So the Ministry of Education in Ontario released this memo in December 2011.
The things that it states are really straightforward – many outside Special Education will read it and be left wondering – “This required a memo?” after all, of course ADHD and Tourette’s and other disorder/conditions can have an impact on a child’s learning. And if a child is experiencing challenges in the classroom we would move to put things in place to help that child – right?
Well, until this memo (and let’s face it, long after this memo), many schools and school boards were denying kids IEP’s (Individual Education Plans) – sighting that the child did not meet the criteria set out by the Ministry in the form of five categories (Behaviour, Communication, Intellectual, Physical, and Multiple). They argue that ADHD, for example, does not fit into the above classifications and thus they were not obligated to provide special education services for a child only diagnosed with ADHD (the emphasis on “only” is a sarcastic one because if you have a child with ADHD you know what your child requires to learn and often times it is above and beyond what is in place for them).
But this memo changes that. Or at least it would seem.
I’m eager to see what the schools do in response as parents begin to bring forward this memo and ask that their child be accomodated for his or her unique learning needs. Of course I would suggest that families use this memo to start a collaborative dialogue rather than an “see, I TOLD YOU SO”, “in your face” kind of situation.
For our youngest, nothing changes as the school has been AMAZING at putting things in place even though he only has an ADHD diagnosis (once again an attempt at sarcasm).
If this affects you I hope you will leave a comment. I’d love to know if you are able to use the memo to advocate for your child.