The Public Education System
The Special Education system (which includes all services to children with special needs, whether or not they are formally identified as special needs, and whatever classroom situation they are in) is governed by three bodies: the Ministry of Education, the Board of Education, and the individual school principal. This site does not intend to duplicate the valuable and complete information available in other sources.
We highly recommend Autism Ontario's "Navigating the Special Education System in Ontario", to any parent new to this system. You can purchase this publication at Toronto chapter meetings or through Autism Ontario.
Lindsay Moir, formerly with the Ministry, offers consulting and education services related to special education. His publication "Education Access Resource Guide" is also comprehensive and useful.
Where to Get Help
The government requires that school boards have a Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC). The Toronto chapter of Autism Ontario provides representatives to the SEAC of the public, separate and french public systems. These resources are available to help you deal with any problems or issues you may have with your school or the school system. See our contacts page.
Need to Keep Informed
Please be aware that school boards regularly changes their practices, program names, and other related items such as who makes up the IPRC (Identification, Placement and Review Committee).
In Case of Illness
Boards are required to offer a home instruction option for pupils who cannot attend school for a certain period of time (usually two weeks). Under this program, a teacher will come to your home or the hospital for a certain number of hours of instruction a week. You will need a signed form from your doctor.
School boards operate under the Education Act of the Ministry of Education which determines, for example, how long the educational day must be (something many schools contravene). The ministry's web site has information that might be useful in dealing with school issues.
A Note on IPRCs and School Placements
Your IPRC is, you will be told, not the venue for determining which school your child will attend. However, it is very important that you make it clear in the IPRC if there is a particular school you are interested in. This is recorded as part of the IPRC process and may be taken into account when making school placement decisions (these are made by special ed staff).
Toronto District School Board
Toronto District School Board Special Education Report
Toronto Catholic School Board
Toronto French Public Board
Toronto French Catholic District School Board