Elementary and Secondary Education -- Supports and Services
Each province and territory in Canada is responsible for setting up and running their own school system; there is no federal department or national system of education. While education services are much the same across the country, there are some differences among provinces and territories.
For example, some provinces start students at age 5, whereas others start them at age 6. Most provinces start with kindergarten and continue to grades 1 through 12, except Quebec, whose residents stay in high school for an extra year (called CÉGEP).
The way each province has chosen to support school-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability is no different – it varies across the country.
Some provinces offer extra ‘per student’ funding to school districts for every student with unique needs being supported, whereas others provide blanket funding to meet the needs of all children within any given district. Some provinces require some form of an individualized education plan – though names for these vary widely across the country – whereas others simply encourage one.
These are just some examples of the different approaches to supporting education you see across Canada.
Due to the way school boards – or “school divisions”, as they’re called in some provinces/territories – are governed across the country, approaches can vary considerably even within a province/territory. The provincial or territorial ministry responsible for education will have overarching standards for how curriculum must be delivered, but individual districts may offer programming unique to the size, make-up and geography of their district, therefore creating further variance across a region.
This Toolkit offers a look at the way each province or territory provides support to school-aged children with ASD or intellectual disability.
The information included in this Toolkit has been pulled from publicly available government sources. As standard information, it may not necessarily be reflective of a particular family’s experience accessing services and supports in that school system.
A Word of Caution
It is important to note that resources presented in this Toolkit may have shifted from what is indicated; hence, you are strongly encouraged to check with school personnel in your local jurisdiction to ensure accuracy of information. We also acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic may have shifted school programming from what was planned/anticipated. Again, we urge those interested to check with specific school boards and jurisdictions to access current information.
School-aged children with ASD often require additional support and resources to transition into, adapt to, and succeed in the public school system. This page offers an overview of all available educational supports in British Columbia for students with ASD, along with how funding is offered through the school system.
The provincial government in British Columbia has committed to the following policy statement:
All students with special needs should have equitable access to learning opportunities for achievement, and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of their educational programs.
The BC Ministry of Education provides schools with supplemental funding for each student with ASD. For the 2020/21 year, public school districts will receive $20,400 in funding to provide individualized in-school intervention and services for each student with special needs. Thesefunding amounts change yearly (see link for updated data).
There are a variety of educational settings available in school districts around British Columbia. Each school district will have a different educational philosophy, size, and pool of available resources, meaning choices will vary considerably across the province. The following are common classroom types seen in BC:
- Students with ASD are placed in a “typical” classroom with their peers, and they are then provided with the appropriate supports to be educated in this environment.
- This is typically the first option considered for students with special needs, including ASD. In fact, the Ministry of Education’s Special Education Policy states that:
- A Board of Education must provide a student who has special needs with an educational program in a classroom where the student is integrated with other students who do not have special needs, unless the educational needs of the student with special needs or other students indicate that the educational program for the student with special needs should be provided otherwise.
- A Resource Room is a classroom within a neighborhood school that is specifically designed for students with special needs.
- Some schools will offer resource rooms as full-time classrooms for children with ASD, whereas other schools will have them as part-time options for students in integrated classrooms (above).
- According to the Ministry of Education, “Distributed Learning (DL) gives both rural and urban students in British Columbia improved access, more choice, and flexibility to learn outside classroom schedules. Distributed Learning occurs when you are learning at a distance from your teacher, whether you are at home, at school or at another learning facility.”(Government of BC)
- A certified teacher is responsible for the delivery and supervision of the educational program, although a parent may be a facilitator.
- You can find out more information about B.C.’s Distributed Learning programhere.
- Homeschooling is an alternative method of teaching offered outside B.C.’s educational system.
- Typically, a family member delivers the entire educational program to children at home. Homeschooling programs are not supervised by a B.C.-certified teacher, required to meet provincial standards, or inspected by the Ministry of Education.
- You can find out more information about B.C.’s homeschool programhere.
Independent or Private School:
- Operations of independent and private schools are governed by the Independent School Act.
- These schools are funded in various ways, in part by the Ministry of Education, but typically mainly from tuition fees paid by parents.
- Independent and private schools offer similar classroom settings to those offered in the public system (integrated, distributed, resource room, etc.)
- There are a number of private schools across the province that are specifically designed for students with developmental disabilities (like ASD), but they have tuition fees for entrance.
Individualized Education Plan
An Individualized Education Plan – commonly known in B.C. as an ‘IEP’ – is a documented plan developed for a student with special needs, including ASD/ID, that describes the individualized goals, adaptations, modifications and unique services required by a particular student to succeed in the education system. IEPs also include measures for tracking achievement.
IEPs are not legal documents. They are instead a tool used to support effective planning for a student with special needs, so they and their loved ones can ensure positive delivery of an educational program.
A student’s IEP will take their individual needs and goals into account. The BC Ministry of Education states that the IEP of a student with ASD will typically address:
- socially adaptive behaviours and social responsiveness;
- motor development;
- communicative competence; and
- academic performance.
IEPs will also identify additional services that a student requires which are beyond the regular program provided by the school. This may include provision of social skills instruction and coaching, language therapy, counselling, or behavioural coaching. School personnel are instructed to work cooperatively with other agency staff or service providers to create an environment that is as integrated as possible.
Procedures and timelines for reviewing intended instructional outcomes should be clearly noted in each student's IEP. The IEP must be reviewed at least once a year.
What is a parent’s role in the IEP process?
Many parents will anecdotally note that their involvement with their child’s IEP development process has consisted of being handed a completed plan by the teacher responsible. However, ideally, parents are working collaboratively alongside the school personnel to develop an IEP that properly addresses the student’s needs.
While the student’s ‘case manager’ – a teacher, but not always the student’s classroom teacher – develops and implements the IEP, the school principal ultimately bears the responsibility of the IEP’s implementation.
Parents always have a right to be consulted in the plan’s development. In fact, the Ministry of Educations Special Education policy states that “A Board of Education must offer the parent of the student, and where appropriate, the student the opportunity to be consulted about the student’s educational program, when requested to do so.”
As noted above, the parties involved in the IEP development process differ from situation to situation. Often times the administrator in charge will invite a child’s entire ‘school-based team’ to participate in the process.
This team, according to the BC Ministry of Education, can consist of the following people:
- Classroom teacher(s)
- School administrator
- Parents or legal guardians
- The student (discretionary)
- Other school-based personnel (i.e. teacher/education assistant)
- District support staff
- Outside personnel (therapists, consultants, etc.)
The inclusion of outside personnel, such as behaviour consultants or therapists, has been growing more and more in recent years. Parents often find this incredibly important, especially when such an individual is running a child’s home-based program.
POPARD is a Ministry of Education service that provides consultation, training and support services to all public and independent schools across British Columbia, with a primary focus on increasing the capacity of school district staff to support students with ASD.
The POPARD team will provide leadership in collaboration with educators who request support for children and youth with ASD. Collaboration will promote meaningful consultation with parents and community teams. POPARD will promote a wide range of evidence-based practice approaches that will facilitate inclusive educational programs in the least restrictive environment.
School-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often require additional support and resources to transition into, adapt to, and succeed in the school system. This page offers an overview of available educational supports in Alberta for students with ASD, along with how funding is offered through the school system.
Alberta’s Education Act establishes specific obligations for school boards as they relate to students who may be in need of specialized supports and services. School boards must provide a continuum of supports and services for students consistent with the principles of inclusive education.
Funding for K-12 education in Alberta is provided by the province’s Ministry of Education – known as ‘Alberta Education’ – primarily on a per student basis. Much like other provinces, the framework allocates funding to school authorities based on the location of the school authority and its schools and local population characteristics.
Schools are provided with a base amount per student, and additional funding is offered to schools for unique characteristics of their students, such as the number of English as a second language learners, the socio-economic status of the local population, or geographic location (i.e. Northern Allowance).
These ‘additional funding’ amounts are called grants, and there are 15 different ones, including the Specialized Learning Support grant which is for students with special needs.
