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General Learning Program (GLP)

Special Education Service Delivery Model in the OCDSB: A Guide for Parents Of Students with Mild Intellectual Disability
Description
 
The Ministry of Education defines a mild intellectual disability as:
A learning disorder characterized by:
a) an ability to profit educationally within a regular class with the aid of considerable curriculum modification and supportive service;
b) an inability to profit educationally within a regular class because of slow intellectual development;
c) a potential for academic learning, independent social adjustment, and economic self-support.
 
The OCDSB supports students with a mild intellectual disability in a variety of ways, including in a regular class environment or a specialized program class environment. These students may have some of the following characteristics: low academic achievement; require specific instruction for basic concepts; difficulty generalizing information from one situation to another; lagging daily living and social skills. The OCDSB General Learning specialized program classes are for those students with a mild intellectual disability 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 Students with a Mild Intellectual Disability (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 students with a Mild Intellectual Disability 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 students with a Mild Intellectual Disability MAY include but not limited to:
· In-School Team Meeting Referral
· Targeted, precise specific instruction to adhere to need
· Development of Individual Education Plan (IEP)
· Educational Assessment (e.g. Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, third edition (WIAT III), Canadian Achievement Test, fourth edition, (CAT/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)
· 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 students with a Mild Intellectual Disability MAY include but not limited to:
· Cognitive Assessment (e.g. 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. type of assessments used; SEA application; further opportunities to work with other learners; intensive school based support strategies; student-centered project based learning opportunities; referral for community agency support; specialized program class referral)
Identification as a Student with an Exceptionality of Mild Intellectual Disability VS Eligibility for a Specialized Program Class:
Students may be Identified with an exceptionality of mild intellectual disability and not placed into a General Learning specialized program class. In these cases the student would receive in-class support in the regular class setting.
 
 
Criteria for Specialized Program Class: General Learning Program
 
Specialized Program Classes Available
Grades 4 - 12
Class Sizes
Grades 4 – 12 - 16 students per class
 
Assessments, Documentation, and Student Profile for Referral
Cognitive Assessment
To ensure best practice, current psychological assessment (within the last 2 two 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) diagnosis of an Intellectual Disability (mild), as specified in DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fifth edition); 2) an adaptive functioning assessment (e.g. Vineland 2) must indicate an impairment (e.g. coping with daily life demands, personal care, and independence).
 
Educational Assessment
To ensure best practice, an educational assessment (within the last 12 months) is required. The educational assessment may be included as part of a psychological report. An educational assessment may be completed at your child’s school.
Criteria:
Grades 4-6: student’s academic performance in reading, writing and/or mathematics is more than 2 years below grade level
Grades 7-8: student’s academic performance in reading, writing and/or mathematics is more than 3 years below grade level
Grades 9-12:  student’s academic performance in reading, writing and/or mathematics is more than 4 years below grade level
 
Academic Profile
As cognitive ability does not always equate to academic achievement, additional information is required for a referral to the General Learning specialized program classes. Student requires modified provincial curriculum expectation goals. The goals are outlined in an Individual Education Program (IEP), including alternative programming expectations. These alternative programming goals develop daily living skills, personal care skills, and school function skills (i.e. socialization and learning to be part of a community).
In grades 9 - 12 the alternative goals include developing work skills.
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. Due to the mild intellectual disability, the student may have difficulty with social interactions and communication, frustrations with academics, and/or challenges with daily living skills. There are no specific social/behavioural characteristics that need to be identified in order to be referred to the General Learning specialized program class.
 
Additional Supporting Information
Additional information may be helpful to support a referral to the General Learning specialized program class. 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, Medial Assessment, previous A4 (Assessing Achievement in Alternative Areas) assessment, an additional Speech/Language Assessment, 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, and Review Committee (IPRC) process to ensure appropriate placement to support student learning needs.
 
 
Specialized Program Class Referral Process
 
Referral Process for the General Learning Program Specialized Program Class for OCDSB students:
· Deadline for a referral to a General Learning Program specialized program class is 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 General Learning 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 General Learning Program 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 the referral to a General Learning Program 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 General Learning Program 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 General Learning Program 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 setting.
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