Autism Program (AUT)

Special Education Service Delivery Model in the OCDSB: A Guide for Parents
Of Elementary Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
The Ministry of Education defines the exceptionality of Autism as:
A severe learning disorder that is characterized by;
a) disturbances in:
· rate of educational development;
· ability to relate to the environment;
· mobility
· perception, speech, and language
b) lack of the representational symbolic behavior that precedes language 
The OCDSB supports students in a variety of ways, including in a regular class environment or a specialized program class environment. Key characteristics of these students include: impairments in basic communication skills, significant difficulty with social interactions, and challenges with self-regulation. Students may also have significant sensory needs. The OCDSB Autism Spectrum Disorder specialized program classes are for those students who have not responded to and/or unlikely to be able to respond to targeted Tier 1, 2, and 3 interventions.
Here Is What We Do To Support Elementary Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (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 elementary students with Autism Spectrum Disorder 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
· Teaching to student’s strengths
· Differentiation of instruction, environment and/or assessment (e.g. ability grouping, visual supports, use of assistive technology)
School based supports (Tier Two Interventions) for elementary students with Autism Spectrum Disorder MAY include but not limited to:
· In-School Team Meeting Referral
· Targeted, precise specific instruction to adhere to strengths and needs
· Development of Individual Education Plan (IEP)
· Educational Assessment (e.g. WIAT III, DIAL-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 and cues)
· 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 elementary students with Autism Spectrum Disorder MAY include but not limited to:
· Cognitive Assessment (e.g. WPPSI, 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)
Specialized Program Class: Autism Spectrum Disorder
Specialized Program Classes Available
Grades K - 12
Class Sizes
Grades K - 12 - six (6) students per class
Assessments, Documentation, and Student Profile for Referral
Cognitive Assessment
To ensure best practice, current psychological/developmental assessment (within the last 2 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) a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as specified by DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fifth edition), indicating the level of severity; 2) an assessment of adaptive functioning (e.g. Vineland 2 – Teacher Rating Form), within last 12 months; 3) may also have a diagnosis of Intellectual Disability (mild)
Academic Profile
The student requires intensive support to complete tasks and when attending or participating in group situations. There is a profound difficulty in learning and processing information. An Individual Education Plan (IEP) which outlines modifications and alternative program expectations is required. An alternative program can include expectations to address the student’s needs in the areas of communication, daily living skills, self-regulation, and social skills. A current report card or Preschool Report is required in a referral if available.
Social/Communication Profile
Social and communication factors should be included in a referral. These may be observed within the classroom and/or at home. They include impairment in basic communication skills and significant difficulty with social interactions. The student may be able to communicate verbally or may require an augmentative or alternative method of communication system (e.g. Pecs). If available, a Speech/Language Assessment should be included in a referral.
Behavioural Profile
The behavioural and/or self-regulation needs of the students should be included in a referral. The information should indicate there are marked difficulties in unstructured situations (e.g. recess, lunch time, in hallways). The student may also engage in behaviour that threatens their own safety or the safety of others. They may also engage in behavior that is injurious to themselves or others. If developed, an ASD Team Action Plan(s), a Safety Plan and/or a Behaviour Management Plan should be included in a referral.
Additional Supporting Information
Additional information may be helpful to provide a fulsome picture of the student. This information may be relevant to the student’s needs and programming requirements. Examples of additional supporting information are: educational assessment report, medical report, IBI report, Social Work assessment report, Occupational/Physiotherapy Assessment, and any other evidence supporting 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 Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialized Program Class for OCDSB students:
· OCDSB referrals to a Specialized Autism Spectrum Disorder Program Class will be coordinated by the multi-disciplinary team at your child’s school.
· Evidence is required of any/all tiered interventions that had been applied over time.
· All questions relating to this process can be directed to your child’s current school.
· Referrals are considered throughout the year on a case by case basis.
· Parent(s)/Guardian(s) must give signed consent for a referral to be submitted to Learning Support Services.
· Placement in a Autism Spectrum Disorder specialized program class will be determined at a Superintendence Based Identification, Review, Placement Committee (IPRC)
Referral Process for the Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialized Program Class for non-OCDSB students:
· Parent(s)/guardian(s) should discuss a possible referral with the principal at their OCDSB community school.
· Please review OCDSB criteria for our programs on the OCDSB website prior to requests for referral consideration.
· The referral documentation must be completed as a joint effort between parent(s)/guardian(s), the OCDSB community school and child’s current school/program.
· Preference for placement is given to current OCDSB students who meet criteria.
· Referrals will be considered throughout the year, on a case by case basis.
· Please note: further information about referrals can be provided through Learning Support Services (LSS) upon request.
Other Information Regarding Referral Process
· Superintendency Based IPRCs are held throughout the school year. Parent(s)/Guardian(s) participate in this process, their input is required as part of a referral. 
· The wide range of services provided in the OCDSB will be carefully considered for students who are not placed in the Autism Spectrum Disorder specialized program class through a Superintendency Based IPRC.
· Referrals may be submitted at any time throughout the year.
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 class.
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