Identification, Placement and Review Committee

 

  • About IPRC
  • IPRC Parent Guide
  • Function and Membership
  • WCDSB IPRC Process
  • IPRC Annual Reviews
  • What Happens at the IPRC Review?
  • IPRC Placement Options
  • Categories and Definitions of Exceptionalities

Function and Membership

Regulation 181/98 requires that all school boards establish one or more Identification, Placement and Review Committees (IPRC´s).

An IPRC shall:

  1. determine whether or not the pupil should be identified as exceptional
  2. where the committee has identified the pupil as an exceptional pupil, identify the areas of exceptionalities according to Ministry categories and definitions
  3. decide an appropriate placement
  4. provide reasons for placement if deciding for placement in a special class

Ministry of Education links:

WCDSB IPRC Process

The provision of Special Education services in WCDSB is not dependent upon the Identification Placement and Review Committee process. In some Boards, provision of service to students is tied to the IPRC process. This can often be a time consuming process, the end result being the identification of an exceptionality, placement and the provision of an Individual Education Plan or IEP. In some cases, a student is placed in a congregated setting. Not all students in other Boards have to wait for an IPRC to have an IEP developed, but it is a very common practice.

In the WCDSB, the model for Special Education Process is used to bring the provision of service to a student in a timely fashion. We do hold formal IPRC proceedings, usually at parent request, but the vast majority of students in our system go through this process and on to an IEP without having to wait for an official IPRC determination.

The IEP for each student is reviewed each reporting period in conjunction with the report card. For students who have had an IPRC, an Annual Review of the IPRC must be offered to the parent/guardian on a yearly basis. If desired, the parent/guardian can waive the IPRC Annual Review (this must be done in written form and filed in the OSR).

This provision of service is very much in line with our philosophy of inclusion. Our Board has followed an inclusionary model for a long time. Other Boards have shifted toward inclusion as well, and where service was once almost exclusively driven by the IPRC, there are now a variety of ways that students receive service.

The Special Education Transformation Report of May 2006 recognized the need to improve the balance between a focus on teaching, learning and related student outcomes, and the need for appropriate process, documentation and accountability in Special Education. As a result, in two recent Deputy memoranda to school boards (October 12, 2006 and November 30, 2006), the ministry asked boards to examine their IPRC practices such that when both the board and the parent agree that the student's placement will be in the regular classroom, an IPRC is not required.

IPRC Annual Reviews

The following is an overview of the IPRC Annual Review Process.

Why Schedule an IPRC Review?

IPRC's are a formal process as dictated by Regulation 181/98. This regulation mandates that for every student who has been IPRC'd in a school Board, an IPRC Review meeting must be held a minimum of once every school year. The only exception is if the parent informs the school Principal in writing that this meeting does not need to occur. Parents and/or the school Principal have the right to request an IPRC Annual Review once every 3 months.

What is the Purpose of an IPRC Review?

The main purpose of the IPRC Review is to consider the original placement and identification decisions and determine if they should be continued or whether a different decision should be made.

Placement only refers to the following:

A regular class with indirect support. The student is placed in a regular class for the entire day, and the teacher receives specialized consultative services.

A regular class with resource assistance. The student is placed in a regular class for most or all of the day and receives specialized instruction, individually or in a small group, within the regular classroom from a qualified Special Education Teacher.

A regular class with withdrawal assistance. The student is placed in a regular class and receives instruction outside of the classroom for less than 50% of the school day, from a qualified Special Education Teacher.

A Special Education class with partial integration. The student is placed in a Special Education class where the student-teacher ratio conforms to Regulation 298, section 31, for at least 50% of the school day, but is integrated with a regular class for at least one instructional period daily.

A Special Education class full time. The student is placed in a Special Education class, where the student-teacher ratio conforms to Regulation 298, section 31, for the entire school day.

Placement does not refer to any of the following:

  • Grade level;
  • A student studying a subject or course at a different grade level i.e. a student in grade 4 studying Mathematics at the grade 6 level; a student in grade 8 studying English at the grade 9 level;
  • A student participating in alternate programming i.e. Advanced Placement courses, UCEP, enriched Mathematics classes etc.

