HWDSB provides programs and services to support the learning outcomes for all students. We believe that all children can reach their full potential given sufficient time, support and instruction that meets their specific learning needs and strengths.
Here are some helpful details about special education services at HWDSB:
- We provide services and supports in a child’s home school as often as possible – an approach that requires creative, flexible, equitable and wise use of allocated school resources. It also requires strong partnerships between the home, school and community agencies.
- Our special education consultants support schools and students, leading professional development and special education processes mandated by the Ministry of Education. Special assignment teachers address the areas of differentiated instruction, assistive technology, behavioural strategies and learning disabilities.
- We provide special class placement options for exceptionalities that include: developmentally delayed, autism, deaf and hard of hearing (elementary only), gifted (grades 5 to 8 only), speech (Grade 1 only) and a comprehensive class model that addresses intellectual delays or communication disabilities. Children who are blind or have low vision are served in their home schools by itinerant teachers, as are students who are deaf or hard of hearing, should they choose to remain in their home schools and not go to special class.
- Our multidisciplinary approach – supporting students, classroom teachers and educational support staff – and our collaboration with Student Services, Curriculum and Instructional Technology are keys to the success of our special education programs.
Learn more by contacting:
John Whitwell, Principal of Special Education
firstname.lastname@example.org, 905-527-5092 ext. 2680
Intensive Support Services (ISS)
Intensive Support Services is an interdisciplinary team comprised of Teachers, Speech-Language Pathologists, Educational Assistants, Psychoeducational Consultants, Social Workers and a Communicative Disorders Assistant. We are committed to working collaboratively with colleagues and families to help students with multiple and/or complex communication and developmental needs to achieve their full potential.
Intensive Support Services help to address the complex needs of students:
- Who have significant challenges, some of which are associated with a diagnosis, including but not limited to: Angelman Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Cerebral Palsy (CP), Down Syndrome, Intellectual Disability (ID), etc. However, students with complex, communication and developmental needs do not require a medical diagnosis to access support from the team.
- At the elementary and secondary level, in regular class settings and in self-contained class settings.
- By combining a strength-based approach with principles and practices associated with Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Structured Teaching, Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) and Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS).
- By working together with schools, families and community partners to help children and adolescents develop the skills needed to belong to and participate meaningfully in their communities.
Intensive Support Services include:
- Collaborative Consultation
- Connections for Students programme for some students with ASD, in partnership with Hamilton Health Sciences
- Information and Resources
- Non-Violent Crisis Intervention – Autism (NVCI-A) Training
- Program and Individual Education Plan (IEP) support
- Elementary and Secondary Social Communication Programs
- Social Thinking and Actions in the Classroom for Kids (STACK)
- Special Class support (ASD, Developmental Disability, Multiple)
- Training and professional development to classroom, school and system based educators
- Transition Planning
With consent from the family, requests for involvement of the Intensive Support Services team are made by the school.
Intensive Support Services
Manager of Intensive Support Services
For more information, please call 905-527-5092 ext 2306
Care, Treatment and Corrections
The mission and vision of Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board Educational Programs in Care, Treatment and Correctional Facilities is that all students, including those with social, emotional, behavioural, and/or physical challenges are valued and have the right to be active participants in a positive, safe, caring and supportive educational environment.
Educational Programs in Care, Treatment and Correctional Facilities (also referred to as Section 23 Programs) is a unique teaching/learning mosaic providing a wide spectrum of individualized services to facilitate successful re-entry into the community.
Educational Programs in Care, Treatment and Correctional Facilities are funded by the Ministry of Education to allow school boards to deliver educational services to young people who are unable to attend regular community schools because they are either in care facilities (ie., hospitals), treatment facilities (i.e., children’s mental health centres) or correction/custody facilities (ie., detention centres, open custody group homes).
These programs require formal agreements between the Board and the partnering community agencies and must be approved annually by the Ministry of Education. Student admission to and demission from these programs is at the discretion of the partnering agency.
Academic programs follow Ministry of Education guidelines but are delivered in a flexible and often individualized manner.
Whenever possible, they are co-ordinated and integrated with the facility’s management and treatment programs. They are designed to maximize the educational outcomes for all Care, Treatment and Correctional Facilities students.
Instruction is offered from the primary grades to high school completion. The shared partnership goal is to help all students develop both the personal skills and academic knowledge and skills needed to successfully re-enter a community school or go on to post secondary education, job training, or employment.
A multi-disciplinary approach is ensured through collaboration with facility staff, community professionals, the student’s home school and of course, parents/guardians or caregivers.
