Once you get to know how things work, it can be easy to work with the school to help your child.

The following is based on programs provided in Ontario. Most provinces are similar, but you should consult your province’s education ministry for specifics. If your child has autism, read our article on autism at school.

When you approach your school with concerns about your child IN WRITING, the school is required by law to convene an Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC).

What does the IPRC do?

The IPRC will assess your child, decide whether or not a special program is needed and decide what type of program is needed. Things to remember:

  • Do not wait for the school to suggest an IPRC. Send a request in writing.
  • Bring all evaluations done by doctors and therapists (this includes hearing tests, neurologist reports, diagnoses, and speech-language reviews).
  • You have the right to bring anyone you feel can contribute to the discussion. This can include an advocate, a therapist, a caregiver or anyone you think has valuable insight when it comes to your child.
  • Coming out of the IPRC, your child should receive an Individual Education Plan (IEP) within 30 days.

What is an IEP?

An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is a written document that outlines the programs and services tailored specifically for your child. It also outlines the learning expectations for your child. The IEP must be reassessed every year. Things to remember:

  • The IEP often gets put in a drawer and forgotten. Keep track and make sure your child is receiving the education laid out in the IEP.
  • Bring your concerns to the principal as soon as you notice a problem. Do not be afraid to rock the boat.
  • Sometimes there is wiggle room. If you find a school that is better suited for your child’s needs but is outside your district, talk to the principal of that school about the possibility of your child attending. They may be able to accommodate you.
  • Make sure you get everything in writing. Verbal promises mean nothing and the school can easily deny the promise.

Remember that you are legally entitled to an IPRC if you request one in writing. The school is there to help your child learn and if that’s not happening, you have every right to demand it.