Therefore, neither of these statements should be noted as a placement option.

Identification refers to the students area of exceptionality. Identification only refers to the following:

  • Behaviour
  • Communication
    • Autism
    • Deaf and Hard of Hearing
    • Language Impairment
    • Speech Impairment
    • Learning Disability
  • Intellectual
    • Giftedness
    • Mild Intellectual Disability
    • Developmental Disability
  • Physical
    • Physical Disability
    • Blind and Low Vision
  • Multiple

What Happens at the IPRC Review?

The IPRC Review considers the same type of information that was originally considered at the initial IPRC. The main focus should be on the student's strengths and needs. As noted above, the IPRC will determine if the area of exceptionality is the same or needs to be changed; as well as determining the placement.

The discussion may also include recommendations regarding Special Education programs and services. Parents need to understand that the IPRC has the authority to make recommendations about Special Education programs and services for the student, but it does not have any decision-making power in this respect. Recommendations regarding programs and services cannot be appealed. The parent must provide written permission for the discussion to include the progress the student has made in relation to the IEP.

The Process

The school sends the parent(s) and student if they are 16 years of age or older, an invitation to attend the IPRC Annual Review.

Note that the parent may request an IPRC Review once every 3 months, but they must do so in writing. The same timelines exist for the IPRC Review as the original IPRC process. This means that if the parent provides a written request for an IPRC Review, within 15 days the school Principal must let the parent know, in writing, approximately when the IPRC Review will occur. If the parent chooses to waive the right to hold the IPRC Annual Review they must do so in writing. The Principal of the school will chair the meeting and record the results of the IPRC Annual Review. Parents are asked to sign the form.

The Principal of the school will ensure the correct distribution of the forms which includes the Superintendent of School Support Services. Regulation 181/98 states that a designated representative of the Board must receive a copy. It is an expectation that the Special Education Teacher and Classroom Teacher (in elementary) attend the IPRC Review. Student Services personnel may be invited to attend as appropriate.

After the IPRC Annual Review

After receiving the Statement of Decision resulting from an Annual Review, the parent may request a follow-up meeting. This request must be made within 15 days of receiving the Statement of Decision, and the request for a follow-up meeting with the IPRC must be made in writing. The Principal should make every effort to accommodate this follow-up meeting as soon as possible. If at the follow-up meeting different decisions are made, the Principal must revise the Statement of Decision and provide written reasons for the changes. The Principal will ask the parent to consent to the revised identification and/or placement decision.

Parental Disagreement with the IPRC Decision:

If the parent disagrees with the decision at the IPRC Annual Review they may:

  • Within 30 days of the IPRC Annual Review decision, file a notice of appeal with the Secretary of the Board;
  • Within 15 days of receiving the decision from the second meeting, file a notice of appeal with the Secretary of the Board.

If the parent does not supply written consent to the identification or placement, but also does not appeal, the school Board may implement the placement decision. In this case, the Principal will notify the parent of the action taken.

IPRC Placement Options

Regular class with indirect support
The student is placed in a regular class for the entire day, and the teacher receives specialized consultative services.

Regular class with resource assistance
The student is placed in the regular class for most or all of the day and receives specialized instruction, individually or in a small group, within the regular classroom from a qualified special education teacher.

Regular class with withdrawal assistance
The student is placed in the regular class and receives instruction outside of the classroom for less than 50% of the school day, from a qualified special education teacher.

Special education class with partial integration
The student is placed by the IPRC in a special class where the student-teacher ratio conforms to Regulation 298, section 31, for at least 50% of the school day, but is integrated with a regular class for at least one instructional period daily.

Special education class full time
The student is placed by the IPRC in a special education class, where the student/ teacher ratio conforms to Regulation 298, section 31, for the entire day.

Categories and Definitions of Exceptionalities

Ministry of Education Regulation 181/98 requires that all school boards establish one or more Identification, Placement and Review Committees (IPRC's). The IPRC is composed of at least 3 persons, one of whom must be a principal or supervisory officer of the board. The IPRC meets and decides if a student should be identified as an exceptional pupil, and if so must designate a category of exceptionality according to the categories and definition of exceptionalities established under subsection 8 (3) of the Act. The IPRC must also decide upon a placement for the exceptional student.

