Making The Most Of School
Sources of Help for You and Your Child
#1 YOUR CHILD'S TEACHER
The teacher is the most important source of information and is directly responsible for your child's education from day to day. By comparing notes regularly, parents and teachers can offer each other valuable feedback. This information can lead to minor "course corrections" at home and at school and early identification of more significant problems.
What are some things that might prompt you and the teacher to reconsider your child's needs and abilities?
Whether you think that there is a learning problem, a problem between your child and another child, or a problem between your child and the teacher, talk to the teacher first.
You, your child, and the classroom teacher all have direct access to the help of the student services teacher and the principal; they are usually able to provide consultation or direct support.
#2 THE SCHOOL TEAM
If the steps that you and the teacher have taken do not seem to be solving the problem in a reasonable amount of time, you may request that the teacher schedule a meeting with the School Team. (The request should be in writing)
The School Team (see description of membership below) brings you together with the student services teacher, the principal, plus some others to help problem-solve. The School Team may recommend evaluation and testing to get some information about the problem or may develop methods for solving the problem.
At the end of a School Team meeting, be sure that there is a plan for a follow-up meeting. Making a plan of action is not enough: you want to know if progress is being made! Within 14 days of the team meeting, you should receive the recommendations in writing. Be reasonable about how quickly you expect changes to occur.
#3 Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC)
When your child has characteristics such as learning disabilities, giftedness, and hearing impairment, characteristics which require ongoing attention over a number of years, s/he may benefit from being identified formally as a child with special needs. This identification is accomplished by an IPRC (Identification, Placement, and Review Committee) which consists of principals, psychologists, and other experts who are not usually affiliated with your child's school, but are employees of the Board.
The task of the IPRC is to discuss with you the needs of your child and how and in what setting those needs might be best met. To ensure continuity and accountability, a plan of action must be devised and regularly reviewed for a child with special needs. To initiate the identification process, make a written request to the principal for your child to be considered by an IPRC. (See also our information on the Parent Guide to IPRCs (84KB PDF).)
WHO IS ON THE SCHOOL TEAM?
Always included are
Included with your consent are the
If referral or evaluation through any of these experts would be helpful, your permission will be sought; the results will be shared with you.
COMMUNITY RESOURCES AND ADVOCACY GROUPS
Learning more about your child's particular needs is an excellent step in helping your child. Many advocacy groups can provide you with information as well as moral support. Chances are that someone has had a problem similar to yours before! The following is a partial listing of places where you could get help:
Library Information Services can give you the contact person for these groups or may be able to suggest a group that may better fit your needs.
For more information about the IPRC and exceptionalities, refer to "Parent Guide to Special Education (48KB PDF)" and "Parent Guide to Identification Placement and Review (84KB PDF)" which you can obtain at your school.
This information was developed by the Peel Chapter of the Association of Bright Children, based on resources from the London-Middlesex Chapter of ABC. It may be copied in its entirety, or modified for your locale. Please give credit to ABC when doing so.
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