Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Half of Ontario schools cap special-education assessments

Special Needs Assistive Devices

Half of Ontario schools cap special-education assessments

Globe and Mail Update

The report, by parent advocacy group People for Education, found that 47 per cent of secondary and 50 per cent of elementary schools have a cap on the number of students they can recommend for assessment. To read the full report, click here.

Among the findings in the report:
  • An average of 18% of elementary students and 24% of secondary students require some form of special education assistance. These numbers have increased steadily over the last decade.
  • 47% of secondary schools and 50% of elementary schools report there is a cap on the number of students who can be recommended for special education assessments.
  • 80% of elementary schools in Eastern Ontario reported a cap on waiting lists, compared to 32% of schools in the GTA
  • 37% of elementary schools in Northern Ontario report they have no access to psychologists.
  • 34% of elementary schools and 23% of secondary schools report that not all students with identified special education needs are receiving the recommended support.
  • The ratio of elementary special education students to special education teachers is 37 to 1 this year, an increase from 22 to 1 in 2001.
  • In secondary schools, the special education student-teacher ratio is 64 to 1, up from 48 to 1 in 2001.

The caps were most common in Eastern Ontario, where 80 per cent of elementary schools reported having one in place. Across Ontario, school board psychologists are being stretched thin, and most schools see just a handful of students – often just three or four – assessed each year. Principals are forced to prioritize the neediest cases, and parents are being driven to pay privately to have their children assessed, a process which can cost as much as $2,500.


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