Care, Treatment and Corrections Programs Department
Principal of Care, Treatment and Corrections Programs Department
Assistant to the Principal of Care, Treatment and Corrections Program Department
905.318.1883 ext. 221
Speech and Language Services
Key Areas of Focus
- Early Identification and Intervention of Oral Communication and Literacy difficulties
- Assisting teachers with differentiation of instruction
- Collaborating with schools, system and community personnel
- Building capacity through staff development
- Engaging parents in the programming
- Participate in System Resource Meetings – contributing specialized knowledge and resources regarding the connection between communication, learning, literacy and social development
- Assess students; abilities to meet curricular demands
- Confer with cultural-linguistic informants to distinguish second language learning issues from language disorders
- Liaise with schools, parents and community supports
- In-service educators regarding communication development, disorders, language and literacy
- Document services offered through reports
- Train and provide materials to parents, educational assistants and other school support staff
- Supervise graduate Speech-Language Pathology and Communicative Disorder Assistants’ students
- Participate in continuing professional development
- Research outcomes of services
- Offer evidence-based strategies
- Design curriculum-based modifications/strategies which can be placed on student Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
- Consult regarding program modifications and accommodations
- Serve on regular education curriculum committees
- Delivery of Making it KLLIC – Kindergarten Language Literacy in the Classroom
Communication Services Department
Manager of Communication Services
For more information, please call 905-527-5092 ext 2680
The Psychological Services Department consists of a Manager and Psycho-educational Consultants (who have advanced degrees in Psychology) and clerical support staff.
Psycho-educational Consultants offer Schools:
- Conduct psycho-educational assessments of students with learning, cognitive, behavioral and social-emotional difficulties to gain a greater understanding of students’ strengths and weaknesses
- Provide comprehensive feedback to school teams and parents on assessment findings that assist with classroom programming
- Recommend community support for students as appropriate
- Share evidence-based strategies with school teams
- Screen students for psycho-educational assessments
- Review and interpret external psychological assessment reports on students
- Provide input (as requested) into the development of a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP)
- Consult on students at schools’ System Resource Meetings
- Share student information from a psychological assessment with Identification, Placement and Review Committees (IPRCs)
- Consult with teachers and school personnel concerning students’ needs
- Share knowledge on childhood/adolescent functioning, clinical disorders and current research with teachers
- Provide reports on grade 4 students who receive individual testing as part of the Board-wide Gifted Identification process
- Offer informal, school-based in-services (as requested) on a variety of topics (e.g., understanding psycho-educational assessments, learning disabilities, nonverbal learning disability, slow learning students, memory functions, executive functioning, etc.)
- Collaborate and problem solve with schools concerning students’ mental health and behavioral challenges
- Liaise with various community service providers as required or as requested
Psychological Services offers the System:
- Training for classroom teachers and Learning Resource Teachers (LRTs) across the system on assessment strategies and techniques
- In-services for classroom teachers on various topics
- Co-ordination of Board-wide Screening and Gifted Identification process.
- Participation in student intervention and prevention programs to students
- Participates in various Ministry of Education initiatives
- Conducting internal research
- Providing expertise to various Board committees and initiatives
Psychological Services Department
Dr. Christine Gudas-Murphy
Manager of Psychological Services
For more information, please call 905-527-5092 ext 2680
Social Work Services
Social Work Services provides professional support and intervention that promotes the emotional, social educational and behavioural well-being of students. School social workers are also responsible for attendance counselling for students of compulsory school age. This service is delivered in partnership with our students, families, school staff and community.
Our vision is to support a nurturing and supportive educational environment that promotes and empowers students to reach their full potential.
Social Work Services consists of School Social Workers, Psychiatric Consultation, Supervised Alternative Learning for Excused Pupils (SAL), and administrative support.
School Social Workers provide service in both elementary and secondary schools. Each school social worker is responsible for a group of schools. The social worker assists students who are experiencing social, emotional, attendance and/or behavioural difficulties that are adversely affecting their learning.
Consultation with the social worker occurs prior to a referral. The school principal may then make a referral to the social worker following that consultation.
Parental consent is required for direct social work intervention with students who are under 18 years of age (except for compulsory school attendance issues).
Parents who choose to educate their children at home (home schooling) may contact Social Work Services (or the home school principal) to complete a Notice of Intent.
Social Work Services Department
Manager of Social Work Services Department
For more information, please call 905-527-5092 ext 2680