Areas of Exceptionality

There are 5 categories of exceptionality: (1) Behaviour, (2)Communication, (3) Intellectual, (4) Physical, and (5) Multiple Exemptions


I. Behaviour

Emotional Disturbance and/or Social Maladjustment

Definition: A learning disorder characterized by specific behaviour problems over such a period of time, and to such a marked degree, and of such a nature, as to adversely affect educational performance; and that may be accompanied by one or more of the following:

  • an inability to build or to maintain interpersonal relationships;
  • excessive fears or anxieties;
  • a tendency to compulsive reaction;
  • an inability to learn which cannot be traced to intellectual, sensory or other health factors, or any combination thereof

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II. Communication

1. Autism

Definition: A severe learning disorder that is characterized by:

  1. disturbances in:
    • rate of educational development;
    • ability to relate to the environment;
    • mobility;
    • perception, speech, and language;
  2. lack of the representational-symbolic behaviour that precedes language

2. Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Definition: An impairment characterized by deficits in language and speech development because of diminished or non-existent auditory response to sound (i.e., hard of hearing, deaf).

3. Language Impairment

Definition: A learning disorder characterized by an impairment in comprehension and/or the use of verbal communication or the written or other symbol system of communication, which may be associated with neurological, psychological, physical, or sensory factors and which may:

  1. involve one or more of the form, content, and function of language in communication;
  2. include one or more of the following:
    • language delay;
    • dysfluency;
    • voice, and articulation development which may or may not be organically or functionally based

4. Speech Impairment

Definition: A disorder in language formulation that may be associated with neurological, psychological, physical or sensory factors; that involves perceptual motor aspects of transmitting oral messages; and that may be characterized by impairment in articulation, rhythm, and stress.

5. Learning Disability

Definition: A learning disorder evident in both academic and social situations that involves one or more of the processes necessary for the proper use of spoken language or the symbols of communication, and is characterized by a condition that:

  1. is not primarily the result of:
    • impairment of vision;
    • impairment of hearing;
    • physical disability;
    • developmental disability;
    • primary emotional disturbance;
    • cultural difference;
  2. results in significant discrepancy between academic achievement and assessed intellectual ability, with deficits in one or more of the following:
    • receptive language (listening, reading);
    • language processing (thinking, conceptualizing, integrating);
    • expressive language (talking, spelling, writing);
    • mathematical computations;
  3. may be associated with one or more conditions diagnosed as:
    • a perceptual disability;
    • a brain injury;
    • minimal brain dysfunction;
    • dyslexia;
    • developmental aphasia.

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III. Intellectual

1. Giftedness

Definition: An unusually advanced degree of general intellectual ability that requires differentiated learning experiences of a depth and breadth beyond those normally provided in the regular school program to satisfy the level of educational potential indicated.

2. Mild Intellectual Disability

Definition: A learning disorder characterized by:

  1. an ability to profit educationally within a regular class with the aid of considerable curriculum modification and supportive services;
  2. an inability to profit educationally within a regular class because of slow intellectual development;
  3. a potential for academic learning, independent social adjustment, and economic self-support.

3. Developmental Disability

Definition: A severe learning disorder characterized by:

  1. an inability to profit from a special education program for students with mild intellectual disabilities because of slow intellectual development;
  2. an ability to profit from a special education program that is designated to accommodate slow intellectual development;
  3. a limited potential for academic learning, independent social adjustment, and economic self support.

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IV. Physical

1. Physical Disability

Definition: A condition of such severe physical limitation or deficiency as to require special assistance in learning situations to provide the opportunity for educational achievement equivalent to that of pupils without exceptionalities who are the same age or development level.

2. Blind and Low Vision

Definition: A condition of partial or total impairment of sight or vision that even with correction affects educational performance adversely (i.e., limited vision, blind).