Specialized Learning Support Grant
- The Specialized Learning Support Grant for K-12 students recognizes that every student is unique and develops the foundational competencies differently.
- This grant supports school boards in the provision of a continuum of supports and services to meet the learning needs of students within an inclusive learning environment.
- This grant is made up three allocations:
- Multi-Disciplinary Team: to support multi-disciplinary practice between teachers, educational assistants and other professionals in support of inclusive education.
- Jurisdiction Composition: to address inclusive learning needs that may vary between school jurisdictions.
- Mental Health Program: to support capacity in school authorities to offer mental health programming to improve educational outcomes of all students.
- The SLS Support Grant includes funding for kindergarten students.
- The allocation formulas are complicated and change regularly (often annually). The Interim Funding Manual (current as of March 2020), with detailed formulas, can be foundhere.
Individualized Program Plan/Instructional Support Plan
In Alberta, every student identified with special education needs must have an individualized program plan (IPP) and/or an instructional support plan (ISP). A school’s principal will assign teachers to coordinate, develop, implement, monitor and evaluate student IPPs/ISPs. The teacher involves parents and, when appropriate, other teachers and students in the IPP/ISP development process.
Alberta Education mandates the curriculums to be provided across school districts in the province. There areeight essential components for the education of students with ASD that are mandated by Alberta Education.
While Alberta Education mandates the inclusion of these eight components – which are outlined below – an important guiding principle is that students with ASD require programs that take into account their unique strengths, interests, developmental needs, personality and learning style.
As a result, the approach taken by the school will vary significantly from student to student, within these eight components.
8 Essential Components of Educational Programming for Students with ASD in Alberta
1. Meaningful Parent and Family Involvement
This component reaffirms a parent’s right to be involved, in a meaningful way, in their child’s education. Teachers and other members of a child’s ‘learning team’ will engage in ongoing, frequent communication with parents, offering them opportunities to contribute to program planning, development, implementation, and assessment.
2. Learning Team
This component directs schools to put together ‘learning teams’ who work together to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate programming and services for individual students.
The learning team includes the teacher, parent and administrator, and may also include the student, educational assistants, multidisciplinary consultants and other individuals with expertise in ASD. Opportunities are provided for regularly scheduled meetings and frequent communication among home, school and other supports.
Assessment is a key component of education programming for all students – but particularly those with unique needs, such as students with ASD. Assessments should identify a student’s strengths and needs, and they should result in the identification of educationally relevant goals, objectives and implementation strategies.
4. Coordinated Specialized Support Services
Appropriate programming for students with ASD provides access to support services as required. School jurisdictions coordinate available services to provide a comprehensive educational program.
Support services – like behaviour management, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language pathology – are encouraged, depending on the needs of the student and the availability of local resources.
5. Individualized Program Plan (IPP)
As noted above, an IPP is required for each student coded for special education needs. The IPP includes essential information for planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the student’s educational program. IPPs are working documents for learning teams to use throughout the year.
6. Knowledgeable Staff
Educational programming and services are designed around the assessed strengths and needs of the student with ASD. To provide appropriate programming, teaching staff require access to professional development and specialists in the delivery of educational programming for students with ASD in school settings.
7. ASD-Focused Educational Programming
Educational programming for students with ASD should include the following:
a) Meaningful Social Inclusion – depending on the student, this can vary from full participation in all classroom activities to the targeting of specific activities.
b) Comprehensive Curriculum and Appropriate Instructional Strategies.
8. Planning for Transition
Transition planning is an ongoing process that requires the learning team to plan for immediate (day-to-day), intermediate (year-to-year) and long-term transitions (elementary to junior high, junior high to high school, high school to post-school placement). Flexible transition plans should be developed at the beginning of the school year and included on the student’s IPP.
In Alberta, home education programs are available for parents or guardians to make all education decisions for a student in Grades 1 to 12. Parents or guardians choose curriculum resources and methodology consistent with their beliefs and consistent with the Home Education Regulation.
Two home education programs are available for parents or guardians to choose from:
- Supervised by school authority (funded)
- A home education program supervised by a public, separate or francophone school board or accredited funded private school. Eligible for funding from Alberta Education.
- Not supervised by school authority (notification only, non-funded)
- A home education program not supervised by a school board or accredited funded private school. Not eligible for funding from Alberta Education.
Modified programming designed for the needs of students with special education is available in Alberta private schools to enable and enhance their learning. The programming and services are provided by certificated staff, and an Individualized Program Plan (IPP) is developed to address the student’s special education needs.
Online learning is a structured learning program that facilitates personalized learning and provides a flexible option where students can engage with Alberta certified teachers in one or more online courses. Families are encouraged to discuss with their school about available options most suitable to them.
School-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often require additional support and resources to transition into, adapt to, and succeed in the public school system. This page offers an overview of all available educational supports in Saskatchewan for students with ASD, along with how funding is offered through the school system.
Saskatchewan’s Education Act mandates that all students have access to appropriate educational programs that optimize their individual strengths and address their individual needs to become lifelong learners.
In Saskatchewan, Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) education is a shared responsibility between the Ministry of Education, under the authority of the Minister of Education, and locally elected boards of education.
The elected local school boards have responsibility to manage and administer the K-12 school system in their school division, within the regulations and guidelines set out by the Ministry of Education.
There are 27 school divisions in Saskatchewan including:
Students with additional needs – such as ASD or intellectual disability – are supported in inclusive settings by a collaborative team that includes their parents, education professionals, and other individuals who help them reach their goals.
The Ministry of Education provides funding to each school division to develop programming for students requiring additional supports, including those with intensive needs. Supports are provided on a needs basis, and at different levels depending on the complexity of a student’s needs and on their age.
This review breaks down the different supports available to specific age groups: Pre-Kindergarten, Elementary and High School.
While approaches may vary by school division, all students – no matter their age – are recommended an Inclusion and Intervention Plan (IIP).
Inclusion and Intervention Plans (IIPs)
Students whose needs require a significant level of support may benefit from an IIP. Parents/guardians are encouraged to work with their school division team in order to ensure their child has the tools they need to succeed.
An IIP is a document developed and implemented by a collaborative team. The IIP focuses on priority outcomes based on the individual student’s strengths, interests and needs. It describes the supports and strategies the student requires, and the person(s) responsible for providing the supports. The student’s progress is monitored and the plan is adjusted as the student’s needs change.
An IIP is a flexible planning document that supports the learning needs of a student.
- is developed by a collaborative team;
- is adjusted for each child; and
- describes the supports and strategies needed to optimize learning in an inclusive setting.
Parents and guardians are members of the support team, and are encouraged to be involved in developing and reviewing the IIP for their child. Team members help the student understand and participate in the IIP process.
The IIP includes:
- student identification and background information;
- a summary of the student's strengths, interests, learning styles and learning needs;
- assessment information that identifies the student's strengths and needs;
- areas of focused development such as independence, communication, motor skills or academic achievement;
- measurable outcomes for the prioritized areas of development;
- strategies and resources to help the student successfully achieve his or her outcomes;
- team members who will implement strategies, supports, and interventions in the IIP;
- plans for assessment and a review of progress; and
- plans for both short- and long-term transitions.
Early Learning Intensive Support (ELIS):
The Early Learning Intensive Support Pilot is a program for young children (aged 3-4) who require intensive supports. The program provides additional spaces in a number of Pre-Kindergarten programs to provide opportunities for children to engage in inclusive learning with other children the same age. This funding allows for the hiring of additional educational assistants and to bring in specialized resources.
ELIS was first established in Saskatoon and Regina in 2018, and is now expanding to the communities of Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Swift Current and Yorkton. ELIS is accessible to children aged 3 and 4 who live in one of the communities, though waitlists are long, especially as the program becomes more popular.
Parents are advised to contact theirschool division for an application to Early Learning Intensive Supports.
