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Supporting Students with Disabilities within the UCDSB
Supporting Students with Disabilities within the UCDSB
Posted on 12/02/2021
Supporting Students with Disabilities within the UCDSB

Our mission is to prepare all students for a successful life, and our students with physical or cognitive disabilities are provided with adapted programming, individualized resources and supports to ensure they get equitable education experiences. We strive to empower students with disabilities and to teach all students about inclusiveness.

With December 3 being International Day for Persons With Disabilities (IDPWD), we wanted to share some of the UCDSB resources and programs we have available for students with disabilities:

Life Skills Program – In some of our secondary schools, students receive programming that helps them develop life and self-care skills to gain independence so that they can prepare to live in their communities. Some of our students go on and participate in Community Living programs. 

Everyday Speech – This is a digital program that we have introduced throughout the UCDSB to help students develop social interaction and social emotional learning skills. Students learn through video modelling of students their age demonstrating a wide variety of social skills. Topics include: how to understand another person’s perspective, self-regulation, identifying feelings and emotions, conversation skills, play skills, school rules and many more.

Sensory rooms – Most schools have at least one room that is dedicated for students to have a “body break” if they need it.  Different rooms serve different purposes;  some students need a space to increase their energy while others need a space to calm themselves using strategies and materials specifically designed to bring them back to calm.  Sensory rooms are used by a wide variety of students, especially our students who may be on the Autism Spectrum. Going to a sensory room is a necessary and scheduled part of some students’ programming while others use it as needed. 

Individualized Equipment  –  Many of our students have equipment assigned to them so that they can access the curriculum with their classmates.  Sometimes the equipment is a computer, iPad or a sound system.  Other times the equipment is a trike to help students move freely around the school or work on their physiotherapy or occupational therapy goals. The UCDSB works with all of our partners to ensure that our students have the equipment they need at school to develop independence.

With this year’s IDPWD theme focused on “fighting for rights in the post-COVID era,”  we know the pandemic has had a significant impact in our school communities, including students with disabilities. Recognizing this, our special education teams were creative and innovative in working with students and families remotely when physical classrooms were closed.

We welcomed our students with the highest needs to in-person learning during the last school closure in order to provide them with the supports they needed that were not able to be duplicated at home.

For students with special education needs that remained at home, specific materials were created and shared with families digitally or sometimes, even delivered to their home, so that students could continue to work on skills either virtually with their teacher or with a parent/guardian at home.

As we learn from this pandemic, our staff and entire school board continue to create more opportunities for our students with disabilities to help them in their education journey. 
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