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V. Multiple Exceptionalities

Definition: A combination of learning or other disorders, impairments, or physical disabilities, that is of such a nature as to require, for educational achievement, the services of one or more teachers holding qualifications in special education and the provision of support services appropriate for such disorders, impairments, or disabilities.


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  • IPRC Parent Guide
  • What is an IPRC?
  • What Programs are Available?
  • Who May Refer to the IPRC?
  • What Happens At An IPRC Meeting?
  • What Organizations are Available to Assist Parents?
  • Categories and Definitions of Exceptionalities

IPRC Parent Guide

"As disciples of Christ, we educate and nurture hope in all learners to realize their full potential to transform God's world."



The Education Act requires each school board to provide appropriate programs and services to all students regardless of their needs. The purpose of this parent guide is to explain the particular procedures that have been developed by our Board to assist students with special needs.

Parent's Guide to the IPRC - Full PDF
IPRC Parent Guide PDF

What is an IPRC?

Regulation 181/98 requires that all school boards set up an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) composed of a Superintendent, the Principal of the student's home school and the Special Education Teacher of the student's home school. This committee, along with other appropriate school or resource personnel, the parent(s), and the student (if the student is 16 years of age or older) meets at the student's school to discuss the student's needs.

The purpose of the IPRC is to determine whether or not the student should be identified as exceptional. Upon identification the IPRC will describe the student's strengths and needs, identify the student's area(s) of exceptionality according to Ministry of Education categories and definitions, decide an appropriate placement and recommend Special Education programs and services.

At least once every school year, the identification and placement are reviewed.

Who Is An Exceptional Student?
An exceptional student is one who's behavioural, communicational, intellectual, and physical or multiple exceptionality is such that he/she is considered to need placement in a Special Education program. Students are identified according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education.

What is a Special Education Program?
A Special Education program is based on and modified by the results of continuous assessment and evaluation; and includes a plan (called an Individual Education Plan or IEP) containing specific objectives and an outline of Special Education services that meet the needs of the exceptional pupil.

Special Education services are the facilities and resources, including support personnel and equipment, necessary for developing and implementing a Special Education program.

What Is An Individual Education Plan (IEP)?
Each exceptional student must be provided with an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The IEP must be developed in consultation with the parent(s) and must include:

  • the specific educational expectations for the student;
  • an outline of the Special Education program and services to be received by the student;
  • a statement of the methods by which the student's progress will be reviewed;
  • where the student is 14 years of age (or older) the IEP must include a plan for transition to appropriate post-secondary school activities, such as work, further education and community living.
The IEP must be completed within 30 days after the student has been placed in the program, and the parent(s) will receive a copy of the completed IEP.

What Program Placements Are Available for Exceptional Students?

At the Waterloo Catholic District School Board the placement of first choice is within the classroom of the student's home school. We consider it important that all children be an integral part of their peer group.

1.  Classroom Placement
Many students with special needs are taught within the classroom setting with appropriate program accommodations/modifications.

2.  Classroom Placement with Special Education Support
At times, a student may be withdrawn from his/her classroom to address specific areas of need. The student continues in the regular classroom program, but receives additional support from Special Education personnel. The amount of support is dependent upon the particular needs of the student.

3.  Alternative Programs
Students with behavioural exceptionalities may be referred to a congregated setting for a limited period of time with parental approval. In addition, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board operates the educational component of four government approved care, treatment, custody and correctional facilities (ISA-4). Placement of a student in a centre is at parental request or referral and is a decision made by the parent, student (if appropriate) and treatment centre. Please see Programs section of WCDSB Special Education website for more information.

At times it is necessary for our school board to purchase the services of another school board to access the most appropriate program and services to meet the needs of an exceptional student. Parental consent is required prior to placing the student.

Demonstration Schools
The Ministry recognizes that some students with learning disabilities require more intensive intervention. One of the basic objectives of demonstration schools is to develop the abilities of the students to a level that will enable them to return to programs operated by their home board.

The Demonstration Schools are:

  • Trillium School, Milton (905) 878-8428
  • Amethyst School, London (519) 453-4408
  • Sagonaska School Belleville (613) 967-2830

Provincial Schools
The Ministry also operates provincial schools for the deaf, blind and deaf-blind.

