Identification and Review of Students with Severe Disabilities Essay

Introduction

Oliver Smith is a five year old boy in kindergarden currently enrolled in a mainstream classroom at Springford Elementary School with the District School Board of Ontario. He was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in November, 2010.

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Oliver was a full-term baby delivered with no complications on October 31, 2008. Oliver’s mother reported that as a baby and toddler, he was healthy and his motor development was within normal limits for the major milestones of sitting, standing, and walking. As a young child, Oliver’s play was repetitive with seeming unawareness of others. He did not like to be touched by or to be close to other children.

Oliver has basic self-care skills (eating, dressing, hygiene). While Oliver will respond to the social overtures of others, he does not initiate any social interaction. Oliver exhibits stereotypic behaviors, specifically hand-flapping and pulling his hair. He is easily upset when not prepared for changes in routine/transitions. At this time, Oliver uses some picture communication

The purpose of this paper is to describe Oliver’s educational journey and depict his experiences through the Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) process.

Understanding the IPRC PROCESS

An Overview

The Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) is a committee that makes recommendations and decisions relating to the identification and the placement of exceptional students. Regulation 181/98 requires that all school boards set up IPRCs.

Referral to the IPRC

In February 2011, Mrs. Smith registered Oliver at Springford Public School. At the time of registration, she informed Springford’s secretary that Oliver was recently diagnosed with Autism. The secretary recommended speaking with the school’s principal, Mr. P. Mrs. Smith was introduced to Mr. P . Mr. P provided Mrs. Smith with a Special Education Package. The Special Education Package provided Mrs. Smith with information about the various special education programs available and community services for the District School Board. According to Section 14 of Regulation 181/98, Mr. P was not mandated to refer Oliver to the IPRC after being informed of his diagnosis of ASD.

Mrs. Smith learned more about Oliver’s diagnosis and with assistance from the Family Support Services for ASD at the Thames Valley Children’s Centre realized that she would be required to request an IPRC meeting in order for Oliver to be identified within the education system. In late February, Mrs. Smith provided Mr. P with a written letter requesting an IPRC meeting. After receiving the letter, Mr. P made a referral of Oliver Smith to the IPRC. Within 15 days of requesting the IPRC meeting, Mr. P provided Oliver’s parents with a copy of the IPRC Guide and a written statement informing Mrs. Smith that Oliver Smith had been referred for an IPRC meeting. Prior to the IPRC meeting, all relevant and needed assessments are required to be collected.

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Assessments

Since the first task of the IPRC is to determine whether a student is exceptional or not, any relevant and needed assessments should be initiated prior to convening the IPRC.

Medical and psychological Assessment

Section 15 (2) and (3) Regulation 181/98 state that, subject to the Health Care Consent Act, 1996, an IPRC may request a medical and/or psychological assessment if it considers such assessments are necessary to enable them to arrive at the right identification for the student in question.

Medical assessments are those carried out by medical practitioners, pediatricians, audiologists, speech pathologists, optometrists, etc. These assessments require written consent prior to completion.

In Oliver’s case, many medical assessments occurred prior to his education commencing. At 24 months, Oliver had had a vocabulary of 10- 15 words. His limited vocabulary concerned his mother who took him to a well-child checkup with her family doctor. Her doctor completed a general developmental screening on Oliver. This screening indicated developmental problems and Oliver was referred to a psychologist. The psychologist at the Children’s Hospital – London Health Science Centre conducted a psychological assessment on Oliver.

Psychological Assessments

Psychological assessments includes IQ tests, tests of cognitive function (how the brain processes incoming information and uses it), memory, fine and gross motor function, auditory and visual processing tests and may include tests and/or observations of the child’s social and emotional functioning.

After being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Oliver’s family was referred to the Thames Valley Children’s Centre (TVCC). The TVCC provided Oliver’s family various resources including family support, speech therapy, and intensive behaviour intervention (IBI).

