Wednesday, 13 July 2011

What kind of options are out there for special needs kids? TORONTO

Once provincial funding runs out, or expires, what kind of options are available for children on the spectrum, children with down's syndrome, or children who require more support than mainstream education can provide?  In pursuing the future, and moving forward what kinds of options exist for our special kids?

1. Getting in with the public or religious board:
The Catholic School Board is a huge proponent of full integration, so that's what you can expect from a placement therein. Like in most boards, EAs are provided based on need; EAs typically tend to several children in the class over the period of the day.

The Public district in Toronto has several options within it; there are classes specifically for children with DDs, in addition to those which act as academic support during specific times of need. Many schools in Toronto consult with psychologists and support that ABA should be implemented in many cases. (google: PPM 140)
It all looks good on paper but it's up to each school to ensure proper delivery. The public board is strict about who is allowed to work in their school, so supplying your own support is usually out of the question. Sometimes, volunteer support staff will be permitted.

2. Intervention: Intervention usually looks like between 10-40 hours of therapy a week targeting a range of skills from gross-motor to self-help. As the child develops, programs are adjusted and adapted for relevance and maximum functionality. Intervention is useful in cases where group learning is incompatible with development, and/or when goals are best targeted in a contrived way. A success intervention addresses all domains of development, including behavioral patterns which interfere with learning and/or skill acquisition. Intervention is available privately, or through ABA Centers, Educational Centers and Private Schools.

3. Home-school is an option for parent's who cannot find what they are looking for in the school's in their area. For parents that like to take a hands-on role in determining goals, setting standards and monitoring progress this may be an option to consider. Professionals would come into your home, and under your supervision and hopefully as a team, you would develop a course of action. This option is not ideal for a child already struggling to generalize across setting, but may be a suitable alternative for other children.

4. Private ABA Schools are an option for parents who want less strict adherence to Ministry policies (though many private schools do use the Ontario Ministry Curriculum, it is not required). For children that have gone through the ABA and IBI stream, an ABA School program is often the next step to meaningful learning. Tuition ranges from 15,000-40,000 annually
There are a handful of places delivering ABA school based services; to get more information on these places please contact us at

5. Private NON ABA Schools are an option for parents who are not seeking the integration of ABA Therapy into their child's future development. Typically, private schools will allow you to bring in your own professionals to support the overall success of your child within the classroom. This may be useful if your child has sensory or environmental considerations and/or physical considerations. Be weary of assessment procedures which could not possibly effectively evaluate a child's capabilities, I have seen many. Tuition ranges from 15,000-40,000 annually

6. After-Hours Social Skills Academies exist to provide meaningful extra curricular activities to kids who require additional support development relationship and expanding social skills. Programs usually run on the weekend and go for 2 or 3 hours depending on the age group; social skills programs are like summer camp all year long, and gives many of our kids one of their only chances to focus only on supported socialization.

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