The Provincial Schools are:

  • W. Ross Macdonald School, Brantford (519) 759-0730
  • Ernest C. Drury School, Milton (905) 878-2851
  • Robarts School, London (519) 453-4400
  • Sir James Whitney School, Belleville (613) 967-2823
  • Centre Jules-Legér, Ottawa (613) 761-9300

Who May Refer to the IPRC?

The parent(s) or school principal may refer a child to an IPRC. In the case of a parent-initiated referral, a written request by the parent(s) must be submitted to the school principal.

Within 15 days of receiving a parent(s) request or giving a parent(s) notice, the principal must provide the parent with this guide and a written statement of approximately when the IPRC will meet. The principal and parent(s) should come to a mutual agreement as to a reasonable period of time for assessment activities. The parent(s) will be kept informed of the progress of the referral and assessment process.

Parent Involvement
Parents and students 16 years of age or older are invited to be present at and participate in all committee decisions about the student; and are invited to be present when the committee's identification and placement decision is made.

Who Else Can Attend the IPRC Meeting?
The student's classroom teacher, board support staff, or the representative of an agency, who may provide further information or clarification;

  • parent(s) representative – a person who may support the parent or speak on behalf of the parent(s) or student; and
  • an interpreter, if one is required. Parental requests for the services of an interpreter can be made through the principal of the student's school.

Either the parent(s) or the student's Principal may request the attendance of others at the IPRC meeting.

What Information Will Parents Receive About the IPRC?
Two weeks in advance of the meeting, parents will receive written notice of the meeting indicating the date, time, place of the meeting, and a request for parents to indicate whether they will attend.

Before the IPRC meeting occurs, parents will receive a written copy of any information that has been gathered about the student. This may include the results of assessments or a summary of information. Informed written parental consent is required for all assessment procedures.

What if Parents Are Unable to Make the Scheduled Meeting?
If parents are unable to make the scheduled meeting they may:

  • contact the school principal to arrange an alternate date and time; or
  • let the school principal know they will not be attending,

As soon as possible after the meeting, the Principal will forward to the parent(s) for consideration and signature, the IPRC's written statement of decision. The decision of identification and placement and any recommendations regarding Special Education programs and services will be noted.

What Happens At An IPRC Meeting?

The chairperson introduces everyone and explains the purpose of the meeting. The IPRC will review all available information about the student. The committee will:

  • consider an educational assessment of the student;
  • consider a health or psychological assessment by a qualified practitioner if it is felt such an assessment is necessary to make a correct identification or placement decision;
  • interview the student, with parent(s) consent if the student is under 16 years of age, and the committee feels it would be helpful to do so; and
  • consider any information that parents submit or that the student submits if he/she is 16 years of age or older.

The committee may discuss any proposal about a Special Education program or Special Education services for the student. If the committee recommends a Special Education class, it must state its reasons.

IPRC Written Statement of Decision
The IPRC's written statement of decision will state:

  • identification of the student as exceptional/not exceptional;
  • the area of exceptionality as defined by the categories and definitions of any exceptionalities identified as defined by the Ministry of Education;
  • a description of the student's strengths and needs;
  • placement decision;
  • recommendations regarding Special Education programs and services;
  • where the IPRC decides that a student should be placed in a Special Education class, the reasons for that decision.

What Happens After the IPRC Decision?

  • If parents agree with the decision, they will be asked to indicate by signing the statement of decision.
  • If the IPRC has identified the student as exceptional, and parents agree with the identification and placement decision, the student's school will be notified of the need to develop an IEP for the student.

Review of a Special Education Program

  • a review IPRC meeting or annual review meeting will occur at least once a year unless the principal of the school receives written parental notice dispensing with the annual review.
  • parents can request a review IPRC meeting any time after the student has been in a Special Education program for 3 months.

What Does a Review IPRC Consider and Decide?

  • the review IPRC considers the same type of information that was originally considered with parental written permission,
  • the review will consider the progress the student has made in relation to the IEP
  • the IPRC will review the placement and identification decisions and decide whether they should be continued or whether a different decision should be made.