Along with Oliver’s speech therapy & IBI, Oliver started to attend preschool two days a week – the January prior to starting junior kindergarten. In preschool, his teacher and his preschool resource teacher conducted informal assessments of Oliver – child developmental screenings, social, emotional and behavioural observations. Oliver also completed assessments from both a Speech Language Pathologist and Occupational Therapist while attending preschool.

Oliver’s future junior kindergarten teacher, Lead IBI therapist of the school board and Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT) of Springford Public school visited Oliver at both his preschool and home to conduct a diagnostic unstructured play session to help determine his program once he starts school in September.

The Resource Teacher at Springford School requests Mrs. Smith to obtain all medical assessments that Oliver has completed that will assist in determining Oliver’s strengths and needs as well as his diagnosis documentation. The Resource Teacher requests that Mrs. Smith have all documentation forwarded to Mr. P, the chairperson of Oliver’s IPRC meeting.

At this time, a case conference between TVCC and the District School Board is held to discuss and exchange information regarding Oliver’s current program and to determine his future needs of support. The actions agreed to are summarized in written form as per Subsection 15 (8) as soon as possible after the chair of the committee obtains any information relating to the pupil, the chair shall provide the information to,

1. a parent of the pupil; and

2. the pupil, where the pupil is 16 years of age or older.

A school level case conference for Oliver is arranged by Springford’s principal for early April. The following individuals are present: Superintendent of Special Education, Mr. P (Springford’s Principal), System Special Education Resource Teacher, Speech and Language Pathologist of the Board, Special Education Resource Teacher of Springford, IBI Program Lead of the Board, Oliver’s future junior kindergarten teacher, Preschool Director, Oliver’s current preschool teacher, Resource Teacher at TVCC, Speech Language Pathologist of TVCC, Occupational Therapist of TVCC, Family Support Coordinator TVCC and Oliver’s parents. This case conference determines appropriate resources and services required to address Oliver’s needs. In particular, it was identified that Oliver would require one-to-one support from an educational assistant as well as clarified the roles of the classroom teacher and special education resource teacher for Oliver’s needs. The case conference also recommended that Oliver still be seen by a speech pathologist and occupational therapist on a regular basis. A written summary of the recommendations for Oliver’s program is sent to the parents.

Educational Assessments

In September, Oliver started junior kindergarten. As the year progresses, the classroom teacher along with assistance from both the resource teacher and the educational assistant obtain observations of social behaviour, developmental evaluations, evaluations of adaptive or real life skills, examples of academic assignments, direct measurements of academic performance, and portfolio samples of classroom performance were collected.

Springford Public School Resource Teacher also performs an educational assessment on Oliver as per Section 15 (1), Regulation 181/98 to be considered at his IPRC meeting.

During this time, the in-school team support team, classroom teacher and educational assistant continuously document and test out strategies and accommodations to support Oliver’s needs. These strategies and accommodations developed a rough template of Oliver’s future individual education plan (IEP). A continuous effort between Oliver’s mom, educational assistant and classroom teacher maintained open communication about Oliver’s progress and needs in his early schooling months.

Section 5 (5) of Regulation 181/98 states that at least ten days in advance of the IPRC being convened, the chair of the IPRC will notify the parent and the student if 16 years of age or older at the time and place of the IPRC.

Approximately ten days prior to the IPRC meeting being held, Mrs. Smith received written notice of the meeting and an invitation to attend. The letter indicated the IPRC meeting was to be held on November 23, 2011 at 9:30 am at Springford Public School in the Meeting Room. The letter also requested that Mrs. Smith indicate if she could attend the meeting. Mrs. Smith completed the form and returned it back to the school. Shortly after, Mrs. Smith receives a copy of all information that the chair, Mr. P, has received for Oliver’s IPRC meeting.

