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May 20, 2009 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
May 20, 2009

A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Wednesday, May 20, 2009, at 7:00 p.m.

Present Trustees:
Elaine Crawford, Co-Chair
Helen Brown

Ann Goodfellow
Paula Murray
Present Staff:
Marg Akey, Supervising Principal
Kristin Check, School-to-Community Coordinator
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Kathy McVety Kavanagh, Special Education Program Coordinator
Steve Ward, Vice-Principal, Educational Services        
Beth Woodley, Supervising Principal and Executive Assistant
Present Members:
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
John Freeman, Member-at-Large (Queen's University)
Pat LaLonde, Autism Society
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

Charlene Whalen, Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington

Stacey deSavoye, Kingston Military Family Rsource Centre
Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB SEAC
Hastings-Prince Edward DSB SEAC
MaryLynn Cousins Brame, SSLI Coordinator
Michael Garrah, Manager, Pathways for Children and Youth

The meeting was chaired by Kathy Bennett, who welcomed those present to the meeting.  She introduced Ann Goodfellow, Chair of the Limestone District School Board.

Chair Goodfellow welcomed those in attendance, saying it was nice to have members of the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board and Hastings-Prince Edward District School SEAC’s present at this evening’s joint meeting.  She also welcomed our other guests who were present.

“Effects of Deployment on Children”

Ms. Akey introduced Stacey deSavoye, a social worker at the Kingston Military Family Resource Centre.

Ms. deSavoye thanked the Special Education Advisory Committee for inviting her to this evening’s meeting to provide information about “Deployment: The Mental Health Effects on Children”.

Ms. deSavoye stated that the Kingston Military Family Resource Centre (KMFRC) is a registered non-profit, charitable organization that supports and enhances the health and well-being of the military community.  KMFRC is Kingston’s primary agency dedicated to meeting the unique needs of the military community.  It provides opportunities to empower the military community and enhance their health and well-being through programs and services that promote community development and provide social, educational and career opportunities.

Ms. deSavoye provided an overview of the KMFRC, as follows:

•       In partnership with administration of Canadian Forces Base Kingston
•       Governed by an elected, voluntary Board of Directors comprised of a minimum 51% military spouses
•       Draws its mandate from the military community, appropriately qualified professionals and volunteers

Ms. deSavoye provided the following information:

•       Number of clients: 182
•       Number of contacts: 641
•       Over 1870 hours of face-to-face interaction
•       Child and Adolescent: 37%
•       Individual Counselling: 45%
•       Family Counselling: 18%

Status of Referral

•       Deployment related: 45 families
•       Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: 8 families
•       Imposed Restriction (IR): 10 families
•       Families Living On Base: 43 families
•       RMC: 4 students

Reasons for Referral

•       Family/Parenting Issues
•       Marital Issues
•       Mental Health Issues
•       Family Violence Issues
•       Adjustment Issues

Ms. deSavoye reported that there are 62,000 regular Canadian Armed Forces members, 21,000 Reserve Canadian Armed Forces members, and 4,000 Ranger members.  She advised of the locations where Canadian Forces members are deployed.

Ms. deSavoye provided the following information:

CFB Kingston

•       Over 8,000 people work at CFB Kingston
•       In 2008, CFB Kingston deployed 474 members
•       CFB Kingston houses the greatest number of Canadian Forces members, reservists, civilians working at CFB Kingston and RMC students.  CFB Kingston is now considered the largest base in Canada

Adjustments that Children of Canadian Forces Families May Face

•       Multiple moves
•       Absent parents (course & deployment)
•       Complex family structures
•       Language barriers
•       Change in school systems
•       More responsibility at home
•       Mental health concern
•       Parental separation/divorce
•       Exposure to alcohol
•       Postings where resources are limited
•       Increased awareness of political situations
•       Sensitivity to death

Contributing Factors to Adjustment

•       Child emotional development
•       Developmental stage of a child
•       Emotional development of each parent
•       Stability of parents’ marriage
•       Reaction from “home” parent to “absent” parent
•       Parent satisfaction with military
•       Level of community social support
•       How reunion is handled

Ms. deSavoye reviewed Piaget’s stages of development.  She further reviewed the physical, social, emotional, intellectual and language impact of separation on children.

Ms. deSavoye reviewed the tools she uses to get children to express themselves, as follows:

Crafts and Drawings

•       Allow free expression of subconscious emotions
•       Distract children from realizing that they are actually discussing difficult emotions
•       Drawings allow kids to define what information that they will release to you, not defined by the facilitator.  As a result, the child feels that there is control over emotions
•       The child is able to work at his/her creative level, not one dictated by the “logical” construct of adults

Feelings Faces

•       Based on four basic emotions (happiness, sadness, anger, fear)
•       Identify a memory that reflects each emotion
•       The child must qualify each drawing
•       Order of drawing is decided by the child


•       Otherwise known as a Family Map
•       Identify male/female by geometric shapes and colours
•       Identify who they consider family
•       Asked to link and qualify relationships using coloured lines

Courses of Action

        •       Magic 125
        •       Rainbows
        •       Additional MFRC social workers
        •       In School Soldier Program

        •       In school social workers where deployment is high
        •       Canadian Equivalent of Camp Purple

        •       Individual child and Adolescent Therapists across MFRCs
        •       Data standardization within the social worker community

CFB Resources

•       Military Resource Centres
•       Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program
•       Services Income Security Insurance Plan
•       Base Hospital (Psycho-Social for CF Members)
•       Operational Stress Injury Social Support
•       Mission Information Line

Take Home Thoughts

•       Believe in the power of one
•       Anyone is capable of listening and believing in a child
•       You are a referral agent
•       It takes a village to raise a child

Kathy Bennett thanked Ms. deSavoye for providing the above-noted information.