Intensive Supports Funding
The Ministry of Education in Saskatchewan mandates schools to make every effort to provide a student with the supports they need in their neighborhood school. In these schools, students requiring assistance are supported by school-based resource teachers, as well as Special Education/Student Services personnel.
However, in some cases, children with ASD and intellectual disability require supports beyond those that can be provided in their neighborhood school. As such, the government provides school divisions with Intensive Supports funding to carry out these specialized programs.
It’s important to note that, as a needs-based model, not all school divisions in Saskatchewan offer the same Intensive Supports services.
How are students identified for Intensive Support funding?
Individual school teams and special education consultants work with families to obtain the necessary medical documentation, which meets Ministry of Education criteria. In order for a student to receive intensive supports, the school district must demonstrate the program and supports provided for each student, and document these through the student’s Personal Program Plan. A qualified special education teacher – along with professional support staff – is responsible for the student’s assessment, his or her program planning and program delivery. Educational Assistants may also become part of the support plan for the student.
What are some of the supports and services provided?
The Intensive Supports Team is comprised of professionals who work collaboratively to provide supports to staff, students, and families. The team consists of:
- Speech and Language Pathologists;
- Registered Psychologists;
- Occupational Therapists;
- A Behavioural Management Coach;
- School Social Workers; and,
- English as an Additional Language Teachers
The Intensive Supports Team works collaboratively with school teams and families to identify and implement interventions and supports that are aligned with student needs, and will contribute to continued student growth.
Student Support Services and Teachers
The following support services and teachers are available to elementary school students at many Saskatchewan schools, depending on the school division’s needs and specific policies.
- A Learning Support Coach – provides indirect support to targeted students through direct consultation with the classroom teacher.
- A Co-Teacher – co-plans and co-teaches with the classroom teacher in a classroom context.
- A Peer Collaborator – works together with the classroom teacher to solve a problem or develop a plan of support.
- A Supportive Teacher – provides direct instruction or support to an individual student or group of students.
- An Interventionist – works within school-wide models to provide support at multiple levels and across multiple settings.
Alternative Education Programs (AEPs)
In addition to regular programs, Saskatchewan high schools may offer Additional Education Programs (AEPs) for students who require a different approach than the typical education program offered in high school. AEPs are good options for students with conceptual limitations that impede functioning all or substantially all of the time.
A student will be considered for placement in an AEP after a comprehensive assessment process. This includes both a formal assessment (by a certified practitioner) and an informal assessment (discussion among school and division personnel and parents on student’s strengths, challenges, etc.).
Functional Integrated Programs (FIPs)
In addition to regular programs and AEPs, Saskatchewan high schools may offer Functional Integrated Programs (FIPs). FIPs are to be provided for students with significant, multiple or intellectual disabilities who require highly individualized programming in order to meet their needs. FIPs are for those students that require more support than the Regular Education Program and the AEP could provide.
Home-based Education Programs
The home-based education program in Saskatchewan provides parents or caregivers with the option to direct the program for their child, ensuring the program is age and ability appropriate. Parents or caregivers directing the home-based education program must submit a notice of intent and an education plan, while maintaining communication with the registering authority. Each local school division provides parents or caregivers with numerous supports including:
- Assessment for students with intensive needs
- Driver education
- Home-based learner assessments
- Distance-learning opportunities
- Access to learning resources
- Support for earning secondary credit
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Education currently has no reference to distance education or online learning. However, distance education or online learning may be available in your local school division. For more information, please contact your local school division.
Qualified Independent Schools
Independent schools in Saskatchewan may apply to become Qualified Independent Schools. Qualified Independent Schools receive funding based on the number of eligible school-aged students registered in the school. The Qualified Independent Schools are committed to the Goals of Education for Saskatchewan and provide approved programs and courses of study in accordance with the provincial curriculum.
Services Available in Saskatoon:
Saskatoon Public Schools offers an array ofspecial education programs to students with intensive needs, including programs specific to students with ASD and intellectual disability.
Placement in these programs is determined based on students’ individual needs and assessment criteria. Parents who are interested in learning more about the programs outlined below in Saskatoon are encouraged to call Saskatoon Public Schools’ Special Education Office at (306) 683-8332.
Autism Support Program (ASP)
ASP is a behavioural stabilization program with the goal of reintegration into the neighborhood school program. This program is available for children age 6-15 at select schools.
Secondary Autism Resource Program (ARP)
Secondary ARP is a secondary program for students diagnosed on the autism spectrum who are seeking a regular high school program, but require additional supports. This is offered for students in grades 9 – 12 at select schools.
Functional Life Skills Program (FLS)
The Functional Life Skills (FLS) Program is offered to students with a moderate intellectual disability. A Junior Program is available for students 6 to 10 years of age; an Intermediate Program for students 11 to 14 years of age; and a Senior Program for students 15 to 22 years of age. FLS Programs are available at select schools.
Functional Academics Program (FA)
Functional Academics (FA) Program is offered to students with mild intellectual disabilities, who also face behaviour challenges. A Junior Program is available for students 6 to 9 years of age; an Intermediate Program for students 10 to 12 years of age; and a Senior Program for students 12 to 14 years of age. FA is available at select schools.
Alternate Education Work Study Program (AWES)
The Alternate Education Work Study (AWES) Program is offered at the high school level. Students follow a 4 to 5-year Alternate Education Program. For those students who may benefit from additional programming, the Life Skills Work Study Transition Program operates in the Saskatoon Public Schools Education Centre (in downtown Saskatoon). Students may attend this program until they reach 22 years of age.
School-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often require additional support and resources to transition into, adapt to, and succeed in the public school system. This page offers an overview of all available educational supports in Manitoba for students with ASD, along with how funding is offered through the school system.
Manitoba’s Public Schools Act confirms that all students in the province are entitled to receive educational programming that fosters their participation in both the academic and social life of the school.
Funding and support for students with ASD in the public school system are administered through Manitoba’s Ministry of Education – known as ‘Manitoba Education’ – and through a unit called Student Services.
Student Services Unit:
Student Services are the staff and services provided by school divisions, community partners and agencies, Manitoba Education and the partner departments to meet the needs of students who have exceptional learning, social/emotional, behavioural, sensory, physical, cognitive/intellectual, communication, academic or special health-care needs, including ASD.
Each school division in Manitoba has a Student Services Administrator who coordinates the delivery of services and supports for students with special learning needs.
Funding for Special Education:
Much like other provinces, every school division is unique in how a continuum of supports is provided for students with ASD.
Each division is provided with funding from Manitoba Education, which publishes specific grant amounts every year in theFunding of Schools Booklet. There are base support grants, and then categorical grants on top of this which are provided to school divisions to support students with unique needs.
Schools supporting students with ASD are given extra grant funding to provide adequate resources and support. These amounts are different based on a students’ specific diagnosis. This process – including identifying those students that need extra support and filling out the associated funding paperwork – is handled by staff in a students’ school along with their Student Services Administrator (SSA).
Grants provided to school divisions to help reimburse costs when students with severe to profound ASD meet established funding criteria are called Level 2 and 3 Grants.
- Level 2 Support – $9,500 per student
Moderate Autism Spectrum Disorder - Level 2 support is provided directly to the school division to support a student who has a diagnosis of an ASD that is expressed in significant difficulties with social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and a narrow preoccupation with a fixed range of interests and activities. Secondarily, the student may have a significant cognitive disability or delays in adaptive skill development resulting in the need for assistance with activities of daily living during the school day. The student also demonstrates persistent patterns of behaviour that interfere with his/her ability to learn. The student requires student-specific programming, such as adaptation and/or modification beyond the usual education programming provided for students with moderate special needs for a major portion of the school day.
- Level 3 Support - $21,130 per student
Severe to Profound Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD3): The student has a diagnosis of an ASD that is expressed in severe and pervasive difficulties in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and a narrow range of interests, activities, and behaviours. In addition, the student has a significant cognitive disability with corresponding delays in adaptive skill development. Secondarily, the student may also experience severe difficulty with managing change in daily routines and activities, severe reactions to sensory stimuli, and a persistent pattern of behaviours that are dangerous to him/her self or others. The student requires student-specific programming (e.g. adaptation and/or modification or individualized programming) and intensive support throughout the school day.