Convening the IPRC

Section 11 of Regulation 181/98 states that the school board shall appoint three or more people to be the members of the IPRC. Among these members will be:

1. a school principal

2. a qualified supervisory officer, employed by the school board

3. other members are not specified in the Regulation

At the Oliver’s IPRC meeting on November 23, 2011, Mr. P, Springford’s

Principal, was the chair of the meeting. Karen Edgar, Superintendent of Special Education of the District School Board was appointed as the qualified supervisory officer. Also appointed for Oliver’s IPRC meeting was Ms. Cath (District School Board Lead Resource Teacher). The following individuals were also in attendance at Oliver Smith’s IPRC meeting: Mrs. Smith (Oliver’s mother), Mrs. Grey (Resource Teacher), Ms. Moyer (Junior Kindergarten Teacher), Mr. Fay(Educational Assistant), Mrs. Speech (District School Board Speech Language Pathologist), Mrs. Parent (Special Education Advisory Committee -Autism).

Mr. P adjourns the meeting and introduces all individuals and their roles within special education:

The School Principal

1. Carries out duties as outlined in the Education Act, regulations, and policy/program memoranda, and through Board policies

• Communicates Ministry of Education and school board expectations to staff

• Ensures that appropriately qualified staff are assigned to teach special education classes

• Communicates board policies and procedures about special education to staff, students, and parents/guardians

• Ensures that the identification and placement of exceptional pupils, through an IPRC, is done according to the procedures outlined in the Education Act, regulations, and board policies

• Consults with parents/guardians and with school board staff to determine the most appropriate program for exceptional pupils

• Ensures the development, implementation, and review of a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), including a Transition Plan for students over the age of 14 and who are not identified solely as gifted, according to provincial requirements

• Ensures that parents/guardians are consulted in the development of their child’s IEP and that they are provided with a copy of the IEP

• Ensures the delivery of the program as set out in the IEP

1. Ensures that appropriate assessments are requested, if necessary, and that parents/guardians consent is obtained

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC):

• Makes recommendations to the board with respect to any matter affecting the establishment, development, and delivery of special education programs and services for exceptional students of the Board

• Participates in the board’s annual review of its Special Education Report

• Participates in the board’s annual budget process as it relates to special education

• Reviews the financial statements of the board as they relate to special education

• Provides information to parents/guardians as requested

The Teacher:

• Carries out duties as outlined in the Education Act, regulations, and policy/program memoranda

• Follows board policies and procedures regarding special education

• Maintains up-to-date knowledge of special education practices

• Where appropriate, works with special education staff and parents/guardians to develop the IEP for an exceptional pupil

• Provides the program for the exceptional pupil in the regular class, as outlined in the IEP

• Communicates the student’s progress to parents/guardians, and works with other school board staff to review and update the student’s IEP

The Special Education Teacher:

• Fulfills the responsibilities listed above for the teacher

• Holds qualifications, in accordance with Regulation 298, to teach special education

• Monitors the student’s progress with reference to the IEP and modifies the program as necessary

• Assists in providing educational assessments for exceptional pupils

The Parents/Guardians:

• Become familiar with and informed about board policies and procedures in areas that affect the child

• Participate in IPRCs, parents/guardians teacher conferences, and other relevant school activities

• Participate in the development of the IEP

• Become acquainted with the school staff working with the student

• Support the student at home

• Work with the school principal and teachers to solve problems

1. Are responsible for the student’s attendance at school

The Student:

• Complies with the requirements as outlined in the Education Act, regulations, and policy/program memoranda

• Complies with board policies and procedures

1. Participates in IPRCs, parents/guardians teacher conferences, and other activities, as appropriate

2. Participates in development of the IEP, where appropriate

After introductions, he explains the role of the IPRC committee:

1) to decide whether or not your child should be identified as exceptional;

2) to identify the areas of your child’s exceptionality;

3) to decide an appropriate placement; and

1. to review the identification and placement at least once each school year.

Each individual present at the IPRC meeting with knowledge of Oliver Smith is then invited by Mr. P to share. Mrs. Smith is also interviewed.

During the meeting, the following information was shared about Oliver:

1. Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, November 2011

2. He prefers to work and play alone, and never initiates activities with others. Although he usually responds when others initiate, he does not appear to understand group social behaviours such as taking turns.

