Primary Special Needs (PSN)

Special Education Service Delivery Model in the OCDSB: A Guide for Parents Of Primary Students with Special Needs
Description
 
The OCDSB supports primary (grades 1 - 3) students with special needs in a variety of ways, including in a regular class environment or a specialized program environment. These students may have some of the following characteristics: reading skills at a pre-readiness level; delayed daily living skills; difficulties with self-regulation; difficulty making and keeping friends the same age; difficulty following rules and/or routines. The OCDSB Primary Special Needs specialized program classes are for those students in grades 1, 2, and 3, with special needs who, in addition to targeted Tier 1, 2, and 3 interventions, would still benefit from a specialized program setting.
 
 
Here Is What We Do To Support Primary Students with Special Needs (Tiered Intervention Approach)
 
There is no specific time requirement for each intervention; the length of time an intervention should be tried is dependent on the individual strengths and needs of the learner. Which interventions are tried also depend on the individual strengths and needs of the learner; there is no one-size that fits all.
 
School Based Support (Tiered Intervention) MAY include but not limited to:
· Classroom Teacher
· Learning Support Teacher
· Learning Resource Teacher
· Principal/Vice Principal
· Educational Assistant
· Early Childhood Educator
· ESL Teacher
· Multi-Disciplinary Team (Psychologist, Speech/Language Pathologist, Social Worker, etc.)
· Parent(s)/guardian(s)
 
Classroom based supports (Tier One Interventions) for primary students with Special Needs in the regular classroom MAY include but not limited to:
· Identification of strengths and needs
· Classroom observation and tracking
· Parent/guardian consultation/feedback
· Classroom assessments
· Differentiation of instruction, environment and/or assessment (e.g. ability grouping, visual supports, use of assistive technology)
 
School based supports (Tier Two Interventions) for primary students with Special Needs MAY include but not limited to:
· In-School Team Meeting Referral
· Targeted, precise specific instruction to adhere to need (e.g. small group instruction)
· Development of Individual Education Plan (IEP)
· Educational Assessment (e.g. WIAT III, DIAL-4)
· Specific differentiated supports in place for areas of strength and need (e.g. modify tasks based on ability, social skills building activities, use of assistive technology, visual schedules and cues)
· Continued parent/guardian consultation
· Consultation with other departments (i.e. Curriculum Services, Business and Learning Technologies, Facilities and Planning)
 
Other school based supports (Tier Three Interventions) for primary students with Special Needs MAY include but not limited to:
· Cognitive Assessment (e.g. WPPSI, WISC-IV/V)
· Counseling (social emotional support as needed)
· Continued development of IEP
· Parent/guardian consultation/feedback
· Multi-Disciplinary Meeting/ Updated action plan (e.g. SEA application; intensive school-based support strategies; specialized program class referral)
 
 
Specialized Program Class: Primary Special Needs
The Primary Special Needs specialized program class is for a student with overall significant delays in intellectual development, and who requires an intensive program to develop coping strategies to progress in all school related areas. The Primary Special Needs specialized program class provides opportunities for each student to develop their learning, communication, and social skills.
 
Specialized Program Classes Available
Grades 1 - 3
Class Sizes
Grades 1 – 3 - ten (10) students per class
 
Assessments, Documentation, and Student Profile for Referral
 
Cognitive Assessment: To ensure best practice, current psychological assessment (within the last 2 years) or verification from a psychologist/psychological associate that an assessment completed more than two years ago continues to be valid is required. The OCDSB will prioritize assessment, for students being considered for a referral to specialized program classes for the following school year, based on need by the multi-disciplinary team and parent consultation. We support this process internally.
Criteria:1) significantly below average in intellectual ability; 2) an assessment of adaptive functioning (e.g. communication skills, socialization skills, daily living and motor skills) which indicates significant lagging skills.
 
Educational Assessment: To ensure best practice, an educational assessment (within the last 12 months) is required. An educational assessments (e.g. Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, third edition (WIAT III)) may be included as part of a psychological report. An educational assessment may be completed at your child’s school.
Criteria: academic achievement (e.g. reading, writing, mathematics, etc.) significantly below age appropriate levels.
Academic Profile
The student experiences profound difficulty in learning and processing information. Intensive instructional support is required. All academic areas (reading, writing, mathematics, etc.) require curriculum modification and accommodations. An alternative program may have been developed to address the student’s non-curriculum needs. A current report card and current Individual Education Plan (IEP) are required in a referral.
Social/Behavioural Profile:
There may be social and/or behavioural factors that warrant being explained as part of a referral process. This information is helpful to provide a fulsome picture of the learner. These social/behavioural observations may be within the classroom and/or at home. These factors may indicate a need to develop self-regulation skills and/or flexibility (e.g. following rules and routines; staying on task; maturity, interpersonal skills). There are no specific social/behavioural characteristics needed in order to be referred to the Primary Needs specialized program class.
 
Additional Supporting Information
Additional information may be helpful to provide a fulsome picture of the student. This information may be relevant to the student’s needs and programming requirements. Additional supporting information may include an Occupational or Physiotherapy Assessment, a Social Work Assessment, an assessment by a Speech/Language pathologist and any other evidence that supports a referral.
 
Note: The progress of a student in a specialized program class will be monitored regularly and reviewed through the Individual, Placement, Review Committee (IPRC) process to ensure appropriate placement to support student learning needs.
 
Specialized Program Class Referral Process
 
Referral Process for the Primary Special Needs Specialized Program Class for OCDSB students
· Deadline for a referral to a Primary Special Needs specialized program classis determined by Learning Support Services. (usually the beginning of April)
· OCDSB referrals are coordinated through the multi-disciplinary team at your child’s school.
· All questions relating to this process can be directed to your child’s school.
· Referrals will be considered throughout the year (not only April) on a case by case basis. Once the primary special needs program committee has confirmed that the student meets criteria, if space is available an offer for placement may be made at that time.
Referral Process for the Primary Special Needs Specialized Program Class for non-OCDSB students
· Parent(s)/guardian(s) should discuss a possible referral with the principal at their OCDSB community school.
· Deadline for a referral to a Primary Special Needs specialized program class is determined by Learning Support Services, as above
· Please review OCDSB current criteria for our programs on the OCDSB website prior to requests for referral forms
· The referral documentation must be completed as a joint effort between parent(s)/guardian(s), OCDSB community school, and child’s current school
· Preference for placement is given to OCDSB students who meet criteria
· Referrals will be considered throughout the year (not only April) on a case by case basis. Once the Primary Special Needs committee has confirmed that the student meets criteria, if space is available, an offer for placement may be made at that time.
 
Other Information Regarding Referral Process
· The committee begins reviewing referrals in April for placement in the following academic year. Referrals are not considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Parent(s)/guardian(s) participate in this process, their input is required as part of a referral form.
· Those students who meet criteria will be placed dependent on availability and home address. All those who have met criteria and who have not been placed will remain on a wait list and will be placed throughout the year as spaces become available (wait lists do not carry over to the next academic year)
· Referrals may be submitted at any time throughout the year and will be reviewed by the Primary Special Needs committee upon their next meeting. At that time, if the student has met criteria, a placement may be offered, depending on availability
· Please note: further information about referrals can be provided through Learning Support Services (LSS) upon request
Final Note:
We support learners in a variety of ways within the OCDSB. We recognize that each learner has their individual strengths and needs and that what works for one may not work for another within a similar profile. We allow external referrals to the specialized program classes and welcome students within the Ottawa area to consider any OCDSB school as we endeavor to support our learners, both within the regular class program and within a specialized program class.
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