In Manitoba schools, programming for students with ASD is done by a school-based support team. The Student Services Unit offers consultative support to these school teams who develop programming for students with ASD. Services may include student-specific recommendations and assistance with determining priority learning needs.
School-based student support teams vary in size and composition based on the needs of individual students. Teams may include:
- a principal and/or vice principal,
- resource teacher(s),
- classroom teacher(s),
- school clinicians, and
- others who have responsibility for students with special learning needs.
The student may also participate as a member of the team, as appropriate. The school student support team plans and monitors the development and implementation of an individual education plan (IEP), which can involve one or many aspects of the student's school life.
The school-based support team will conduct ‘student-specific planning’ and develop an IEP for each student with ASD in their school.
Student-specific planning is the process through which members of student support teams, including educators and parents, collaborate to meet the unique needs of individual students.
The purpose of student-specific planning is to help students attain the skills and knowledge that are the next logical step beyond their current levels of performance. Through the student-specific planning process the student support team works to identify a student's unique learning needs and to determine, implement, and evaluate appropriate educational interventions.
These interventions may range from short-term strategies applied in the classroom to comprehensive, individualized programming. The student-specific planning process is sufficiently broad-based to address, in a systematic way, a wide range of exceptional learning needs.
Individual Education Plan (IEP)
Individual education plans (IEPs) document the student-specific planning process.
IEPs are not legal documents; they function as planning, record-keeping, and communication tools. While school divisions may use different terms and acronyms to describe student-specific planning processes and written plans, IEP is a global term referring to a written document developed and implemented by a team, outlining a plan to address the unique learning needs of students.
Because a wide range of students with very different strengths and needs can be served through student-specific planning, each resulting IEP is specific to the student for whom it is designed. The format, length, and content of the IEP will reflect the needs of the student.
IEPs for students who require adaptations within regular programming can often be completed in one or two pages. A smaller number of students with more involved needs will require more detailed and comprehensive IEPs.
Homeschooling in Manitoba is available to parents or guardians. Parents or guardians must commit to all planning and preparation, including obtaining necessary resources and materials. Provincial funding is not available to families who choose to homeschool.
Distance learning in Manitoba responds to the unique needs of students and schools to support flexibility and increase educational opportunities for learners. Manitoba offers distance learning options for grades 9 to 12 as a method of accessing courses of study even when learners and instructors are in different physical locations.
Independent schools in Manitoba include Funded Independent Schools and Non-Funded Independent Schools. Funded Independent Schools must meet all provincial requirements, including implementing provincially mandated curriculum and hiring Manitoba certified teachers. Non-Funded Independent Schools are not required to meet these criteria.
- Funded Independent Schools may receive funding for students with special needs and have access to clinician support.
- Non-Funded Independent Schools may apply for financial support per student through the Curricular Materials Grant.
School-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often require additional support and resources to transition into, adapt and succeed in the public school system. This page provides an overview of available educational supports in Ontario for students with ASD, as well as parents of students with ASD.
Ontario’s Ministry of Education provides support for school boards to implement programs and services based on the needs of each student receiving special education programs and services.
The Ontario government is working to implement a new Autism Plan in 2021. In the meantime, the Ministry of Education’s current initiatives supporting students with ASD include:
- Policy and Program Memorandum (PPM) No. 140, Incorporating Methods of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) into Programs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Professionals with ABA expertise in every school board
- $15.2 million in funding toward Behaviour Expertise Amount (BEA) to support school boards in using ABA instructional methods
- ABA training requirements for school boards
- Geneva Centre for Autism training opportunities for nearly 2,200 educators across the province
- Thousands of teachers graduating from Ontario teacher education programs since 2017 receiving special education professional development
Entry into the Public School System
As part of a team, the school principal, teachers, other educators and relevant community personnel should work with parents and families to plan for their child's successful transition into school. The Ministry of Education resource Planning Entry to School provides more information to support successful entry to school.
Students with ASD may require special education programs and services. Special Education in Ontario: K-12 Policy and Resource Guide provides parents with information on the delivery of special education programs and services in Ontario publicly funded schools.
Exceptional students are identified as such by an Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC). Upon receiving a written request from a student's parent(s)/guardian(s), the principal of the school must refer the student to an IPRC. Through the IPRC process, students may be identified with an exceptionality, for example, with the exceptionality of Communication – Autism.
More information on the IPRC processcan be found in Special Education in Ontario Kindergarten to Grade 12 Policy and Resource Guide.
Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
Following the IPRC, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be developed by the school in consultation with the parent. School boards also have the discretion to develop an IEP for students who have not been identified as exceptional.
The IEP is a written plan describing the special education programs and/or services required by a particular student based on a thorough assessment of their strengths and needs that affect the student's ability to learn and to demonstrate learning.
The IEP will include Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) instructional methods to support students with ASD, as appropriate. Further information on the provision of ABA in schools is provided in the Ministry's Policy Program Memorandum 140 (PPM 140).
Teachers and other educators work to develop a student's IEP with input from parents and families, relevant school board personnel, and relevant community personnel (when parents and families have provided consent), including ABA instructional methods where appropriate. Parents and families have valuable information that they can share about their children. Boards will consult parents and families to ensure a student receives the best education possible.
A student's principal is responsible for their IEP, and signs the final plan to indicate his or her assurance that the plan is appropriate to the student's strengths and needs and that it meets ministry standards.
The IEP should be reviewed at least once every reporting period and updated as appropriate in view of the student's progress. Principals should ensure that relevant school board personnel and community personnel who have previously worked and/or are currently working with a student with ASD are invited to provide input and participate in the IEP process. Parents and families are also consulted on their children's IEP.
More information on IEPs and transition plans can be found in Special Education in Ontario Kindergarten to Grade 12 Policy and Resource Guide.
Where students have an IEP, schools develop a transition plan as well for that student. More information on planning for students with ASD can be found in the Ministry's PPM 140.
Connections for Students
If school-aged, Connections for Students can help students move from community-based services delivered through the Ontario Autism Program into school. The Connections for Students program is centred on multidisciplinary, student-specific and school based transition teams that are established approximately six months before a child prepares to leave intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) services delivered through the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) Autism Intervention Program (AIP) and starts or continues in publicly funded school.
The transition team includes parent(s)/guardian(s), School Support Program ASD Consultants, teacher(s), school principal or principal's designate and other relevant community or school board personnel who have previously worked and/or are currently working with a student with ASD.
The school-based transition team will work to align the goals of a student's Individual Service Plan with his or her school-based IEP, where appropriate. The transition team continues to support the student for at least six months after leaving the AIP and entering or continuing in school.
Ontario School Boards and Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)
Ontario educators are directed to use ABA instructional methods in programming for students with ASD, where appropriate.
The ministry provides funding to school boards to hire board level ABA-based professionals. This funding allows every school board in the province to hire at least one expert in ABA. School board ABA experts provide and coordinate training on ABA instructional methods and resources at the school board and school level, and provide support for educators.
The ministry provides funding to the Geneva Centre for Autism to offer online and in-person ABA-based training opportunities for educators across the province. The ministry also provides $3 million annually for school boards for training opportunities to build school board capacity in ABA.
Homeschooling & Distance Learning
The Ontario Ministry of Education offers the option of homeschooling for families with the supervision of a school board to ensure the child is receiving satisfactory instruction at home. Families may request access to resources, such as:
- Assessments and Tests Administered by the Education Quality and Accountability Office
- Courses Offered Through the Independent Learning Centre (ILC)
- Ministry of Education Curriculum Material
- Support Services Offered by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Although Ontario does not currently have any specific program for distance learning, the Ministry of Education has several resources to supplement learning. Please contact your local school board for more information.
In Ontario, private schools are independent of the Ministry of Education and operate as a business or non-profit organization, still according to the Education Act. Private schools are not mandated to implement special education provisions, such as the Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and do not receive financial support from the government. Please follow this link for a list of private schools.
