called an Individual Education Plan (IEP) containing specific expectations and an outline of special education services that meet the needs of the exceptional student.

Who Is Identified As An Exceptional Student?

The Education Act defines an exceptional student as “a pupil whose behavioural, communicational, intellectual, physical or multiple exceptionalities are such that he or she is considered to need placement in a special education program…”. Students are identified according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education and Training. These categories and definitions are available upon request from the school administrator.

What Is An IPRC?

Regulation 181/98 of the Education Act requires that all school boards set up an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC). The IPRC will

  • decide whether or not a student should be identified as exceptional
  • identify the areas of the student’s exceptionality, according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities
  • determine an appropriate placement for the student
  • review the identification and placement at least once every school year.

What Is An IEP?

An Individual Education Plan or IEP must contain

  • specific educational expectations
  • an outline of special education services the student will receive that meet his or her needs
  • a statement about the methods by which the student’s progress will be reviewed
  • for students 14 years and older (except those identified as exceptional solely on the basis of giftedness), a plan for transition to appropriate post-secondary activities, such as work, further education, or community living.