3. Recreation is repetitive rather than creative. Oliver likes to rearrange things in a precise pattern, and gets anxious if the pattern is disrupted by someone.

4. Any change to routine creates anxiety, as do transitions. Staff tries to prepare Oliver for any changes to routine, but it is not always possible. When he becomes anxious, Oliver starts to flap his hands and/or pull at his hair gently at first but then more vigorously. If no intervention occurs, this behaviour escalates into a tantrum where he screams and stamps his feet, and may lash out at those around him. He is removed from the classroom so that his behaviour does not interfere with the learning of others, since his tantrums take up to an hour to defuse to the point where Oliver is able to return to classroom.

5. Oliver uses both a communication board and some speech to communicate.

Speech is difficult to understand as it is somewhat robotic with abnormal pitch and intonation, and frequently too loud for the situation. He is able to use the computer and ipad easily.

The following documentation is presented during the IPRC meeting:

1. pediatrician’s medical diagnosis

2. educational assessment documentation

3. speech and language, and occupational assessments conducted by preschool

4. speech and language and occupational assessments conducted by the school district

5. Information Package from Mrs. Smith

Deciding whether or not the student is exceptional

The Education Act in section 1 defines “exceptional” as

“a pupil whose behavioural, communicational, intellectual, physical or multiple exceptionalities are such that he is considered to need placement in a special education program by a committee, established under subparagraph iii. of paragraph 5 of subsection 10 (1), of the board:

(a) of which he is a resident pupil;

(Note: Section 32 of the Education Act defines resident pupil as a pupil

enrolled in a school operated by a board without the payment of fees.)

(b) that admits or enrolls the pupil other than pursuant to an agreement with another school board for the provision of education, or

(c) to which the cost of education in respect of the pupil is payable by the Minister.”

Under the umbrella of exceptionalities, there are five categories: behaviour, intellectual, communication, physical and multiple.

Statement of Decision

The following statement of decision was made from Oliver’s IPRC meeting:

1. The committee decided that Oliver Smith meets the criteria of an exceptional student as outlined in Regulation 181/98.

2. The committee identified that Oliver Smith has the Communication Exceptionality – Autism. The Ministry of Education (1999) defines Autism as a severe learning disorder that is characterized by disturbances in:

1. rate of education development

2. ability to relate to the environment mobility

3. perception, speech and language

4. Lack of representational symbolic behaviour that precedes language

1. The committee decided that Oliver Smith is to be placed in a regular classroom with resource assistance; one-to-one assistance.

2. The committee identified that Oliver has the following areas of strength:

intellectual curiosity, number and mathematical skills

1. The committee identified that Oliver has the following areas of need:

Social skills with peers, self-regulatory skills, gross motor skills, expressive language skills

1. The committee recommended the following program and services for Oliver.

Special Education and Related Services

1. Daily Routine: adult support, task boards,

2. Communication: picture/word communication book, simplified commands, visual cues, pictures, gestures

3. Social – structured opportunities to interact with peers, turn taking

4. Motor – sensory motor breaks; walks, jump, etcIncorporate interests whenever possible

5. Supervision for non-instructional time

6. attention/focusing cues

7. Special Arrangements for Arrival/Departure

8. Individualized daily schedule

9. Strategic Seating

10. Quiet setting with reduced social interaction for breaks

11. Sensory equipment (SEA)

12. Periodic Breaks

13. Individual or Quiet Setting

14. Individual and small group instruction in adaptive behaviour, gross motor, language, concept development and fine motor skills.

Human Resource Assistance

1. Visit with the Special Education Resource Teacher, three times a week in the resource room

2. Educational Assistant available full-time

3. Occupational Therapist visit once per term

4. Speech Language Pathologist visit once per term

After the IPRC Meeting

Subsection 18(1) requires that as soon as possible after a decision is made, the chair of the committee must send a written statement of the decision to: the parent; the school principal; and the director of the school board.

