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Frequently Asked Questions About Education

Q:  Are there any special schools for children with Asperger Sydrome in Ontario?

A: There are an increasing number of classrooms or programs within schools in various public schools in the province that provide supports for those with Asperger Syndrome or ASDs. Finding the right program requires research with your school board. Some of these programs can be beneficial for students with Asperger Syndrome but it is important to remember that individuals with Asperger Syndrome can present vastly different needs. As such, the suitability of any education program that does not focus specifically on Asperger Syndrome is highly dependent on the individual.


Q:  My child with Asperger Syndrome has a very difficult time at school. I need to find an alternative; a different public school, private school or home schooling. In considering the options I’m wondering about the strengths and weaknesses of each for a child with Asperger Syndrome?

A:  Many children with Asperger Syndrome find school and the school environment very challenging. The academic and social expectations, compounded with the sensory overload of the classroom environment can lead parents to consider other options such as private school or home schooling. The choice between public school, private school and home school for a child with Asperger Syndrome requires a great deal of consideration of the specific circumstances for the individual and their family. When reviewing the options, the costs and benefits of each approach should be weighed for how they will affect the family as a whole, as well as the child with Asperger Syndrome.


Private schools may provide some relief as they tend to have smaller class sizes. Depending on the institution, some private schools will be willing to help make some adjustments to the classroom or use alternative teaching strategies with your child. Some private schools can be highly driven towards academic excellence and this may not be the right environment for a child with Asperger Syndrome. This is something you can investigate when you are looking at schools you may be considering. Home schooling can be a great option for a child who is truly unable to cope at school and who has an adult with the time and ability to reach them. The drawback lies in the lack of socialization, which can have significant consequences for a child with Asperger Syndrome. It is important for parents of a home-schooled child with Asperger Syndrome to include extracurricular activities that provide their child with an opportunity to interact with peers and develop social skills.


Q:  What is an Individual Education Plan (IEP)?

A:  An IEP is a formal plan, typically prepared by a Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT), that has been developed to provide descriptions of the exceptionalities and needs of a particular student, as well as the content and delivery of the special education program established to meet those needs. It is mandatory for a public school to develop an IEP for every student who is identified as exceptional by an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC). The IEP will include a lot of information regarding your child and their education. Included in this will be the annual goals and learning expectations for your child, method of assessment that will be used to measure your child’s progress and achievement, along with your child’s strengths and needs as related to learning.


Q:  What is an Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC)?

A: Students who receive special education accommodations must be identified as exceptional, which is the term used by the Ontario Ministry of Education (OME) interchangeably with special needs.  It is the responsibility of the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC) to decide if a student will be identified as exceptional, determine the student’s needs with reference to the OME Categories of Exceptionalities and choose a placement that will best meet those needs.


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