With the IPRC What Can Parents Do If They Disagree With Decision?

Every attempt will be made to resolve parent concerns at the interview with the committee, which has the power to change the original identification and/or placement. If however, the parent(s) do not agree with either the identification or placement decision made by the IPRC, they may:

  • Within 15 days of receipt of the decision, request that the IPRC hold a second meeting to discuss parents(s) concerns: or
  • Within 30 days of receipt of the decision, file a notice of appeal with the Secretary of the Board.
  • If parents do not agree with the decision after the second meeting, parents may file a notice of appeal within 15 days of receipt of the decision.
  • If parents do not consent to the IPRC decision and do not appeal it, the principal will be directed to implement the IPRC decision.

How to Appeal an IPRC decision

If parents disagree with the IPRC's identification of the student as exceptional, or the placement decision of the IPRC, parents may, within 30 days of receipt of the original decision or within 15 days of receipt of the decision of the second meeting, give written notification of their intention to appeal the decision to the Director of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, 35 Weber St. W., Kitchener, Ontario.

The notice of appeal must:

  • indicate the decision with which the parent(s) disagree; and
  • include a statement that sets out the parent(s) reasons for disagreeing.

What Happens in the Appeal Process?
 
The appeal process involves the following:

  • The board will establish a Special Education appeal board to hear the appeal. The appeal board will be composed of 3 people (one of whom is selected by the parent(s) who have no prior knowledge of the matter under appeal).
  • The chair of the appeal board will schedule a meeting at a convenient time and place, but no later than 30 days after they have been selected as chair (unless both parents and the board give written consent to a later date).
  • The appeal board will receive the material reviewed by the IPRC and may interview people who may be able to provide information about the matter under appeal.
  • The parent(s) and the child; if he/she is 16 years of age or older, may be present at, and participate in, all discussions.
  • The appeal board must make its recommendation within 3 days of the meeting. It            may: 
    • agree with the IPRC and recommend its decision be implemented; or
    • disagree with the IPRC and make a recommendation to the board about the student's identification, placement or both.

The appeal board will provide a written report of its recommendations to the parent(s) and to the board. The report will include the reasons for its recommendations.

Within 30 days of receiving the appeal board's written statement, the board will decide what action to take (boards are not required to follow the appeal board recommendation).

Parents can accept the decision or appeal to a Special Education Tribunal. Information about making an appeal to the tribunal will be included in the appeal board's decision.

What Organizations are Available to Assist Parents?

Many community organizations are available to provide information and support to parents. Members of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board's Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) are:

  • K-W Association for Community Living
  • Community Living Cambridge
  • Mosaic Counselling Centre
  • Learning Disabilities Association
  • Association for Bright Children, Waterloo Region
  • Easter Seals Society, Ontario
  • Ontario Association for Families of Children with Communication Disorders
  • Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy
  • Waterloo Regional Police
  • Waterloo Regional Down Syndrome Society
  • Autism Society Ontario, Waterloo County Chapter, Cambridge Chapter
  • K-W Voice for Hearing Impaired Children
  • Family & Children's Services of Waterloo Region

Where Can Parents Obtain Additional Information?
Parents are encouraged to contact their school Principal or the Student Services Coordinator at the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, 35 Weber St. W., Kitchener, Ontario (519) 578-3660 for further information.
Parents are also invited to check the Community Resources, Links and Partnerships section of the WCDSB Special Education website.

If parents require the IPRC Parent Guide in Braille, large print or audio format they are encouraged to contact Student Services at the Waterloo Catholic District School Board 35 Weber St. W., Kitchener, Ontario (519) 578-3660.

Categories and Definitions of Exceptionalities

Ministry of Education Regulation 181/98 requires that all school boards establish one or more Identification, Placement and Review Committees (IPRC's). The IPRC is composed of at least 3 persons, one of whom must be a principal or supervisory officer of the board. The IPRC meets and decides if a student should be identified as an exceptional pupil, and if so must designate a category of exceptionality according to the categories and definition of exceptionalities established under subsection 8 (3) of the Act. The IPRC must also decide upon a placement for the exceptional student.