Parental Consent

In order to implement a placement decision made by the committee the board must follow Regulation Section 20 (1): either a parent of the pupil consents in writing to the placement or within 30 days in no notice of appeal is filed on the decision. In Oliver’s case, once Mrs. Smith received her written statement of the decision, she agreed and signed the consent form.

Documentation After the IPRC

Mr. P is required to place one copy of the letter of Invitation and the Statement of Decision into Oliver’s OSR. Along with these items, the letter of consent from Mrs. Smith, copies of all assessments and documents presented in the IPRC meeting were placed in Oliver’s OSR. Within 30 days of receiving consent from Mrs. Smith, an IEP must be developed for Oliver.

The Individual Education Plan (IEP)

The Individual Education Plan (IEP): An Overview

The Individual Education Plan, is commonly known as the IEP. An IEP is a school’s written plan describing the special education program and/or services required by a particular student. According to the MInistry of Education and Training, the IEP “is a working document which describes the strengths and needs of an individual exceptional pupil, the special education program and services established to meet that pupil’s needs, and how the program and services will be delivered. It also describes the student’s progress.”

After making its placement decision, the IPRC notified the district school board of its decision. Mr. P was then ensured that Oliver’s IEP was prepared and carried out. The preparation of an IEP involves five phases:

1. gathering information

2. setting the direction

3. developing the plan

4. implementing the plan; and

5. reviewing and updating the plan.

Gathering the Information

According to the Ministry, information may be gathered about the student’s academic achievements; attendance; school behaviour; likes and dislikes;

talents; learning style; self-concept; mobility; personalized equipment requirements; and communication, social, and problem-solving skills.

The resource teacher along with assistance from Oliver’s junior kindergarten teacher gathered the following information:

1. IPRC’s written statement

2. samples of Oliver’s current work

3. Interview information from Mrs. Smith about Oliver

4. Documentation from Oliver’s Preschool

5. Observation of Oliver

Setting the Direction

A collaborative approach should be taken in developing the IEP. Mr. P assembles a team of individuals who together can provide a complete and accurate profile of the Oliver Smith. The following team members were selected: junior kindergarten teacher, educational assistant, Resource Teacher, Mrs. Smith and himself. Mr. P assigns the primary role of development of the IEP to the Resource Teacher.

Development of the IEP

The completed IEP document addressed the following areas:

1. Oliver’s strengths and needs

2. Oliver’s current level of achievement

3. Annual program goals to be met by the end of the school year

4. Learning Expectations for a period of time during the school year

5. Teaching strategies, accommodations and resources

6. Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting

7. Transition plan

Parent consultation

Mrs. Smith was consulted in the development and review of the IEP. Upon completion a copy was provided to her. When completed, Mrs. Smith signed a form to say she was consulted and received a copy.

Implementation and monitoring

Within 30 school days of the Oliver’s placement in the special education

program, Mr. P ensured that Oliver’s IEP was completed. Copies were sent to Mrs. Smith and placed in Oliver’s OSR. The IEP team ensured that all of Oliver’s educational team was aware of the contents and requirements of his IEP. The principal ensured that Oliver’s IEP was implemented and monitored.

Review and updating

Throughout the school year, his classroom teacher along with the resource teacher checked Oliver’s progress in relation to his IEP. Oliver’s IEP provided him with adequate assistance to successful adapt to his school setting. His IEP allowed for him to meet the goals that his educators had decided for him. Oliver was able to make progress in terms of his IEP goals. No major adjustments were required to his IEP at this time.

