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Special Education – Glossary

Special education processes can be complicated and there are a lot of terms. This glossary is meant to help you understand the language that you may hear on your journey.

Accommodations changes the way students are taught material.

Alternative programs are developed to help students gain experience outside of the Ontario curriculum. They are typically focused on life skills.

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) helps modify undesirable behaviour and increase adaptive behaviour. It tracks what happened before the undesirable behaviour, the actual behaviour and the outcome.

Assistive technology refers to equipment or software that enhances learning and living for people with unique abilities and needs.

Behaviour modification uses both positive and negative reinforcers/consequences to try and encourage positive behaviour.

Course codes are six-character codes that help identify the secondary school level course.

Early Childhood Educators (ECE) work with children typically up to the age of 8 (grade 3) with a focus on child development. They are registered members of the College of Early Childhood Educators.

Educational Assistants (EA) work to support student needs, under the direction of a teacher.

Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC) is the group that meets, reviews and discusses information gathered about a student, to decide if a student should be identified as exceptional in accordance to the Ministry of Education categories of exceptionality.

Individual Education Plan (IEP) is a written plan created by the school to describe the special education programs and services that are to be provided to the student.

In-school support team (IST) is made up of people with different expertise to support the student, parent, and one another. The core members are typically the classroom teacher or Curriculum Leader, the principal or vice-principal, the special education teacher, a guidance counsellor, and the student success teacher. They are not mandated to be part of every school, however most schools have one in place.

Modifications change what a student is taught, and/or what they are expected to learn. Modified expectations may include changing the grade level, or changing the complexity of the grade level expectations.

Ontario Student Record (OSR) details a student’s information and progress through school. It is confidential and can only be
accessed by the Principal, school staff with permission, and the student and/or parent upon request.

Provincial Parent Association Advisory Committee on Special Education Advisory Committees (PAAC on SEAC) bring together the Special Education Advisory Committees (SEAC) from across the province. They are a connection point and together, provide advocacy and recommendations to the Ministry of Education, as well as provide support to the individual SEACs for each school board.

Parent Involvement Committees (PIC) must be established for every school board. They provide advice on parent engagement and share information to support school councils within the individual school boards. It is a parent-led committee. To take part, the parent must have a child enrolled in a school at the same school board. The director of education and a trustee are also members. They meet at least four times a year.

Provincial and Demonstration schools are regional centres providing curriculum for elementary and secondary, as well as specialized, intensive programming for students who are Deaf, blind/low vision, deaf blind or have severe learning disabilities.

Special Education Advisory Committees (SEAC) are trustees and representatives of local associations that support exceptional children or adults. They provide advice on special education to their local school board and make recommendations or programs and services. Each school board must have a SEAC.

Special education programs are plans that contain the learning goals and the special education services required to meet the student’s needs.

Special education services refer to resources, equipment and support personnel. They are there to support the overall program and needs of the student.

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