If you have any questions regarding a school-aged child’s special education programs and services, you should first speak with the person most involved in the student's education: the classroom teacher or the special education (resource) teacher. In addition to talking to a teacher, parents may also wish to speak with their child’s principal who can help guide them to other school board resources.
School-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often require additional support and resources to transition into, adapt and succeed in the public school system. This page provides an overview of available educational supports in Quebec for students with ASD, as well as parents of students with ASD.
The Office des personnes handicapees du Quebec is a government agency that is responsible for informing, advising, assisting and representing people with disabilities, their family and their caregivers. The Office’s services cover all areas of the educational, occupational and social lives of people with disabilities, regardless of the type of impairment.
For service or assistance:
Office des personnes handicapees du Quebec
The Office published a helpful handbook for parents, entitled Guide to the Education of Your Child with a Disability. The guide was designed to support parents in the process of considering available education options for their child(ren) and guide them through their child(ren)’s educational pathway.
Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a document that serves to define a student’s strengths and needs, as well as describe the means that will be put in place to help the student in school. The information it contains shapes the interventions used with the student. It is a reference tool for parents and the school’s teaching and non-teaching staff. It is used in every school in Quebec with students with disabilities or learning or behavioural challenges.
The school principal, along with the help of the parents, the staff, and, when applicable, the student themselves, establishes an IEP adapted to the student’s needs. Parents may be invited to participate at one or several meetings concerning their child’s IEP.
A first meeting is typically held in September, with additional meetings held during the school year to review the objectives and means indicated in the plan.
Before the IEP meeting, it is important to be well prepared. The following should be completed before your first meeting:
- Prepare a file which contains the childcare service’s evaluation files, report cards, medical reports, your child’s diagnosis, and any other relevant information about your child.
- Develop a Portrait of Your Child, which will be useful when presenting your child and their special needs to school staff.
- Determine your expectations and convey these in your meeting.
Support for students with disabilities involves differentiation, pedagogical flexibility, adaptations or modification of anticipated outcomes in connection with Quebec Education Program requirements.
The end of schooling and the passage to adult life poses special challenges for young people with disabilities, however the transition can be much easier if plans are in place. This is the purpose of the school-to-active-life transition (TEVA) process.
This process is aimed at:
- Helping the young person define their life plans
- Enabling parents to think about the vision of their child’s future
- Fostering the social and vocational integration of the young person within the community.
Generally, at the age of 16, or when they begin work exposure programs if these are part of their educational pathway, students will be asked to identify their life plans and set goals to achieve them. Experience is reported to demonstrate advantages of commencing this process early. The school and community partners accompany these students in the process, and help them identify and achieve their goals.
To begin a TEVA process for a child, parents are encouraged to discuss it with the school administration.
Homeschooling in Quebec must follow all government regulations regarding the implementation and characteristics of the learning project, and the annual evaluation of the student’s progress. Parent-educators can request access to resources, such as textbooks, instructional material, certain complementary student services, and certain resources and necessary equipment free of charge.
There are nearly 270 private schools in Quebec, with 12 exclusively for students with disabilities or learning difficulties. Some private schools receive government subsidies, and there are opportunities to receive additional funding for special programs or educational services.
School-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often require additional support and resources to transition into, adapt and succeed in the public school system. This page provides an overview of educational supports in Nova Scotia for students with ASD, as well as parents of students with ASD.
Inclusive Education Policy
According to the policy document, guiding principle 4.2 of the policy reads “every student, including those with special needs, should receive full-day instruction every day, with flexibility based on the student’s individual strengths and challenges.”
In partnership with Autism Nova Scotia, an Autism Training program is training Education Assistants.
Current initiatives - Nova Scotia
Strategies for Teaching Based on Autism Research (STAR)
Programming is individualized to address the needs of students with ASD. Some specialized programming for students at elementary school includes STAR (Strategies for Teaching Based on Autism Research).
Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS)
Programming is individualized to address the needs of students with ASD. Some specialized programming offered at junior and senior high school includes PEERS (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills), a social skills program for older students with ASD.
Children with ASD receive support to transition into and out of the public-school system. School teams collaborate with families and preschool service providers to develop transition plans into school. Transition planning is also conducted to support students graduating from high school to develop a plan to take the next step in their lives.
Public school and transition supports
Children in the public-school system have access to ASD specialists, school psychologists, speech language pathologists, classroom/ resource/learning centre teachers, teacher assistants, student services coordinators and/or facilitators. School program planning teams develop and implement programs and services. An annual grant to school boards supports staff education in ASD.
The APSEA Autism in Education Partnership website offers research, and information to educators, families, and other service providers.
In addition to support provided within public schools, children with ASD receive support to transition into and out of the public school system.
The Tuition Support Program (TSP) gives eligible students an option to access specialized programming and services at one of three designated special education private schools. In 2018-19, students may receive up to a maximum of $8,500. Families may be eligible to apply for supplemental funding based on their income.
The TSP is available to students for three years, with a potential fourth additional year available, in cases where transition outcomes have been identified through the program planning process.
The TSP addresses the specific needs of students who have been diagnosed with one of the following disorders or disabilities:
- Learning Disability (as defined by the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada, 2002)
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
For more details on the application process, please visit the Tuition Support NS site.
The Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development offers families the option to homeschool their children. Parents have access to resources, such as curriculum guides and possible eligibility for speech-language services; however, there is no funding for homeschooling available.
Supported Online Study
Nova Scotia offers distance learning through the Supported Online Study, allowing students to complete a course at their own pace. The Supported Online Study is supported by Nova Scotia Public Schools, with certified Nova Scotia teachers marking course work – based on the Public Schools Program curriculum and resources from the Authorized Learning Resources list.
In Nova Scotia, private schools offer a comparable curriculum to public schools, but are not funded by the government. Nova Scotia also has Designated Special Education Private Schools (DESPS) available specialized in programming and services for students with special needs. For DESPS, the Tuition Support Program may partially cover tuition costs.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
School-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often require additional support and resources to transition into, adapt and succeed in the public school system. This page provides an overview of all available educational supports in Newfoundland and Labrador for students with ASD, as well as parents of students with ASD.
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is responsible for early childhood learning and development in the province. Funding and support for students in the public school system with ASD is administered through the Department.
The NL English School District follows an inclusive education philosophy, which is intended to enhance the development of value, respect and support for the learning and development of all students, as well as the relationships among all members of the school community.
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development defines inclusive education as a philosophy that promotes:
- the right of all students to attend school with their peers, and to receive appropriate and quality programming;
- a range of supports and services in the most appropriate setting (large group, small group, individualized)
- a welcoming school culture where all members of the school community feel they belong, achieve their potential, and contribute to the life of the school;
- an atmosphere which respects and values the participation of all members of the school community;
- a school community which celebrates diversity; and
- a safe and caring school environment.
Inclusive education does not refer to a specific classroom or placement setting within each school. That is a decision of a program planning team and the Administrator. Placement decisions, made by the program planning team, are based on the programming needs of the child. For some learning outcomes, a student’s optimal learning environment may be in the regular classroom, for others the student may require an alternate setting. Decisions related to the placement of a student are determined to be best made on an individual basis.
These tenets apply to all members of the school community regardless of economic status, gender, sexual orientation, racial or religious background, academic ability or other facet of diversity.
Please refer to the province’s Inclusive Education Pamphlet for further information.
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development uses the term exceptionality to identify patterns of strengths and needs common to groups of students. These strengths and needs may be: cognitive, emotional, behavioural, medical, social, and physical.
Students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder will meet the exceptionality Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders (please refer to Exceptionalities for further information).
A student with an exceptionality may require student support services to meet their learning potential. A student with an exceptionality may access a range of school-based services depending on his or her strengths and needs. These services are provided through the Service Delivery Team at the school.
Please refer to Important Information if Your Child has an Exceptionality, and Handbook for Parents of Children with Exceptionalities for further information.
