Monday, January 23, 2012

Important Ontario IPRC/IEP Info

So the Ministry of Education in Ontario released this memo in December 2011.

The things that it states are really straightforward - many outside Special Education will read it and be left wondering - "This required a memo?" after all, of course ADHD and Tourette's and other disorder/conditions can have an impact on a child's learning. And if a child is experiencing challenges in the classroom we would move to put things in place to help that child - right?

Well, until this memo (and let's face it, long after this memo), many schools and school boards were denying kids IEP's (Individual Education Plans) - sighting that the child did not meet the criteria set out by the Ministry in the form of five categories (Behaviour, Communication, Intellectual, Physical, and Multiple).  They argue that ADHD, for example, does not fit into the above classifications and thus they were not obligated to provide special education services for a child only diagnosed with ADHD (the emphasis on "only" is a sarcastic one because if you have a child with ADHD you know what your child requires to learn and often times it is above and beyond what is in place for them).

But this memo changes that. Or at least it would seem.

I'm eager to see what the schools do in response as parents begin to bring forward this memo and ask that their child be accomodated for his or her unique learning needs. Of course I would suggest that families use this memo to start a collaborative dialogue rather than an "see, I TOLD YOU SO", "in your face" kind of situation.

For our youngest, nothing changes as the school has been AMAZING at putting things in place even though he only has an ADHD diagnosis (once again an attempt at sarcasm).

If this affects you I hope you will leave a comment. I'd love to know if you are able to use the memo to advocate for your child.


  1. Anonymous2:48 PM

    Hi. I don't live in Canada so I won't be affected by this new "memo", but I just wanted to say that my older son has not been diagnosed with anything. (I have my suspicions that he has ADHD). What I want to tell you though is that even though my son doesn't have an IEP, I have been able to speak to his teacher about accommodations for him and she was willing/eager to help. After all, it will make her life easier too and she actually seems to genuinely want what's best for him in the long run. The point being that even if the school doesn't officially recognize the need for special accommodations or just because there isn't an IEP in place, doesn't mean that parents shouldn't try to get their child things that would help them. Talking to teachers can help. (If you're lucky enough to have a good teacher). I hope that made sense or was helpful to someone. Thanks.

  2. lifeontheJtrain - thanks for leaving a comment. I agree with you that often a parent can have very good dialogue and working relationship with the teacher to make informal accomodations. However, there are also those times where you need to make sure that your child's needs are acknowledged and addressed in a more formal way. This new memo gives parents something to take to add to the discussions when their child's teacher and/or principal is telling them they will not accomodate for ADHD. As well here in Ontario we have what is called EQAO testing in Grade 3 and Grade 6 - for kids to have ANY accomodations they MUST be on an IEP and in my neck of the woods the public school board will NOT IEP a child if they haven't been formally identified through an IPRC (Identification Placement and Review Committee). That's probably as clear as mud, lol.