Getting extra help at school

At Light in the Attic Learning, our core philosophy is that each student is unique and, as such, can benefit from instruction tailored to his or her learning needs. With a one-to-one approach, it is possible to deliver this type of customized program however the realities of the public system do not often accommodate this approach. So what to do when you suspect your child requires special support? The Education Act requires that school boards provide, or purchase from another board, special education programs and services for their exceptional pupils. The catch phrase here is “exceptional pupils”. If you wish to seek out special support for your child, you will first need to get them identified as having an exceptionality.  This designation is only obtained through an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) meeting.

The IPRC is composed of at least three people – one of whom must be a principal or supervisory officer of the board. The role of the IPRC is to:

  • decide whether or not your child should be identified as exceptional;
  • identify the areas of your child’s exceptionality, according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education;
  • decide an appropriate placement for your child;
  • review the identification and placement at least once in each school year.

If the principal of your child’s school has not already referred your child to the IPRC, you can request an IPRC meeting for your child in writing. Email is fine.  Within 15 days of receiving your request the principal MUST provide you with a guide to special education and let you know when the IPRC will meet to discuss your child’s circumstances.  It is your right to attend the IPRC meeting regarding your child and we highly recommend you do so.  You are also able to bring any representative, including private therapists, family members or support workers.

At least 10 days in advance of the meeting, the chair of the IPRC will provide you with written notification of the meeting and an invitation to attend the meeting as an important partner in considering your child’s placement. This letter will notify you of the date, time, and place of the meeting, and it will ask you to indicate whether you will attend. Before the IPRC meeting occurs, you will receive a written copy of any information about your child that the chair of the IPRC has received. This may include the results of assessments or a summary of information.

At the IRPC meeting, the chair will introduce everyone. In addition to the principal, there may be other specialists such as social workers, psychologists or occupational therapists. The IPRC will review all available information about your child to consider. If you have any private assessments or reports, it would be prudent to share them with the IPRC team at this time.  This is a time for you to ask questions, learn your options and join the discussion.

Following the discussion, after all the information has been presented and considered, the committee will make its decision on whether your child can be designated as “exceptional. If you agree with the IPRC decision, you will be asked to indicate, by signing your name that you agree with the identification and placement decisions made by the IPRC. The statement of decision may be signed at the IPRC meeting or taken home and returned.

If the IPRC has identified your child as an exceptional pupil and you have agreed with the IPRC identification and placement decision, the board will promptly notify the principal of the school at which the special education program is to be provided of the need to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for your child.

Stay tuned for our next post, which will examine the wonderful world of Individual Education Plans and don’t forget that at Light in the Attic, we help parents navigate through the public education system to achieve the best possible outcomes for their kids.

For more information on navigating through the school system, feel to call David – 416-906-8533.

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