Planning For Independence

 Placement Options

School boards are encouraged to offer a range of placement options for students who have been identified as exceptional by an Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC)* Working in consultation with the parents, the IPRC makes its placement decision on the basis of the student's specific learning needs.

Following are descriptions of the placement options most commonly recommended. In each case special education and interdisciplinary staff assist in assessment of individual needs and strengths, development of learning objectives, modification of the curriculum, and identification of the supports and resources required. These placement options are not totally discrete and should be viewed as existing on a continuum. Furthermore, it is possible for a student to experience a range of placement options as circumstances, needs, and abilities change.

Regular Class With Special Education Support

In this placement students with special needs are provided with opportunities to interact over a long period with the same group of peers. The student thus has opportunities to develop enduring relationships.

Educational programming is individualized to meet the unique learning needs of these students. The responsibility for developing and implementing individual programs belongs to the regular-classroom teacher, although support should be provided by the principal and resource personnel. Decisions are made about the suitability of large- and small-group teaching, and individualized instruction is provided as required in the regular class or individually, with the child withdrawn from the class temporarily. Opportunities for peer tutoring and assistance occur naturally in the regular classroom.

Special Education Class With Opportunities for Integration

In this placement option, students with special needs meet as a small class to learn basic skills. The special education teacher takes the primary responsibility for developing individual program plans and co-ordinating necessary support services. Integration into the regular classroom for the study of specific subject areas should be planned in such a way that it capitalizes on the student's learning strengths, provides opportunities for interaction with same-age peers, and provides supports as needed. The regular-class teacher, the special education teacher, and the principal should meet regularly to devise modifications of the regular curriculum. Peer tutoring can occur in the regular class or in the special class, but it generally requires planning and facilitation by the teacher.

Special School

In this placement option, small-group instruction is the norm. Individual programs are planned within a curriculum framework designed for special students. Special arrangements can be made to ensure that integration into regular school and community settings takes place.

* Ontario Regulation 554/81 (Special Education Placement and Review Committees and Appeals), February 1986.

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