** NFSB's Board Office will be closed from July 19 to July 30. We will reopen Monday, August 2. **

Students with Special Needs

All of our schools offer support for students with special needs through specialized classes, modified curriculum, learning resources and access to professional evaluation and guidance through our Complementary Services Department.
What do I do if my child is struggling in school and may have special needs?

You can set your child up for success by providing all relevant information (e.g. medical conditions, testing or evaluations done by outside professionals, significant changes in a family situation, etc.) to the school team. If you think your child is experiencing difficulty, the first step is to address the concern at the school level with the teachers, with the resource teacher who may be providing assistance, or with the principal. The school team is familiar with your child’s daily school experience. They are often the best resource to suggest specific types of intervention or follow-up with professionals, or if additional assessment of your child’s difficulties seems necessary.

What resources and services are available in schools?

Our schools have a range of services and supports that vary according to local needs. School-based services may include resource teachers, special education technicians and attendants, literacy initiative teachers, special education teachers in Learning Centres, and guidance staff. Professional services include speech and language therapists, psychologists, counselors in reeducation, a consultant for special needs, and other educational professionals. Support programs for students include Homework Assistance programs, mentoring programs, social skills programs, the use of adaptive technology, and many more. Your principal can provide you with information about the available supports in your child’s school.

How are children with special needs identified (coding)?
Quebec’s Ministry of Education defines students with special needs as both those with the challenges of Learning Difficulties (LD) or Behavioural Difficulties (BD), and those with more serious difficulties, such as physical, developmental, emotional, or cognitive disabilities, resulting in a Ministry special needs identification. All special needs identification requires an Ad Hoc meeting of the school team, an assessment confirming the student meets Ministry criteria, and parents’ consent. More serious disabilities often require testing by medical professionals. Special needs identification, or “coding,” can only take place when, along with a diagnosis, a student is not able to achieve minimal cycle competencies or has serious difficulty functioning in the classroom. Special needs identification may also occur when a child enters the school system and parents provide assessment reports indicating a significant disability such as autism, intellectual delay, etc., which will evidently interfere with the child’s learning.
When is an assessment by a professional required?

Not all children experiencing difficulty need a professional assessment. The progress of all students is continually monitored by classroom and/or resource teachers. These ongoing evaluations help determine a student’s individual progress and plan appropriate instruction. At times teachers may refer a student through an Ad Hoc meeting of the school team for assessment by a professional. Psychologists and speech therapists carry out psycho-educational consultations and assessments to determine the nature of a child’s difficulties and make recommendations to the family and teachers on how best to address the difficulties. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP), further assessment by a medical professional, or accessing outside services may be suggested. Parents are asked by the principal for signed consent before professional assessment takes place. When the assessment is complete, parents are invited to a meeting at the school, where the professional reviews the assessment results and the recommendations with all concerned.

Some of our lingo explained!
 
What is an “ad hoc” committee?
Ad hoc is a latin term meaning “to this”. An ad hoc committee ensures that cases are studied and that the progress of a student with a handicap, social maladjustment or learning disability is monitored. The committee is composed of a representative of the school administration, the teacher or teachers concerned and if requested by the committee, a professional such as a psychologist. Parents are invited to participate in the committee, attendance is not mandatory and will not affect it from carrying out its objectives.
 
What is an IEP?
All students with identified special needs have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This is a flexible working document which helps the school and parents plan for and monitor the student’s individual needs and progress. The IEP includes goals, strategies, individual progress, who is involved in implementing the IEP, and a record of communication with parents. Generally IEPs are developed in the first three months of the school year, but can be developed at any time. Parents are asked to sign to indicate their agreement with the plan and they are given a copy. Towards the end of the school year, teachers note a student’s progress on the goals and provide this information to parents. As per the Education Act, the administrator is responsible for ensuring there are IEPs for all students with special needs. However the development and implementation of the IEP is a team approach and involves teachers, parents, in some instances support staff and professionals, and the student where appropriate. 

Did you know that there is a committee for the parents of kids with special needs?

The Special Needs Advisory Committee is mandated by Quebec’s Education Act. We advise the School Board on policies, guidelines and funding that pertain to students with special needs. The Committee meets once a month – online using Microsoft Teams for now. Parents of special needs students are elected to the committee annually at the September meeting, but anyone can attend to learn a little about the services, supports and resources available for NFSB’s students with special needs.

This regional school provides services to students who meet the criteria set out by the Ministry of Education.

Day-to-day of the school is managed by the Centre de services scolaire des Grandes-Seigneuries. The following  information is a courtesy translation of information from their site.