Counselling and advisory services are available to all our students and Sara Village School provides academic support to students who need additional help to succeed at school. Some of these students have been identified as having a specific learning disability, however we do not provide services for students who need considerable academic support, and our school does not have a special education department. A student whose first language is not English is not assumed to have a learning difficulty or disability, as per the legal definition, though some of these children may have learning disabilities as well.
How does a child qualify for services?
A teacher may refer a particular student to the Learning Support Teacher (LST), who will then follow the referral process, which includes contact with parents, other teachers, and possible testing. Initial assessment is done by the LST, and the ISG Educational Diagnostician provides more in-depth assessment if that is deemed necessary. If a child is found to have a specific learning disability, then a Learning Support Plan (LSP) will be put in place, and the students will receive regular academic support in the area of need.
When will the child receive academic support?
Once the LSP has been signed, the LST will set a schedule to work with the student. Typically, the LST and student work together one-on-one or in a small group. The LST works with the student in the classroom or on a pull-out basis, generally for about 35 minutes, one or more days a week. The LST collaborates with the classroom teacher to determine the best time for service.
My child is not a native English speaker and is struggling in school. Does he/she have a learning disability?
It is possible that the student may have a learning disability, but that cannot be assumed. It takes time to become proficient in a second or third language, especially written language. It is recommended that you speak with the student's teacher(s) about your concerns. How can I tell if my child has a learning disability?
Many students will need extra help at some time during their education, but only a few will need that extra help for some or all of their time in school. Some areas that indicate possible special educational needs include the following: difficulty in thinking and understanding; physical or sensory difficulty; speech and language difficulty; difficulty relating to other people; and behaviour problems. Observation and testing help determine if there is a true learning disability.
If questions or concerns arise, parents are encouraged to consult the classroom teacher. Teachers will make every effort to find a time that is mutually agreeable for discussing student progress and parents' concerns or questions. Parents are always encouraged to talk to teachers first. If administrative assistance is required, the teacher can then arrange for a consultation with parents, the teacher and an administrator or counsellor.