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development offers a continuum of supports and services. As such, a program planning team will determine appropriate programming and required services to meet a child’s individual needs. A student’s individual program may include one or more of these programming options:
- Modified Prescribed Course
- Alternate Program
- Alternate Course
- Alternate (Functional) Curriculum
- School Guidance Counselor
- Educational Psychologist/Itinerant Assessor/Educational Assessment Specialist
- Speech-Language Pathologist
- Instructional Resource Teacher
- Other education professionals (such as Itinerants for Vision or Hearing Loss, etc.), as required.
- ensure required supports and programming are in place in the new environment
- students develop and realize both short-term and long-term goals
- students engage in action oriented planning
- students prepare for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Homeschooling is permitted by the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) when approved by the Director of Education. Parents who educate their child in a home environment must use provincially authorized curriculum or another recognized curriculum. Resources are available for parents if the homeschooling program is the provincially authorized curriculum. For more information, please contact your local school district.
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development delivers distance education through the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI). CDLI focuses on the oversight of technology integration for K-12 students, develops and delivers online teacher professional development and distance education programming for senior high school students.
Newfoundland and Labrador has four private schools. For more information, please contact the school directly.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
School-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often require additional support and resources to transition into, adapt and succeed in the public school system. The Prince Edward Island school system provides a variety of supports for individuals with autism including: consultants, resource teachers, specially designed curriculum, social supports, and individualized programs.
The Department of Education and Lifelong Learning develops and delivers programs and curriculum in English and French to Island children from birth to Grade 12.
The Department offers autism services to preschool and school-age children and youth in Prince Edward Island. Early Years Autism Specialists provide services to young children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders before entering school.
An integrated approach between professionals and the school boards ensures a smooth transition into the school system, where support continues with school-based Autism Consultants.
Planning begins six months before the child enters school to ease the transition from the preschool to the school environment.
Family information meetings, case conferences, assessment and orientation activities for the child all contribute to the transition process.
A school-based Autism Consultant will continue to monitor and assist during the child's school years.
Intensive Kindergarten Support (IKS)
When entering kindergarten, the child may need frequent and individualized instruction during this important first year of school.
If this is the case, an Early Years Autism Specialist can provide regular support for both the child and school staff. This Intensive Kindergarten Support (IKS) includes weekly or biweekly consult visits to assist the child’s teacher in individual programming, modifying curriculum, helping to address behavioural challenges, and participating in Individual Education Plan (IEP) development.
The child will continue to receive support and assistance from a school-based Autism Consultant in Grades 1 to 12, based on the child's assessed needs.
Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a written record that describes what a student can already do and what he or she needs to learn. It also lists the special conditions that a student will need by outlining support services and educational program adaptations and/or modifications.
The content of the individual education plan will address domains most relevant to the needs of the student. For some students, it will focus primarily on academic goals and objectives. For others, the individual plan may concentrate on life skills, such as personal care training and/or social skills. A number of students will require an individual plan which emphasizes goals and objectives addressing challenging behaviours.
Most IEP’s are written in the Fall to cover a school year and are considered a working document, reviewed throughout the year. The IEP is created collaboratively. Core members of the IEP team include: a school administrator, resource/special education teacher, classroom/subject teacher(s), parent(s), and student when appropriate.
Parents play a vital role in the education of their children and are invited to attend IEP meetings to participate in the planning process. The IEP planning process is strengthened by the continued involvement of parent(s) at all stages of planning, development, and implementation.
There are a number of circumstances under which students may be considered for individualized educational planning. Teachers and parents will generally follow a number of steps before initiating a formal referral for in-depth individualized planning. The exception to this is the students who arrive in school with previously identified conditions and/or syndromes, including ASD, and who will already have an individualized educational plan or immediately require one.
If a child has not yet received an ASD diagnosis and he or she has special educational needs that extend beyond the academic domain, the classroom/subject teacher, resource teacher and/or school counsellor and parent may decide that the student’s special educational needs indicate a referral to the school-based student services team.
A School-Based Student Services Team is an ongoing collaborative team that has a specific role to play as a problem-solving unit in assisting classroom teachers to develop and implement instructional and/or management strategies, and to coordinate support resources for students with special educational needs within the school.
Prior to meeting with the school-based student services team, the classroom/subject teacher, resource teacher and/or school counsellor will continue to plan, informally assess and make adjustments so that the curriculum is responsive to the student’s educational needs.
The initiation of a formal referral to the student services team may begin the process of determining whether the student will require an individual education plan. However, there are a number of steps that will need to be taken before a final decision is made.
At this point the school-based student services team is consulted regarding the next steps in the planning process.
- When the student services team determines that this course of action adequately addresses the student’s educational needs, further personalization will not be necessary.
- When the student services team determines that the course of action is not producing the desired outcomes, it may be necessary to develop an individualized education plan.
The outcome of the assessments, in combination with the student’s functioning level, will determine the degree of personalization that will be required to address the student’s special educational needs. For some students the team may determine that further interventions such as formalized assessments, contacts with specialists from outside agencies, and/or involvement of board-based expertise are necessary in the individualized planning process.
The unique educational needs of students place them on a particular point on the continuum of special education programs and services. Where students are on that continuum will dictate if the IEP is brief or more detailed and complex.
An IEP will be developed for students who require programs and services that are substantially different from most other students, and/or cannot meet the outcomes of regular curriculum, and/or require any educational assistant support.
Contact for more support:
Early Years Autism Coordinator
Early Childhood Development
Aubin Arsenault Building
3 Brighton Rd.
Charlottetown, PE C1A 8T6
Tel: (902) 368-4472
Fax: (902) 368-4622
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail)
The Prince Edward Island Department of Education and Lifelong Learning offer families the option of educate their children using a home education program. Parents have access to learning resources and can request to access provincial curriculum books with a $50 deposit.
Prince Edward Island has five private schools. For more information, please contact the school directly.
School-age Autism Funding
School-age children (until the day of graduation) with diagnosed ASD, who are enrolled in a public or private school, may be eligible for school-age autism funding.
School-age autism funding is available to help parents and designated community-based organizations offset the costs of hiring one-on-one tutors and aides in home and group settings. School-age autism funding may cover up to $6600 in tutor/aide services per year. Parents, or the designated organization, determine the number of hours and rate of pay.
The child must require the support of an adult to access community-based activities and/or tutoring outside of school hours.
The first step in applying for school-age autism funding is to identify a tutor or aide to work with one’s child and agree on a wage rate or identify an organization that will employ a tutor or aide. This step needs to be completed before completing and submitting an application.
Next, parents will complete an application for school-age autism funding, including information about the tutor/aide or the organization that will employ the tutor/aide and the wage rate. The application also requires documentation of this child’s diagnosis of ASD.
The completed application should be submitted to the Autism Funding Administrator.
If approved, the parent or the designated organization will receive an Autism Funding Agreement for review. Once signed, hours of service by the tutor or aide can begin.
Parents or the designated organization submit Time Tracking Logs (see the application) to the Autism Funding Coordinator to receive payment after the tutor or aide has provided support.
Payment is issued to the parent or the designated organization according to a Regular Schedule. The parent or the designated organization, then pay the tutor or aide.
Below are links to some additional resources provided by the Government of Prince Edward Island related to education and transition planning.
- Resource Guide for Parents of Children with Autism
- Elementary Transition Planning Resources
- Secondary Transition Planning Resource
- Educating Children about Autism in an Inclusive Classroom
School-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often require additional support and resources to transition into, adapt and succeed in the public school system. This page provides an overview of available educational supports in New Brunswick for students with ASD and their parents.
ASD & Behavioural Interventions
Online training modules on ASD and Behavioural Interventions initially designed for school professionals are being offered by the Government of New Brunswick to parents of school-aged children with ASD.
The core-concept modules provide parents with an initial training about the characteristics of ASD, the base of evidence, and theoretical interventions that support behavioural interventions and their implementation.
