Accessibility, Equipment and Transportation

 

  • Accessibility at Schools
  • Individualized Equipment
  • Specialized Transportation

Accessibility of School Buildings

WCDSB is committed to providing school buildings which are accessible to the students with Special Education needs.   Historically, the Board responded to these needs by providing the necessary modifications to a school or transporting the student to the most accessible school closest to the student’s home school boundary.

During the school year 2000-01, the Ministry of Education amended Regulation 446/98 to provide boards with a one-time grant intended to provide improved access to its facilities for students with Special Education needs.   Since that time WCDSB has developed and maintained a multi-year Accessibility Plan that is responsive to its accommodation master plan and its functional equity plan.  The Accessibility Plan provides information on the Board’s progress in implementing capital improvements and accessibility improvement plans over a specified span of years.

Members of the public may access the Board’s Accessibility Plan and other related documents at:  https://www.wcdsb.ca/accessibility/index.html

Individualized Equipment and Special Equipment Amount (SEA) Processes

Special Equipment Amount (SEA) funding from the Ministry of Education can be used to assist school boards with the costs of equipment (computer/non-computer) that is essential to support students with special needs. The need for specific equipment must be recommended or determined by a qualified professional. This equipment is to provide students with access to the Ontario Curriculum and/or to demonstrate learning and /or access school.

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board has established processes where students who require individualized equipment to access the Ontario curriculum and/or to demonstrate learning, and/or access school will be provided with a variety of access methods to individualized equipment.

Equipment Claims (non-SEA)

In those instances where a student's cumulative equipment (computer and/or non-computer) needs are $800.00 or less, the following process is followed:

  • Recommendation for individualized equipment to enable a student to access the Ontario curriculum, and/or to demonstrate learning and/or access school is made by recognized professional Board personnel; i.e. Speech and Language Pathologist, Specialist Teachers of the blind, deaf or deaf/blind or Psychoeducational Consultant. Recommendations may also be made by a recognized professional through an outside source i.e. Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Speech and Language Pathologist or Psychologist.
  • Hardware/software computer equipment requests are reviewed by Special Education Technology Committee to determine eligibility, i.e. for computer software the software must be pedagogically sound and must be technically viable to operate on the school's network.
  • Efforts are made to share the equipment among several students where appropriate and possible.
  • Equipment purchased remains the property of WCDSB.

Special Equipment Amount Claims (SEA)

For students who have needs for equipment (both computer and/or non-computer), the Ministry of Education Special Equipment Amount (SEA) process is used. Eligibility for computer equipment is assessed on an individual student needs basis.

The SEA Guidelines are updated yearly by the Ministry of Education. Please use the following link to view the most recent SEA Guidelines:

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/funding/1213/2012_13_SEA_Guidelines.pdf

In those instances where many students in a school would benefit from accessing specialized equipment i.e., voice activated software, adaptive hardware, voice to text software, but do not necessarily meet Ministry requirements for a formalized equipment claim the following accessibility process has been established:

For all equipment (SEA and non – SEA) that is recommended by non-WCDSB personnel (i.e., Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Psychologist and/or Speech and Language Pathologist) board staff will ensure that the equipment is compatible with our computer system and/or is appropriate for use at school. WCDSB therefore will make every attempt to collaborate and ensure that recommendations can be implemented.

All non-computer equipment purchased is for student use at school. If parents wish equipment to be shared between home and school we assist them in pursuing ADP funding.

Students with approved SEA laptops can invoke the daily take-home privileges.  Contact the Special Education teacher at the school to initiate and complete the paperwork required for take-home privileges.

Special Education Technology Committee

  • The Special Education Technology Committee has researched hardware, software and assistive devices that would facilitate access to curriculum and demonstration of student learning.
  • The Committee has established an implementation plan whereby all schools will have access to assistive technologies designated for students with a learning profile that would require software and hardware such as, voice-to-text software, text scanning and reading software, talking word processor with word prediction or adapted access software.

Membership of the Special Education Technology Committee:

Speech and Language Pathologist Elementary Special Education Teacher
Itinerant Teacher of Vision Secondary Special Education Teacher
Psychoeducational Consultant Personal Computer Network Analyst
Special Education Resource Teacher Technology Literacy Consultant
Special Education Assistive Technology Resource Teacher  

Transportation for Students with Special Needs

The Superintendent of Corporate Services has final approval for specialized transportation.

Requests for transportation are approved based on a student's intellectual ability, behaviour, communication needs, mobility needs, and medical needs.

Special and/or alternative methods of transportation may need to be arranged to ensure the student is safely transported. All transportation drivers are informed of the student needs, and steps to follow in case of an emergency. This information is gathered collaboratively from parents and appropriate school personnel.

The process to determine if a student requires special transportation is collaborative involving the parent, the school Principal and the Superintendent of Corporate Services. The transportation operator is apprised of any additional training that may be necessary.

All transportation drivers of wheelchair vans or taxis are trained on the topics of safely securing students in the vehicle, disability awareness, emergency procedures, first aid, and in safe evacuation procedures.

When students are placed in programs outside of their home school, the Board provides transportation. This includes transportation for students who are attending Care and Treatment facilities (e.g., Lutherwood, KidsLink, Young Adult Program) and a Provincial or Demonstration School.

If permission is granted to attend a school which is not the child’s home school, the parent assumes responsibility for their child's transportation.

Transportation is also provided to:

  • secondary students in the Community Living or ACTIVE programs who participate in community/ experiential programming
  • elementary students participating in accelerated programming at a secondary school

The Parent's role in the provision of specialized transportation

It is the parents' responsibility to:

  • Inform the bus/taxi company directly if transportation is not required
  • Inform the school should the transportation no longer be required
  • Request through the school any changes in schedule times or locations, etc.
  • Work collaboratively with school staff to provide information required for any documentation required


 

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