Preparing for Transition to the Next School Year

Transition is a natural part of all educational programs. Students with and without disabilities are expected to adjust to changes in teachers, classmates, schedules, buildings, and routines. The transition from one grade to the next can be especially challenging for the student with an autism spectrum disorder. In March, Oliver’s junior kindergarden teacher started preparation for his transition into kindergarden. It was determined that Oliver would be having the a new teacher in the fall. A meeting is conducted to allow Mr. P, Oliver’s junior kindergarten teacher, Oliver’s kindergarten teacher, Oliver’s educational assistant and Springford’s resource teacher to exchange relevant information about Oliver. The transition meeting discussed effective instructional strategies, needed modifications and adaptations, positive behavior support strategies, and methods of communication that were suitable for Oliver. Written documentation of this transitional meeting is shared with Mrs. Smith and placed in Oliver’s OSR. Since Oliver will be remaining at Springford in the fall, Oliver’s junior kindergarden teacher introduced Oliver to his new kindergarten teacher. The new teacher and Oliver’s junior kindergarden teacher plan a few class activities together. Oliver’s new kindergarten teacher is able to observe Oliver.

Annual Review of the IPRC

The following school year, Oliver started kindergarten at Springford Public School. An annual review of the Oliver’s identification and placement occurred. This time Mr. P made the request for the IPRC meeting. The rest of the process and time table for this annual review of the IPRC was exactly the same as the process and time table as Oliver’s first IPRC. However, this IPRC also reviewed Oliver’s progress of his previous IEP from his OSR.

Statement of Decision

The following statement of decision was made from Oliver’s IPRC meeting:

1. The committee decided that Oliver Smith continued to meet the criteria of an exceptional student as outlined in Regulation 181/98.

2. The committee confirmed that Oliver Smith still had Communication Exceptionality – Autism. The Ministry of Education (1999) defines Autism as a severe learning disorder that is characterized by disturbances in:

1. rate of education development

2. ability to relate to the environment mobility

3. perception, speech and language

4. Lack of representational symbolic behaviour that precedes language

1. The committee decided that Oliver Smith would continue to be placed in a regular classroom with resource assistance; one-to-one assistance.

2. The committee identified that Oliver has the following areas of strength: intellectual curiosity, number and mathematical skills

1. The committee identified that Oliver has the following areas of need:

Social skills with peers, self-regulatory skills, gross motor skills, expressive language skills

1. The committee recommended the following program and services for Oliver.

Special Education and Related Services

1. Daily Routine: adult support, task boards,

2. Communication: picture/word communication book, simplified commands, visual cues, pictures, gestures, a personal computer or ipad to further his picture exchange

3. Social – structured opportunities to interact with peers, turn taking

4. Motor – sensory motor breaks; walks, jump, etcIncorporate interests whenever possible

5. Supervision for non-instructional time

6. Attention/focusing cues

7. Special Arrangements for Arrival/Departure

8. Individualized daily schedule

9. Strategic Seating

10. Quiet setting with reduced social interaction for breaks

11. Sensory equipment (SEA)

12. Periodic Breaks

13. Individual or Quiet Setting

14. Individual and small group instruction in adaptive behaviour, gross motor, language, concept development and fine motor skills.

Human Resource Assistance

1. Visit with the Special Education Resource Teacher, three times a week in the resource room

2. Educational Assistant available full-time

3. Occupational Therapist visit once per term

4. Speech Language Pathologist visit once per term

Conclusion

Throughout this paper, Oliver Smith’s educational journey experiences- from his initial diagnosis of Autism at the age of three to the completion of his Individual Education Plan to support him in his mainstream kindergarten program have been discussed.

Oliver’s case was a very straight forward and cooperative process with no difficulties. The following depicts the process of disagreements with the IPRC decision should this situation occur.

Disagreement With the IPRC

Options Available

If parents do not accept the IPRC Decision: parents can request a second meeting of the IPRC or request an appeal directly. The decision of the IPRC will automatically be implemented after 30 days unless a second meeting or appeal is requested in writing 15 days of receiving the IPRC decision.

A Second Meeting With the IPRC

Parents may request a second meeting with the IPRC within 15 days of receiving the IPRC decision to discuss their concerns. To request a second meeting, parents are to submit a letter requesting the second meeting to the principal. The principal is then responsible for arranging a second meeting with the parent

A second meeting with the IPRC provides opportunity to discuss the details of the identification, such as the category and definition of the exceptionality, the details or absence of strengths and needs, the programming decisions, etc.

