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.
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.
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.
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.