Learning Disability Program (LD)

Special Education Service Delivery Model in the OCDSB: A Guide for Parents Of Students With a Learning Disability
The Ministry of Education defines learning disability as one of a number of neurodevelopmental disorders that persistently and significantly has an impact on the ability to learn and use academic and other skills and that:
• affects the ability to perceive or process verbal or non-verbal information in an effective and accurate manner in students who have assessed intellectual abilities that are at least in the average range;
• results in (a) academic underachievement that is inconsistent with the intellectual abilities of the student (which are at least in the average range) and/or (b) academic achievement that can be maintained by the student only with extremely high levels of effort and/or with additional support;
• results in difficulties in the development and use of skills in one or more of the following areas: reading, writing, mathematics, and work habits and learning skills;
• may typically be associated with difficulties in one or more cognitive processes, such as
phonological processing; memory and attention; processing speed; perceptual-motor processing; visual-spatial processing; executive functions (e.g., self-regulation of behaviour and emotions, planning, organizing of thoughts and activities, prioritizing, decision making);
• may be associated with difficulties in social interaction (e.g., difficulty in understanding social norms or the point of view of others); with various other conditions or disorders, diagnosed or undiagnosed; or with other exceptionalities;
• is not the result of a lack of acuity in hearing and/or vision that has not been corrected; intellectual disabilities; socio-economic factors; cultural differences; lack of proficiency in the language of instruction; lack of motivation or effort; gaps in school attendance or inadequate opportunity to benefit from instruction. 
The OCDSB supports students with a learning 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: a requirement of intensive support to ensure classroom success; delays in an area of reading, writing, and/or mathematics; accommodations and/or modifications of program in some academic areas; use of assistive technology is essential; demonstrate behaviours of frustration and/or anxiety. The OCDSB Learning Disability specialized program classes are for those students with a learning disability who, in addition to targeted Tier 1, 2, and 3 interventions, would still benefit from a specialized program class.
Here Is What We Do To Support Students with a Learning 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 Learning 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 a Learning 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. alter tasks based on ability, social skills building activities, use of assistive technology, visual schedules, organizational skill building)
· 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 Learning Disability MAY include but not limited to:
· Cognitive Assessment (e.g. Canadian Cognitive Abilities Test (CCAT), Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, edition four or five (WISC-IV/V), Wechsler Nonverbal Scale of Ability (WNV))
· 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 Learning Disability VS Eligibility for a Specialized Program Class
Students may be Identified with an exceptionality of Learning Disability and not placed into a Learning Disability specialized program class. In these cases the student would receive in-class support in the regular class setting.
Specialized Program Class: Learning Disability
Specialized Program Classes Available
Elementary: Learning Disability Specialized Intervention Program (LDSIP)
Grades 5 - 6 (Junior)
Grades 7-8 (Intermediate)
Class Sizes
Grades 5 - 8 eight (8) students per class

Secondary: Learning Disability Program
Grades 9-12
Class Sizes
eight (8) students per co-hort
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 a specific Learning Disorder with impairment in reading and/or written expression and/or mathematics, as specified in DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fifth edition; 2) evidence of average to above average intellectual ability; 3) assessment(s) must indicate the learning disability(ies) impacts the ability to process information.
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: academic performance in reading, writing and/or mathematics is below the 15th percentile.
Academic Profile
Cognitive ability does not always equate to academic achievement. Students being referred to the Learning Disabilities specialized program classes require intensive support for learning and have significant difficulty in learning and processing information. A current report card and current Individual Education Plan (IEP) are required in a referral. The current school must also complete an Anecdotal Report to be included in a referral.
Elementary - students require accommodations and/or modification in any subject areas that is impacted by a learning disability (i.e. a writing disability would impact written reports in science).
Secondary - students are able to work toward grade level curriculum expectations. For secondary students who have earned secondary credits, a Credit Counseling Summary is 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 and may include varying levels of resiliency, frustration, self-esteem, anxiety, withdrawal, inattention, and/or distractibility. There are no specific social/behavioural characteristics needed in order to be referred to the Learning Disability specialized program class.
Additional Supporting Information
Additional information may be helpful to support a referral to the Learning Disability 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, an additional Speech/Language/Cognitive-Communication 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 Learning Disability Specialized Program Class for OCDSB students
· Deadline for a referral to a Learning Disability 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 current school.
· Referrals will be considered throughout the year (not only April) on a case by case basis. Once the learning disability 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 Learning Disability 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 a referral to a Learning Disability 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 Learning Disability 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 Learning Disability 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 class.
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