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Special needs schools—or special needs programs housed within conventional schools—cater to students who have been diagnosed with any degree of physical disability, mental disability, learning disability, communicative disorder or behavioural disorder.


pecial need programs also include those who are learning English as a second language (French in Québec) or who have been assessed by a professional as “gifted.” Placement is voluntary andit is determined by a school’s policy and the best interests of the student. There is an official process for placement, outlined by the educational authority governing the location of the special needs school or program. By law, all public schools are required to have special education programs. There are also several support services that may be offered to a child with special needs, including: Child and Youth Workers, Educational Resource Workers, Psychology Staff, Social Work Staff, as well as Speech/ Language/Hearing and Vision Staff. However, schools are not always able to meet the specific special needs of a child.

Depending on the needs of the student, different learning programs may be designed. Each student receives an individual education plan, which reflects what disability that have and what accommodations they will receive. Some students may receive fully independent educational programs, while others may be partially or fully integrated into a classroom. Educational Assistants may be assigned, depending on the specific needs of a student (i.e. sign-language, mobility assistance, etc.). The official website of the school board in the area will contain more detailed information about the special needs provisions available at specific schools within that board.