Dual Support Program (DSP)

Special Education Service Delivery Model in the OCDSB: A Guide for Parents Of Students Mild Intellectual Disability and Behaviour Needs
The Dual Support specialized program class support students who meet the criteria for the General Learning Program (students with a mild intellectual disability) and also have severe behavioral challenges.
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 Ministry of Education defines an exceptionality of behaviour as:
A learning disorder characterized by specific behavior problems over such a period of time, and to such a marked degree, and of such a nature, as to adversely affect educational performance, and that may be accompanied by one or more of the following:
a) an inability to build or to maintain interpersonal relationships;
b) excessive fears or anxieties;
c) a tendency to compulsive reaction;
d) an inability to learn that cannot be traced to intellectual, sensory, or other health factors, or any combination thereof.
The OCDSB supports students in a variety of ways, including in a regular class environment or a specialized program class environment. Some characteristics of these students may include: serious delay in academic skills, dependent on others for daily living skills, frequent intervention is needed due to non-compliance, aggression and/or impulsivity The OCDSB Dual Support Specialized Program classes are for those students, in grades 4 through 12, in addition to targeted Tier 1, 2, and 3 interventions, would still benefit from a congregated setting.
Here Is What We Do To Support Students with a Mild Intellectual Disability and Behaviour Needs (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 in the regular classroom MAY include but not limited to:
· Identification of strengths and needs
· Classroom observation and tracking
· Parent 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 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. WIAT III)
· Specific differentiated supports in place for areas of strength and need (e.g. modify tasks based on ability, social skills building activities, consistent routines, body breaks, use of assistive technology, highly structured environment, develop self-regulation goals)
· 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 MAY include but not limited to:
· Cognitive Assessment (CCAT, 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)
Criteria for Specialized Program Class: Dual Support Program
Specialized Program Classes Available
Grades 4 - 12
Class Sizes
Grades 4 – 12 - ten (10) students per class
Assessments, Documentation, and Student Profile for Referral
Cognitive Assessment
To ensure best practice, current psychological 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) may have a diagnosis of Intellectual Disability (mild), as specified in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic Statistical Manual, 5th edition); 2) an impaired adaptive functioning (e.g. coping with life demands, personal independence); 3) may have a diagnosis of a Disruptive, Impulse-Control, or Conduct Disorder (e.g. oppositional defiant disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, antisocial personality disorder).
Educational Assessment
To ensure best practice, an educational assessment data (within the last 12 months) is required. The educational assessment may be included in the psychological assessment report. An educational assessment may be completed at your child’s school.
grades 4 - 6: student is working more than two (2) years below grade level in Reading, Writing and Mathematics
grades 7 – 8: student is working more than three (3) years below grade level in Reading, Writing and Mathematics
grades 9 – 12: student is working more than four (4) years below grade level in Reading, Writing and Mathematics
Academic Profile
Student requires modified provincial curriculum expectations goals and expectations 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 grade 9 through 12, work skills goals are developed. A current report card and current Individual Education Plan (IEP) are required in a referral. Also required in a referral is a CANS (Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths) profile, completed by the current school.
Social/Behavioural Profile
Social and/or behavioural factors require a more structured learning environment. A current Social Work assessment is required in a referral. A Behaviour Template is also required. The Behaviour Template is completed by the current school. Documentation should include relevant information, such as:


· history of risk behaviours
· executive functioning
· emotional regulation
· cognitive flexibility
· social skills
· impulse control and behavior management
· non-compliance
· risks to self or others


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. Additional supporting information may include an Occupational or Physiotherapy Assessment, list of agencies involved with the student (e.g., Crossroads Home Program, etc.), an additional Speech/Language/Cognitive-Communication Assessment, and/or 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.
Referral Process for the Dual Support Specialized Program Class for OCDSB students:
· OCDSB referrals to a Dual Support specialized program class will be coordinated through the multi-disciplinary team at your child’s school.
· 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 Dual Support specialized program class will be determined at a Superintendence Based Identification, Review, Placement Committee (IPRC)
Referral Process for the Dual Support 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. Parents/Guardians 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 Specialized Dual Support 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 setting.
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2023 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.