Areas of Exceptionality

There are 5 categories of exceptionality: (1) Behaviour, (2)Communication, (3) Intellectual, (4) Physical, and (5) Multiple Exemptions


I. Behaviour

Emotional Disturbance and/or Social Maladjustment

Definition: A learning disorder characterized by specific behaviour problems over such a period of time, and to such a marked degree, and of such a nature, as to adversely affect educational performance; and that may be accompanied by one or more of the following:

  • an inability to build or to maintain interpersonal relationships;
  • excessive fears or anxieties;
  • a tendency to compulsive reaction;
  • an inability to learn which cannot be traced to intellectual, sensory or other health factors, or any combination thereof

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II. Communication

1. Autism

Definition: A severe learning disorder that is characterized by:

  1. disturbances in:
    • rate of educational development;
    • ability to relate to the environment;
    • mobility;
    • perception, speech, and language;
  2. lack of the representational-symbolic behaviour that precedes language

2. Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Definition: An impairment characterized by deficits in language and speech development because of diminished or non-existent auditory response to sound (i.e., hard of hearing, deaf).

3. Language Impairment

Definition: A learning disorder characterized by an impairment in comprehension and/or the use of verbal communication or the written or other symbol system of communication, which may be associated with neurological, psychological, physical, or sensory factors and which may:

  1. involve one or more of the form, content, and function of language in communication;
  2. include one or more of the following:
    • language delay;
    • dysfluency;
    • voice, and articulation development which may or may not be organically or functionally based

4. Speech Impairment

Definition: A disorder in language formulation that may be associated with neurological, psychological, physical or sensory factors; that involves perceptual motor aspects of transmitting oral messages; and that may be characterized by impairment in articulation, rhythm, and stress.

5. Learning Disability

Definition: A learning disorder evident in both academic and social situations that involves one or more of the processes necessary for the proper use of spoken language or the symbols of communication, and is characterized by a condition that:

  1. is not primarily the result of:
    • impairment of vision;
    • impairment of hearing;
    • physical disability;
    • developmental disability;
    • primary emotional disturbance;
    • cultural difference;
  2. results in significant discrepancy between academic achievement and assessed intellectual ability, with deficits in one or more of the following:
    • receptive language (listening, reading);
    • language processing (thinking, conceptualizing, integrating);
    • expressive language (talking, spelling, writing);
    • mathematical computations;
  3. may be associated with one or more conditions diagnosed as:
    • a perceptual disability;
    • a brain injury;
    • minimal brain dysfunction;
    • dyslexia;
    • developmental aphasia.

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III. Intellectual

1. Giftedness

Definition: An unusually advanced degree of general intellectual ability that requires differentiated learning experiences of a depth and breadth beyond those normally provided in the regular school program to satisfy the level of educational potential indicated.

2. Mild Intellectual Disability

Definition: A learning disorder characterized by:

  1. an ability to profit educationally within a regular class with the aid of considerable curriculum modification and supportive services;
  2. an inability to profit educationally within a regular class because of slow intellectual development;
  3. a potential for academic learning, independent social adjustment, and economic self-support.

3. Developmental Disability

Definition: A severe learning disorder characterized by:

  1. an inability to profit from a special education program for students with mild intellectual disabilities because of slow intellectual development;
  2. an ability to profit from a special education program that is designated to accommodate slow intellectual development;
  3. a limited potential for academic learning, independent social adjustment, and economic self support.

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IV. Physical

1. Physical Disability

Definition: A condition of such severe physical limitation or deficiency as to require special assistance in learning situations to provide the opportunity for educational achievement equivalent to that of pupils without exceptionalities who are the same age or development level.

2. Blind and Low Vision

Definition: A condition of partial or total impairment of sight or vision that even with correction affects educational performance adversely (i.e., limited vision, blind).


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V. Multiple Exceptionalities

Definition: A combination of learning or other disorders, impairments, or physical disabilities, that is of such a nature as to require, for educational achievement, the services of one or more teachers holding qualifications in special education and the provision of support services appropriate for such disorders, impairments, or disabilities.


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