The modules give parents tools to better understand and participate in the school’s intervention, and equip them to continue to use these strategies in the home and community settings outside of school hours. These resources are aimed to positively impact children’s outcomes and their capacity to generalize skill acquisition.
For more information, contact:
Autism Learning Partnership
New Brunswick Depratment of Education and Early Childhood Development
Place 2000 Fredericton (NB) E3B 5H1
- Lynn Gaudet (Learning Specialist; Provincial Autism Training)
- Isabelle Cowan (Acting Director)
In New Brunswick, parents or guardians may home school their child, if “effective instruction” is provided. The New Brunswick Department of Education publishes curriculum documents, which parents or guardians can access. Parents or guardians can access provincial assessment programs to evaluate and record their child’s development. Please contact your local school district for more information.
New Brunswick provides distance learning opportunities through the New Brunswick Virtual Learning Centre (NBVLC). The NBVLC is currently offering online courses to high school students in the province. However, New Brunswick is looking to expand through the implementation of the e-Learning Strategy for Public Schools.
Autism Learning Partnership
The Autism Learning Partnership, a branch of the New Brunswick Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD), provides bilingual (French and English) evidence-based courses and resources based upon principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). These resources aim to teach behaviour by changing the environment so that a person can thrive in their family, social, school, and community life. The team, who oversees the development, implementation and management of the training program, is divided in three sections:
The Learning Specialists Team consists of a multidisciplinary team of psychologists, teachers and behaviour analysts. The team is responsible for managing the development, content design, revisions, coordination and facilitation of the online training. The team is also responsible for providing a range of online training and development workshops, as well as field coaching. Feedback from participants is frequently collected, which allows improvements in content and processes before offering external training.
School-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often require additional support and resources to transition into, adapt and succeed in the public school system. This page provides an overview of available educational supports in the Yukon for students with ASD.
The Government of Yukon provides individualized education programming to meet the learning needs of students. Their mandate states every effort is made to provide support so that all students can reach their goals.
School-aged children in the Yukon receive support through the Territory’s Department of Education. If a child has received a diagnosis of ASD before the age of 5 years, the Child Development Centre and the Department of Education will work closely together to help a smooth transition for the child into a school setting. This transition process is available for families and can include processes such as sharing reports or meeting with the school team. However, not all families choose to participate in the transition process.
Students with ASD or intellectual disability are provided with extra support in the classroom, which can include:
- speech and language development;
- hearing support;
- movement support; and
- academic, emotional, social or intellectual development.
Extra support for students in the Yukon is provided through a child’s school-based team.
The school-based team assesses a student’s learning needs based on observations of teacher or parents. The school-based team works with classroom teachers. They develop and put in place strategies to support student learning.
The school-based team includes:
- the student’s classroom teacher;
- the principal or vice-principal;
- a learning assistant teacher or other specialist teachers;
- a school counsellor;
- the parents;
- the student (where appropriate);
- consultants from the Department of Education (Student Services Team); and
- when needed, representatives from other community services.
The school-based team will create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all students requiring extra support, including those with ASD or intellectual disability.
Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
An IEP describes educational measures to meet the needs of the student. Some students need minor adjustments and minimum support. Others have more complex needs.
Children will receive an Individual Education Plan (IEP) to identify accommodations and special education services needed to assist them achieve their learning expectations. Depending on needs identified in the IEP, a student may be independent in a classroom setting or may require extra support.
It is possible that an Education Assistant (EA) will be assigned to work with the teacher to deliver a child’s educational program. Receiving extra support in the classroom is not an automatic process.
Parents should discuss the possibility of accommodation and support for their child in the classroom with their child’s teacher.
Other Supports – Student Support Services
If a student requires extra support beyond the classroom it is possible for them to receive appointments with professionals within the Department of Education. This is done through a team calledStudent Support Services.
The Student Support Services staff and itinerant teachers work with school-based personnel to provide collaborative, multi-disciplinary support to students, school personnel, families and communities throughout the Territory. Their team is made up of speech language pathologists, occupational and physiotherapists, and educational psychologists.
These appointments may help provide program recommendations for teachers, and information about ASD for parents.
Supports provided by Student Support Services to schools include:
- consulting with teachers and parents regarding student program development, intervention and evaluation;
- providing classroom observations;
- being part of the School Based Team as requested;
- participating on learning plan teams for students with special educational needs;
- assessing individual students to assist educational programming and intervention;
- providing oral feedback to the student, parents, teacher and the School Based Team followed by a written report;
- delivering professional development for school staff, parents and/or community.
The professionals named above are noted to not provide direct therapy to children in the school system. Rather, they offer recommendations to teachers and education assistants (EAs).
Below are links to some additional resources provided by the Government of Yukon related to education and transition planning.
Homeschooling & Distance or Distributed Learning
Yukon offers homeschooling and distance or distributed learning options for families through the Aurora Virtual School (AVS). The AVS programs meet all territorially mandated education requirements and are directed by Yukon-certified teachers. For homeschooling, AVS helps with setting up a home education program and creating program plans with access to educational resources. For distance learning, AVS provides online learning opportunities to students.
School-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often require additional support and resources to transition into, adapt and succeed in the public school system. This page provides an overview of available educational supports in the Northwest Territories for students with ASD.
Northwest Territories’ Education Act states that every student is entitled to have access to the education program in a regular instructional setting in a school in the community in which they live, and that an education body shall provide the support services needed to ensure that students have access to the education program.
In 2016, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment released a directive on inclusive education which directed education bodies with the following statement:
In accordance with this directive, education bodies must welcome students within a common learning environment in the community in which the student resides and provide support through School-Based Support Teams to enable teachers to meet the diverse needs of students, including those who experience significant barriers to learning.
The Northwest Territories’ education mandate is carried out by the Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE).
Individualized Education Program/Plan (IEP):
An individualized Education Program is a student-specific program outlined in an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This plan is a comprehensive written education plan with annual student outcomes and shorter-term objectives, determined through a collaborative process, driven by the strengths and needs of the student. It may or may not include learning outcomes articulated in NWT curricula.
A student with an IEP usually requires supports, accommodations, facilities, resources and/or equipment required beyond those required by his/her peers.
It is the responsibility of education bodies to support the development, implementation and monitoring of a student’s IEP, and principals are directed to:
- Ensure that the identification of student strengths and challenges includes such things as information on interests and aspirations, readiness to learn, learning preferences, and other relevant factors.
- Ensure parents and students, when appropriate, have the opportunity for meaningful involvement in planning, problem solving and decision-making related to a student’s learning goals and instructional strategies and necessary supports to achieve them.
School-based Support Team (SBST):
A team, co-led by the school administrator and Program Support Teacher(s), provides support to classroom teachers with instructional issues, strategy development and problem-solving. The team coordinates the utilization of school personnel and other resources to support teachers and students. The school-based team may seek the assistance of other professionals or community supports, as appropriate.
The membership of the SBST can include:
- School Principal and/or Vice Principal
- Program Support Teacher(s)
- School-based staff including Counsellors, Guidance Staff and others;
- Classroom Teachers
- Support Assistants
- Regional Inclusive Schooling Coordinator
- Members of the Inclusive Schooling Territorial Support team
Membership of a student’s SBST will vary depending on the size of the school and the number of staff members.
Education bodies receive conditional funding for the following types of Specialized Inclusive Schooling Staff. Education Bodies are responsible for implementation and management of these staff.
Program Support Teacher (PST)
The PST is an experienced and skilled teacher who provides direct collaborative support to classroom teachers as they develop and use instructional strategies to meet the needs of students.
- Focus on developing and supporting the implementation of instructional strategies; problem-solving; coaching; mentoring; co-teaching; and modelling promising practices.
- Spend a minimum of 60% of their time engaged in activities that directly support classroom teachers.
- Do not spend more than 25% of their time working directly with students.
- Work closely with the school principal to operate the SBST.
- Provide school-based information and data to the Regional Inclusive Schooling Coordinator as required.
Support Assistant (SA)
Support Assistants (SAs) work in the school to support teachers in meeting the needs of students.
