All students require support from teachers, classmates, family, and friends in order to thrive and to gain full benefit from their school experience. Some students have special needs that require supports beyond those ordinarily received in the school setting. In Ontario, students who have behavioural, communicational, intellectual, physical or multiple exceptionalities, may have educational needs that cannot be met through regular instructional and assessment practices. These needs may be met through accommodations, and/or an educational program that is modified above or below the age-appropriate grade level expectations for a particular subject or course. Such students may be formally identified as exceptional pupils.
School boards must develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for every identified student. School boards also have the discretion to develop an IEP for students who have not been formally identified as exceptional. An IEP is a written plan describing the special education program and/or services required by a particular student, based on a thorough assessment of the student’s strengths and needs that affect the student’s ability to learn and demonstrate learning. A student’s IEP must typically have a direct progress reporting link to the Provincial Report Card.
In some cases, a student’s program will include expectations derived from an alternative program (such as social skills, communication, and behaviour management). Alternative programs are intended to supplement, not replace, the student’s access to the provincial curriculum.
If a parent believes their child will benefit from an IEP and the school board does not agree, the parent has the right to request that an IPRC meet to determine if their child is an exceptional student. All exceptional students must have an IEP.
Special Education – Ministry of Education
Special Education Advisory Committee