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Special Education/Learning Services

Welcome to the Special Education page.  This page features information and resources for parents regarding special education within our board.  For more information regarding services that are offered, parents are encouraged to contact their child's school.

Social Media Update

Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB) is expanding its social media presence to better reach parents/guardians with timely updates and information!
Image with call to action to "like", "follow" or "Subscribe" to new BWDSB social media pages: Facebook: YouTube: Bluewater DSB Director on Twitter: @BWDSBDirector

Image of Applied Behaviour Analysis Demonstration Classroom at Hanover Heights Community SchoolStaff Training to Support Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

A demonstration classroom referred to as "The Zone" launched in January 2016 at Hanover Heights Community School to facilitate training for elementary and secondary educators on how to incorporate Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) principles into programs for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  Some of the many areas covered in the training include an introduction to Structured Learning, the criteria for diagnosing ASD, functions of behavior, data collection, communication, self-regulation, and social skills.  In addition to further aligning with Ministry of Education guidelines, the project reinforces Bluewater’s commitment to its priority surrounding student well-being. Thus far, 27 educators have been through the program.

What is Special Education?

All students require support from teachers, classmates, family, and friends in order to thrive and to gain full benefit from their school experience. Some students have special needs that require supports beyond those ordinarily received in the school setting. In Ontario, students who have behavioural, communicational, intellectual, physical or multiple exceptionalities, may have educational needs that cannot be met through regular instructional and assessment practices. These needs may be met through accommodations, and/or an educational program that is modified above or below the age-appropriate grade level expectations for a particular subject or course. Such students may be formally identified as exceptional pupils. The ministry sets out definitions of exceptionalities that must be used by school boards after determining that a student is an “exceptional pupil”.

All students formally identified as exceptional by an Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC) must have access to an education that will enable them to develop the knowledge and skills they need in order to participate in the life of Ontario's communities. The Education Act on Special Education and Regulations made under the Act require school boards to provide exceptional pupils with special education programs and special education services that are appropriate for their needs. Specific procedures for the identification and placement of exceptional pupils are set out in Regulation 181/98. This regulation also provides for the regular review of the identification and placement of a student and for the appeal of identification and/or placement decisions with which parents/guardians disagree. The document, Highlights of Regulation 181/98, is available on this website.

What is an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC)?

The purpose of the IPRC as outlined in the Education Act is:

  • to identify the pupil as exceptional
  • to recommend placement
Placement options:

A regular class with indirect support
The student is placed in a regular class for the entire day, and the teacher receives specialized consultative services.

A regular class with resource assistance
The student is placed in the regular class for most of or all of the day and receives specialized instruction, individually or in a small group, within the regular classroom, from or under the direction of a qualified special education teacher.

A regular class with withdrawal assistance
The student is placed in the regular class and receives instruction outside of the classroom for less than 50 per cent of the school day, from or under the direction of a qualified special education teacher.

A special education class with partial integration (in order to best support student need)
The student is placed by the IPRC in a special education class where the student-teacher ratio conforms to Regulation 298, section 31, for at least 50 per cent of the school day, but is integrated with regular class for at least one instructional period daily.

A special education class full time (in order to best support student need)
The student is placed by the IPRC in a special education class, where the student-teacher ratio conforms to Regulation 298, section 31, for the entire school day.

What is an Individual Education Plan (IEP)?

An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is a written plan.  It is a working document that describes the strengths and needs of an individual exceptional pupil, the special education program and services established to meet that student’s needs and how the program and services will be delivered.  It also describes the student’s progress.

As directed by the Ministry, school boards must develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for every identified student. These procedures are outlined in the Bluewater District School Board's Special Education Plan, specifically the section relating to the development of Individual Education Plans (IEP).

Reasons for developing an IEP

An IEP will be developed for one of the following reasons:

  • an IEP must be developed for every student who has been identified as an “exceptional pupil” by an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC), in accordance with Regulation 181/98

  • an IEP may be developed for a student who has not been formally identified as exceptional, but who has been deemed by the board to require special education programs or services in order to attend school or to achieve curriculum expectations and/or whose learning expectations are modified from or alternative to the expectations set out for a particular grade level or course in a provincial curriculum policy document

Where do I get more information about Special Education?

For additional information on Special Education in Ontario, please visit the Ministry of Education website relating to this topic.

What is the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)?

Ontario’s Education Act stipulates that every exceptional student is entitled to special education programs and services meeting his or her unique needs.

The Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) is mandated by the Ministry of Education and Training and every Board is required to establish a SEAC.

The committee, which is appointed by the board, is made up of representatives of local associations, community agencies, trustees and student trustees/senators of the board.  Student Services staff provide support and resources for the committee.

What does SEAC do?

SEAC makes recommendations to Bluewater District School Board on matters concerning the establishment and development of special education programs.

SEAC members participate in the annual review of the board’s Special Education Plan.

SEAC members participate in the board’s annual budget process as it relates to special education.

SEAC members provide updates from their agencies and associations.

SEAC members participate on committees and attend workshops dealing with special education.

SEAC members provide information and support to parents, teachers and schools as requested.

SEAC members advocate for all children.

For detailed information about the history and function of SEAC please visit,

What are the 2019-2020 SEAC Priorities?

SEAC Priorities for 2019-2020 are:

  • SEAC Voice and Student Voice
  • Student/Home/School - Working Together
  • Communication

How can I get involved in SEAC?

Bluewater District School Board is looking for additional members for their Special Education Advisory Committee.  Please see file below.

Website info How to Join.pdf

© 2013 - Bluewater District School Board