Slide 1

Report
Children with Special Needs
in Full Day Early Learning
Margaret van Beers
Leeds Grenville Lanark Special Needs Reference Group
September 28, 2010
“The smartest thing we can do right
now – to make a major
contribution to Ontario’s future – is
to ensure that all Ontario children
have an even-handed opportunity
to succeed in school, become
lifelong learners, and pursue their
dreams. Our best future depends
on it!” Pascal, 2009
• The LGL Special Needs Reference Group
formed in February 2010
• It is associated with the Best Start tables of
Lanark and Leeds and Grenville
• Purpose: to take a tri-county approach to
identifying concerns and questions around
full day early learning and children with
special needs, to act as a reference to the
three local school boards, and to determine
how best to advocate for children with special
needs throughout the implementation
process of full day early learning.
• Membership:
School Boards, Infant and Child
Development Programmes, Preschool
Speech and Language, Association for
Community Involvement, Children’s
Mental Health, Children’s Treatment
Centre, Best Start Planners, Southeast
Autism Program, Special Needs
Resource Programmes
• As a group of service providers
we are very excited about the
introduction of universal full day
learning for ALL four and five year
olds in Ontario, thus marking the
government’s commitment to a
strong early learning system in
Ontario.
Why is inclusive education
important?
Inclusion assumes that children with
special needs are part of the regular
stream and should be treated as such.
Inclusion is based on Wolfensberger's
principle of normalization (i.e., all
persons regardless of ability should
live and learn in environments as close
to normal as possible)
The basic idea behind normalization is
that people with special needs should
be viewed in the ways in which they
are the same as other people rather
than in the ways in which they are
different. School can be seen as a
microcosm of the larger society. As
Canadian society has moved toward a
more inclusive view of all individuals,
so too have schools moved toward
inclusion.
www.edu.uwo.ca
Challenges- 1.Reduced
hours in Schools
• Modified days and suspensions
• Deemed not “school ready”
• Encouraged to go back to child
care provider
2. Decreased Capacity of
Child Care Centres
• Some child care settings may
close due to loss of revenue
• Potential challenges retaining
ECE staff- wages
3. Ratios
• How will children with special
needs cope in an environment
with higher teacher/child ratios?
• School ratios of 1:13 even higher
than child care settings where
currently the ratio for children at
age 4 & 5 is 1:8
“To fully benefit from full-day early
learning for 4- and 5year-olds, we must
deal with the chaotic mix of child and
family services we currently have in
our communities. It would be
ineffective and costly to layer a new
program on top of a web of unsolved
problems. We must turn a jumble of
children’s programs into a child and
family service system that closes the
gaps and offers a continuum of
services for children from birth to age
12.” Pascal 2009
4. Current Services for
Children with Special Needs
 Concern about the role that current providers
of service to children with special needs will
have in the early learning program
 Concern about space in schools to provide
treatment
 How to integrate services that currently exist
for children with special needs with the new
early learning program in schools
5. Parent engagement
 We operate out of a family
centred care framework, and our
services are community based.
How does this translate into the
new early learning program?
6. Community Agency
Capacity
• As more children in full day
learning are identified with special
needs, we anticipate an increase
in referrals to community agencies
and increase in wait time
Family Centred Care
• Respect and dignity. Health care
practitioners listen to and honour patient and
family perspectives and choices. Patient and
family knowledge, values, beliefs and cultural
backgrounds are incorporated into the
planning and delivery of care.
• Information Sharing. Health care
practitioners communicate and share
complete and unbiased information with
patients and families in ways that are
affirming and useful. Patients and families
receive timely, complete, and accurate
information in order to effectively participate
in care and decision-making.
• Participation. Patients and families are
encouraged and supported in participating in
care and decision-making at the level they
choose.
• Collaboration. Patients and families are also
included on an institution-wide basis. Health
care leaders collaborate with patients and
families in policy and program development,
implementation, and evaluation; in health
care facility design; and in professional
education, as well as in the delivery of care.
www.ipfcc.org
Recommendations
• There must be a community
protocol for transition planning
from pre-school services to school
building on what currently exists.
• Accommodations will need to be
made as necessary regarding the
environment, including physical
space, the routines, and the
curriculum
• Support by policy
• Families must be included in the
early learning program
 We need to learn about each
other’s models and workplace
cultures, and incorporate the best
of what we have to offer for
families.
• We believe that current
programming that benefits
children with special needs should
be maintained, if not expanded.
 To be successful many of the
existing community services for
children with special needs will
need to be integrated into the
school day.
 Build on what currently exists and
so a variety of services providers
may need to come into the school.
 Flexibility for the child to attend
appointments away from school
“Early Development takes place in
the context of families and
communities and is shaped by the
day-to day experiences and
environments of early life. The
steady drip of daily life establishes
pathways for lifelong learning,
behaviour and health that are
inextricably linked to the
development of the whole child”
Early Learning for Every Child Today, 2007
Questions?/Thank You

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