- Are assigned to support the teacher by the principal/School-based Support Team to meet identified student needs as described in the IEP.
- Work collaboratively with the classroom teacher to implement the IEP.
Some schools have additional staff members who play a role in supporting instruction. Their roles vary and depend on the mandate provided by the funding that makes the position possible. Some of the positions found in schools in the NWT include the following:
- Art Therapist
- Literacy Support Teachers/Coaches
- Numeracy Support Teachers/Coaches
- Other support staff.
These staff members provide support to the teacher or the student using appropriate strategies as a member of the SBST.
Regional Inclusive Schooling Coordinator (RISC)
Regional Inclusive Schooling Coordintators (RISCs) provide administrative and programming leadership at the regional level to support inclusive school-based staff (Program Support Teachers and Support Assistants) and classroom teachers in meeting the needs of students.
Specifically, the RISC:
- Works closely with the superintendent and/or comptroller to ensure the funding provided for inclusive schooling is effectively used and consistent with the Directive and associated guidelines established by the Department of Education (ECE).
- Liaises and collaborates with staff at ECE and with other RISCs to build a strong network to develop and support inclusive schooling practices in the NWT, with a specific focus on professional learning and capacity building initiatives.
- Work directly with school principals and PSTs to ensure that school staff are aware of, and use, effective inclusive schooling practices that support students.
- Ensure that required program reporting is completed on time and submitted to the Superintendent.
Other Integrated Supports
The Department of Education also offers integrated supports with the Northwest Territories’ Health and Social Services systems.
Some professionals may be involved with schools on a systemic basis and others on a case-by-case basis. ECE is committed to working with the Department of Health and Social Services to facilitate integration of education, health and social services delivery to support student success in the classroom.
This can include:
- Mental Health Counselling
- Occupational Therapy
- Physician Specialists (Paediatrics, Psychiatry)
- Primary Care Medical Services (physician, nurse practitioner or community health nurse)
- Social Work
- Speech-Language Pathology
For more information on inclusive education in the Northwest Territories, read the Guidelines for Inclusive Schooling: Supporting the NWT Ministerial Directive on Inclusive Schooling (2016)here.
Homeschooling is available to parents where parents have the primary responsibility for their children’s education. Parents must register with a local school district and be monitored by the principal or Superintendent designate to support to the homeschooling program and ensure the homeschooled student has access to an education program. For more information, please contact your local school district.
The Northern Distance Learning program is available to students in small community schools to engage with a teacher and students from around the North, providing opportunities to take courses that may not be offered at your local school. The Northern Distance Learning program is often combined with regular high school classes, providing students with a blended education approach.
Nunavut’s Education Act (2008) states that special needs students are entitled to have their education program adjusted to access the support they need to meet their learning needs.
The Government of Nunavut is currently considering a series of changes to the Education Act. Bill 25, An Act to Amend the Education Act and the Inuit Language Protection Act, was first introduced in Nunavut’s Legislative Assembly in June 2019.
As of March 2020, Bill 25 is at the committee stage, taking much longer than a typical government bill, to allow for proper consideration and examination by the appropriate standing committee. This Toolkit will cover the proposed changes included in Bill 25, which can be foundhere.
A classroom teacher is responsible for identifying students with special needs, and providing the supports they need or, in some cases, requesting further support from the school team.
Based on the Education Act, teachers are required to deliver differentiated instruction, meaning that they must adapt what is learned, how it is learned, or how learning is assessed, to meet each student’s needs. This applies for students with ASD or intellectual disability.
This is process is overseen by the District Education Authority (DEA), a locally-elected body made up of community members who are interested in education. DEAs work with Regional School Operations (RSO) staff, alongside school staff, to provide many of the same functions of a school board. Together, they are responsible for the administration of the school system in Nunavut. The Territorial Minister of Education is responsible for setting the over-arching curriculum and standards for DEAs to carry out.
Bill 25 proposes to provide school principals, instead of DEAs, with the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of inclusive education in their schools. This means approaches will vary across the territory, as the make-up DEAs will differ.
Furthermore, Bill 25 proposes to increase the duty of teachers to assess all students to determine if they need inclusive education adjustments. Currently, teachers are required to assess only those students who they believe may require additional services and supports. DEAs may provide teachers with additional information to assist them in their duty to assess students.
Bill 25 proposes to increase the reporting requirements for inclusive education by:
- Requiring principals to report quarterly to DEAs on the implementation of inclusive education in their schools; and,
- Requiring the Minister to report annually on inclusive education throughout the education system.
Individual Student Support Plan (ISSP)
Under the Education Act, diagnoses and supports, along with measurable goals and expected outcomes, are to be detailed in an individual student support plan (ISSP).
The school team – outlined below – is to develop an ISSP that provides for adjustments or support, if any, to which the student is entitled. Students’ parents are entitled to participate in the development and implementation of an ISSP for the student.
Bill 25 is proposing to make the development of the ISSP the sole responsibility of the main classroom/home room teacher. Currently, the development of ISSPs is a shared responsibility between members of the school team with no one person accountable for ensuring its development. Additionally, the main teacher, not the DEA, will be given the responsibility for reviewing ISSPs and assessing the progress of students with an ISSP.
Regular Classroom Setting
As outlined in the Education Act, every effort is made to teach students in regular instructional settings.
Under Bill 25, the Minister of Education will be provided with the final authority to exclude students from the regular classroom setting for inclusive education reasons. Currently, this responsibility is with principals.
The School Team
The support model used in Nunavut schools relies on a collaborative team approach to meeting the needs of students.
In order to support teachers, schools have been directed to establish a School Team, made up of the administration, the Student Support Teacher, the School Community Counsellor, and other staff or outside agency representatives, depending on the issues being addressed. Parents of the student should participate as well. It is the school team who shares the responsibility for the development, implementation and management of a student’s ISSP.
It is noted that the School Team needs to meet regularly and operate in a respectful way so that staff members feel safe in bringing challenges for discussion. A tone of optimism is identified, where no problem is deemed too great to find a solution. It may take only one meeting to address the issue; sometimes it may require several meetings to bring about resolution. This approach reflects the Iqualuit guiding principle of aajiqatigiingniq or the concept of consensus decision-making.
The School Team plays a critical role in the development of accommodation plans, and in provision of the supports needed to develop ISSPs.
Support Staff – Student Support Team
In general, schools are supported by inclusive education staff, specifically Student Support Teachers (SSTs), Student Support Assistants (SSAs) and School Community Counsellors (SCCs)/ Ilinniarvimmi Inuusilirijiit (IIs).
Student Support Teachers (SST)
There are approximately 45 Student Support Teachers (SST) in Nunavut. They support and facilitate educational programming in schools, act as instructional leaders, and help teachers plan, deliver, assess and evaluate education programs for each of their students.
Student Support Assistant (SSA)
As a member of the Student Support Team, the Student Support Assistant (SSA) assists in program adaptations or accommodations as planned with the teacher. Specific duties are assigned by the Principal in consultation with the designated SST to assist the student(s) in accessing educational programs in classrooms, the school, and the school community. The SSA will work with an individual student or small groups in an inclusive manner fostering the greatest degree of independence possible.
Key responsibilities for this position include: assisting with a student’s transportation, personal care and movement; providing interpretive help as required; assisting with planning and organizing; assisting in facilitating a communication link between the classroom, family, community and student.
Ilinniarvimmi Inuusilirijiit (School Community Counsellors)
Nunavut’s 42 ilinniarvimmi inuusilirijiit provide vital guidance to students advocating for and supporting those who are struggling with emotions and behaviors, and help them work through challenges and adversities.
Homeschooling in Nunavut is available for parents to access education for their children, where parents have primary responsibility with supervision from the District Education Authorities (DEAs). Parents may be reimbursed education program costs incurred by or on behalf of the homeschooled student, which is to be provided by the DEAs.
The Nunavut Department of Education currently does not have a distance learning program, but (at the time of writing, April 2021) is in the process of developing a delivery plan for distance education.