According to The Education Act, every board of education in Ontario is required to have a Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC). This committee is made up of volunteer representatives from local associations that work to further the interests and well-being of one or more groups of exceptional children or adults. The SEAC representatives make recommendations to the boards of education about the establishment and development of special education programs and services for exceptional students — including students with ASD.
Where Autism Ontario has a Chapter, we too have representation on the SEAC. Autism Ontario’s SEAC representatives act as liaisons between our organization and the English and French, public and catholic, school boards across Ontario. Representatives attend monthly school board SEAC meetings and act as the voice for students living with autism in Ontario by raising issues affecting the autism community. SEAC representatives advise school boards on policies affecting students with autism, with a view to getting issues resolved in a timely and satisfactory manner. SEAC representatives are required to speak for the needs of all students in special education and are not permitted to act as advocates for individual students or families.
SEAC representatives are appointed by Autism Ontario’s Chapter Leadership Council (CLC) and accepted by the school board for a 3-4 year term. During their term, it is the responsibility of the SEAC representative to report to the CLC regularly about SEAC meetings and issues, as well as bring forward issues and topics from the Chapter.