The chair of the IPRC is responsible for sending a follow-up letter to all individuals involved in the first IPRC decision as soon as possible after the second meeting. This letter will state if any changes were made to the original IPRC decision. A parent is required to sign a consent form. However, if a parent does not agree with the decision still, the next step is to appeal the IPRC decision.

Appealing the IPRC Decision

Section 26 (1) of Regulation 181/98 states that a parent who disagrees with the IPRC’s statement of decision may appeal to a special education appeal board the following:

1. the decision that the student is exceptional;

2. the decision that the student is not exceptional;

3. the recommendation of the placement.

In order to appeal, a parent must, within 30 days of receiving the written decision of the initial IPRC or 15 days after receiving the written statement of the second meeting with the IPRC, write a letter to the Director of Education asking for an appeal board to be appointed.

Section 26 (4) of Regulation 181/98 states that the notice of appeal should indicate what aspects of the IPRC decision the parent disagrees with and give reasons for disagreement. It is important to note, that under all circumstances the board cannot refuse an appeal.

Setting up an Appeal Board

Once the Director of Education receives the parent’s letter requesting an appeal, the Director of Education must arrange for the appointment of the appeal board.

The appeal board has three members:

1. one member selected by the school board

2. one member selected by the parents

3. a chair selected by the two members appointed.

The first two members named above are to be appointed by the Director of Education of the school board within 15 days of receiving the parent’s written request of appeal. All members appointed must have no prior involvement in the case.

The chair of the appeal board is to be appointed within 15 days of the other two appointments. An appeal board should be made within 30 days of receiving the request.

Providing Information to the Appeal Board

The chair of the IPRC whose decision is under appeal must provide all documentation and other relevant information to the special education appeal board.

Parents are usually asked to sign a release form, allowing the members of the appeal board to be provided with information contained in the student’s OSR or any other files the school board has on the student. In accordance with Section 266 of the Education Act, the parents are able to review the contents of their child’s OSR prior to providing it to the members of the special education appeal board.

Parents may also provide any additional information directly to the chair of the appeal board.

The Appeal Board is Convened

Section 27 (7) of Regulation 181/98 requires the school board to provide whatever secretarial and administrative services are needed by the appeal board. This covers minutes, reports and gathering together of all the relevant information, as well as notifying those involved of the date, time and place. The school board is also responsible for paying any costs occurred as a result of the appeal.

Section 28 (1) of Regulation 181/98 states that the chairman of the appeal board shall make the arrangements for the meeting of the appeal board and shall notify the parents, and student if 16 years of age or older of the date, time and location of the hearing. The meeting of the appeal board must be convened no later than 30 days after the chair of the appeal board has been appointed, unless both parties have agreed in writing that the date is not suitable and have agreed to a later date.

Section 28 (4) of Regulation 181/98 states that anyone whom the appeal board considers able to contribute relevant information must be invited to attend the hearing, and that the hearing must be held in an informal manner. If more than one school board is involved, then the chair of the appeal board will ensure that both boards are aware of the appeal and are present to contribute to the information being considered by the members of the appeal board.

The Appeal Board’s Decision

Section 28 (6) of Regulation 181/98 states that, when the appeal board believes that all relevant people have presented all the relevant information, the appeal board adjourns the meeting and goes into private session to make a decision. The appeal board has three days to decide the following:

1. that the IPRC was right and recommend that its decision be implemented

or

1. that the IPRC was wrong, and make a recommendation to the school board about the student’s identification and/or placement.

Section 29 (1) of Regulation 181/98 requires the appeal board to report its decision in writing to:

1. the parents

2. the student where he is 16 years of age or older

3. the chair of the IPRC, whose decision was under appeal

4. the principal of the student’s school

5. the Director of Education

6. the Director of the purchasing school board, if the program is purchased

The written statement will be accompanied by written reasons for the decision.

