Autism Ontario's Education Position Statements
Our Educational Position Statements are designed to help parents resolve school issues, obtain needed educational supports or services and help promote a change in the practices, policies and/or behaviours in our educational system in a respectful, positive and effective way.
What do you need to know as a parent?
Advocacy is about securing, protecting and advancing the rights of one’s self or others. Students on the autism spectrum have rights. The Ministry of Education has enacted legislation and regulations to support the education of students with special needs. School boards are responsible for implementing programs in compliance with current legislation and regulations.
Autism Ontario believes parents and students on the autism spectrum (where possible) must be actively engaged throughout the education process as full partners in their education to promote optimal learning across home and school.
This means that parents and students (where possible) play an active role, together with educators in all educational decisions.
Parents may have to strongly advocate to ensure that their child’s rights are met at school. It is the parent’s right and responsibility to see that their child has an appropriate educational program, and it is certainly acceptable for parents to advocate for their child. A parent’s relationship with the school/school board is not a social relationship. It is a business/legal relationship with the goal of getting the most appropriate education for your child.
Should you identify your child through the IPRC process?
Often, our Regions and Service Navigation staff are asked if students on the autism spectrum should be identified through the Identification, Placement and Review Committee.
Autism Ontario recognizes the Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) as the current, binding path towards the identification and placement for all students on the autism spectrum. We encourage parents, service providers and educators to use this process to develop tools collaboratively.
There are several processes parents and caregivers can access to ensure their children are getting the educational services and supports they need. The IPRC process is the legal, binding process families can access. Here are some resources to learn more about navigating through the IPRC process:
- Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC)
- Webinar - Preparing for Your IPRC: A 3-Part Series with Ed Mahony
- Webinar - Positive Advocacy Strategies for School - The IPRC Process with Ed Mahony
Autism Ontario believes that curriculum must be flexible enough to allow for individual education programming for the diverse needs of students on the autism spectrum throughout their education and transition process. This process must be assessment based, using tools and/or strategies specific to the learning needs of autistic students with an emphasis on evidence-based practices. These plans must include appropriate supports and classroom/curriculum adaptations to ensure maintenance of previously acquired skills and continuity of learning.
The Individual Education Plan (IEP)
Education for autistic students includes not only programming for an academic curriculum, but also programming developed collaboratively that speaks to the individual learner profile; including the communication, social skills and behavioural challenges associated with autism.
The IEP outlines the learning expectations that are modified from or are an alternative to the expectations in the curriculum standards guide. The IEP will also outline the any accommodations and special education services needed to assist the student in achieving their learning expectations. The IEPs of students who have no modified or alternative expectations will focus only on accommodations and services.
The IEP is intended to ensure that the student’s needs are linked to appropriate services and to ensure that needed resources and services are being provided. Here are some resources to learn more about the IEP:
All students on the autism spectrum must have access to a range of placement options based on individualized student needs, regardless of geographical location. This must include all ranges from full inclusion to full self-contained in all school boards.
Where does Autism Ontario stand on Educators, Administrators, and Educational Assistants Training?
Autism Ontario supports the ongoing training and coaching of our Ontario school teachers, administrators, and assistants. Educators and practitioners play an invaluable role in the realization of the best educational outcomes for each autistic student.
Autism Ontario advocates and assists in the ongoing professional development of all educators, administrators, assistants, and parents/caregivers on issues of education for autistic students in Ontario.
For support for your school related issues, please contact your local Autism Ontario Region, or your regional Service Navigator. They can help guide you through these resources, direct you to your local school board Special Education policies, procedures and resources, and connect you with local advocates and workshops to help fine tune your advocacy skills.