An appropriate placement or learning environment should be chosen on an individual basis for a student with special needs. Educating students with special needs in regular classrooms in local schools is the first placement option considered by schools/divisions, in consultation with parents and students.
Most students with special needs attend their neighbourhood or local schools, and are provided with programming, supports, and services to meet their individual needs. However, when a team decides that a student’s needs and IEP cannot be met in a regular classroom even with supports and
services,alternatives to programming in the regular classroom are considered or part of all of the school day.
Schools/divisions in Manitoba offer a wide range of placement and learning options. Students may attend school in their neighbourhood school in a classroom with their peers for the majority of the day in their neighbourhood school in a classroom with their peers and a special learning environment for part of the day in their neighbourhood school in a special learning environment for the majority of the day in a special learning environment that may not be in their neighbourhood school
Supports within these environments could include
- resource teacher
- educational assistant(s)
- specialized teacher
Determining the appropriate placement for a student with special needs is a shared responsibility:
Parents have specific views on what would be the most enabling placement or learning environment for their child. Parents should communicate with school/division staff to become aware of options available locally. A student’s team takes a number of factors into consideration in determining the most appropriate placement or learning environment for the student. These factors include the particular needs of the student, available resources and supports, the views of the student’s parents, and what is appropriate and reasonable under the circumstances.
The School and School Division:
The school needs to identify any additional resources required to support the student-specific plan.
School divisions allocate resources to schools.
It is the responsibility of each school division to identify students with special needs, assess each student’s strengths and needs, and, within resources available, plan and deliver educational programming that will best meet the needs of all students. Schools/divisions, in keeping with available resources and policy, are ultimately responsible for making placement decisions that are in the best interest of individual students and of all the students they serve.
If you have questions regarding programming or supports for your child, or if you wish to have information regarding funding, contact your child’s classroom teacher, school principal, or school division office.
Clinical and Specialist Support
At times, the school team may work together with other support people to meet your child’s needs. The teacher may discuss with you the need for additional programming support to help determine and meet your child’s needs.
Schools/divisions hire or contract clinicians to provide support in schools. Most school divisions have psychologists, social workers, and speech-language pathologists on their student services team. In addition, some hire or contract reading clinicians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, health professionals, consultants, and others, depending upon their resources and local needs. Each support person can provide the team with information and services to help identify a student’s needs, skills, learning style(s), physical needs, adaptations, or programming strategies. If a clinician is to be involved, the student’s parents should be included in the referral process.
For definitions of each clinician, please see the Introduction to this handbook or in the glossary provided on this site. Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth provides schools/divisions with support for students who are Deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired. In addition, schools/divisions across the province can access the support of the Department’s Special Education Consultants in a variety of areas.
A team for a student with special needs may also access the support of community service providers and specialist agencies. The Services for Persons with Disabilities Division of Family Services and Housing is one of the common supports used by families who have children with special needs.
When the school team is planning or carrying out the IEP for a student, it maybe decided that the support of an educational assistant is necessary. You may hear many terms used to identify the assistant, such as teaching assistant, paraprofessional, and so on, but the accepted term in Manitoba is Educational Assistant.
Educational assistants provide supportive and complementary service to enhance the learning experiences of students, particularly those with special needs. They receive directions from teachers or the school principal.
Educational assistants may be asked to take on the following roles and responsibilities:
Carry out the daily implementation of the student-specific IEP outcomes or goals, as directed by the teacher.
Reinforce a concept or skill that the teacher has taught with a small group of students.
Provide personal care in areas such as personal hygiene, dressing, or helping a child use adaptive equipment (such as computer technology).
Help prepare materials for an individual student, classroom, or school.
Provide the teacher with information and/or written documentation about a student’s performance, behaviour, growth, and needs.
The amount of time an educational assistant is assigned to a classroom, a resource program, a group of students, or a particular student varies. Teachers are ultimately responsible for planning, implementing, and assessing student progress.
Schools/divisions hire or contract educational assistants and have hiring,qualification, and assignment policies. Please contact your school principal or school division office for more information.