The School Board’s Role in Dealing with the Appeal Board Decision

The recommendations of the appeal board are not directions for action. The school board is then responsible to make relevant and appropriate decisions about the student’s identification and/or placement.

Section 30 (1) of Regulation 181/98 states that, within 30 days of receiving the report of the appeal board, the school board must decide whether to accept or reject the decision of the appeal board. Therefore, parents may choose to make a personal appeal to the school board to uphold or overturn the appeal board’s decision and tell them why.

The Director of Education notifies in written form the decision of the school board to all individuals involved. This written notice provides instructions about how to appeal to a tribunal, in accordance with Section 57 of the Education Act, if parents disagree with the school board’s decision.

A parent must agree in writing to the school board’s decision for the decision to be implemented.

If the parents disagree with the decision then they may initiate an appeal to the special education tribunal.

Appeals to the Special Education Tribunal

If a parent is still not convinced that the proposed identification and/or placement are appropriate, then the parent has the option of appealing to the Special Education Tribunal. To request a child’s case to be reviewed by a tribunal, a parent must write to the Secretary of the English language tribunal at the Ministry of Education stating that they are not prepared to accept the appeal board’s recommendation and the school board’s decision regarding the identification and/or placement of the child.

The Special Education Tribunal is an independent body appointed by the Ministry of Education under Section 57 of the Education Act. Its mandate is to deal with special education appeals and to make final and binding decisions on the identification and/or placement of the student in question. Tribunal decisions are formal hearings in which all parties have legal advocates.

Mediation

The Special Education Tribunal is a much more formal process than the IPRC or special education appeal board. Prior to the tribunal hearing, parents are invited to consider mediation as an intermediate step.

Mediation is usually quicker, less stressful and less adversarial than going to the tribunal. However, parents forfeit their legal due process rights and must begin from the beginning if the school board fails to implement the agreed upon agreement.

REFERENCES

Alberta Education. 2012. Handbook for the Identification and Review of Students with Severe Disabilities.

Autism Ontario. Individual Education Plans (IEP); Individual Placement and Review Committee (IPRC). Last viewed on November 24, 2012 at http://www.autismontario.com/client/aso/ao.nsf/Durham/Special+Education+-+DDSB+-+IEP+and+IPRC+Processes?OpenDocument

Idao – Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario. A Parent’s Guide to Special Education in Ontario. Last viewed on November 13, 2012 at http://www.ldao.ca/wp-content/uploads/A-Parents-Guide-to-Special-Education.pdf

Ontario Minstry of Education. Part D: The Identification, Placement and Review Committee Process. Last viewed on November 24, 2012 at http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/elemsec/speced/guide/specedpartde.pdf

Niagra Catholic School Board. The Identification, Placement and Review Committee Process and Appeals. Lasted viewed on November 24, 2012 at http://www.niagaracatholic.ca/niagaraRC//Parents%20and%20Students/sss/spEdPlan/2012/SectionF.pdf

Ontario Directors. Resources to Support the Development and Implementation of Effective IEPs in Ontario. Last viewed on November 24, 2012 at http://www.ontariodirectors.ca/IEP-PEI/en.html

Renfrew County District School Board. Identification, Placement and Review Committee (I.P.R.C) Information Brochure. Last viewed on November 12, 2012 at http://www.renfrew.edu.on.ca/speced/images/Guides/IPRC.pdf

Thames Valley District School Board. Special Education Report: Informal Approaches to Solving Problems Prior to IPRC Meeting. Last viewed http://www.tvdsb.ca/files/113529/InformalApproachSolvingProblemsPriorIPRC.pdf

Tripod. Sample IEP for child with autism. http://trainland.tripod.com/sample.htm

York Catholic District School Board. (IPRC) Identification, Placement and Review. Last viewed on November 23, 2012 at: http://www.ycdsb.ca/departments/instructionalservices/studentservices/documents/SpecEdPlan_IPRC.pdf