Ms. deSavoye and Trustee Goodfellow withdrew from the meeting.

Approval of Agenda

MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Pat LaLonde, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved.–Carried


MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Nadine Carson, that the minutes of April 15, 2009, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Student Support Leadership Initiative (SSLI) Update

Supervising Principal Akey introduced Supervising Principal Woodley and MaryLynn Cousins Brame, SSLI Coordinator.

Ms. Woodley advised that about one year ago, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services got together on an initiative to support children at risk around mental health issues and students on long-term suspensions and expulsions.  She said that the province was divided into clusters, and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic, Hastings-Prince Edward and Limestone District School Boards, the Children Services Steering Committees in these counties, and the City of Kingston are Cluster 20.  Ms. Woodley said that part of the initiative was to get together with representatives of these groups to plan what we wanted to do over a three-year period.  She said that MaryLynn Cousins Brame was hired by Cluster 20 to further the goals of the initiative.

Ms. Cousins Brame said that the Student Support Leadership Initiative is a joint project with the Ministry of Education connected to amendments to safe school provisions and related policy/program memoranda, and with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services connected to “A Shared Responsibility: Ontario’s Policy for Children and Youth Mental Health”.  She said that the purpose of the project is to foster leadership within and across school boards and community agencies to establish or enhance local partnerships that will better meet the needs of students and families through collaborative planning, coordination and referrals.

Ms. Cousins Brame stated that the provincial goals are as follows:

•       improved understanding of each cluster member’s services
•       improved joint decision-making process
•       improved access to existing services and supports for students and families

Ms. Cousins Brame indicated that Cluster 20's additional goal is to explore ways to enhance current protocols.  

Ms. Cousins Brame provided the following information:

•       Hastings-Prince Edward – The Integration with Education Subcommittee is currently drafting protocol for Transitions to kindergarten for children with special needs

•       KFL&A – The Integration with Education Subcommittee is developing collaborative systems to support students while on long-term suspension or expulsion and to assist in the transition back to school

Ms. Cousins Brame provided the following information related to Provincial Involvement:

•       Cluster 20 – a chosen sample Cluster to work with the Centre of Excellence
•       Role – to assist in enhancing provincial understanding and knowledge of system needs
•       Opportunities for improvement in leadership and partnership development across sectors
•       to provide input into policy direction and best practice

Ms. Akey said that further information will be provided at a future meeting.

Ms. Bennett thanked Ms. Woodley and Ms. Cousins Brame for providing the above-noted information.  Ms. Woodley and Ms. Cousins Brame withdrew from the meeting.

Collaborative Services Delivery Model “Connections for Students”

Ms. Akey introduced Michael Garrah, Pathways for Children and Youth, who was present to bring his organization’s point of view concerning “Connections for Students”.

Ms. Akey said that the Collaborative Services Delivery Model “Connections for Students” is Phase II of the work we have been doing.  She advised that the Model is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, noting it was developed to look at improving the continuity of supports for children and youth with autism as they move into and through school.  The program focuses on achieving seamless transitions from the Autism Intervention Program to school.

Ms. Akey reported that the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board was one of the pilot boards involved in Phase I of the program, and we have worked closely with them and have benefitted from the work they are doing.

Ms. Akey stated that the Ministers’ ASD Reference Group recommended improved supports for student with ASD, including key transition points such as entry to school.  She said that these will be more coordinated and seamless transitions for students who are ready to make the transition from the Autism Intervention Program (AIP) to school.  She advised that staff will work with autism support service providers, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists before the child is discharged from the AIP.  She said that Transition teams will draw on the ABA and ASD expertise of both board level staff and ASD consultants in the School Support Program in the planning and delivery of ABA instructional methods.

Ms. Akey advised that Lori Bryden was the lead staff person at the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board Phase I.  She further advised that next year, Kristin Check is the lead staff of this project for the Limestone District School Board Phase II.

Mr. Garrah distributed copies of the memorandum that introduced “Connections for Students”.  He said that this is an exciting initiative for Pathways for Children and Youth.  He said that previously Pathways for Children and Youth was limited in their work as it could not review the student’s assessment, history, etc.; staff at Pathways for Children and Youth had to work on what educators told them the situation was.

Mr. Garrah said that the recommendations made by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Children and Youth Services provides services for the ASD population much more effectively.

Mr. Garrah reported that in 2007, PPM 140 was introduced which supported the Applied Behaviour Analysis program.  He said that funding was provided for that through the Geneva Centre to facilitate training for educators within the province.  He indicated that the Algonquin and Lakeshore DSB was the lead board for that program locally for Phase I.  He said that in Phase I, a number of boards were selected provincially, and each board was allowed to choose a project that they believed enhanced the services for children with ASD.  

Mr. Garrah said that “Connections for Students” was very prescribed about supporting transitions of young people.  He said that the main purpose was to create more confidence around parents for schools to take children with ASD and work with them after the Autism Intervention Program.  He said that they wanted seamless transitions for the students.

Mr. Garrah stated that the main goal of the program is to develop a school transitions plan.  He further stated that the key members on the Transitions team are the teachers who are involved with the child, the principal or designate, parents, and the ASD Consultant.  He indicated that the Transitions team can also invite other people in as necessary to develop a transitions plan to facilitate the young person moving into school successfully.

Mr. Garrah advised that the service starts six months from the child’s discharge from the AIP, noting that with parental consent, the school board invites the school support program to sit on the Transitions team.

Mr. Garrah advised that by the spring of 2010, every school board in the province has to be involved in the “Connections for Students” initiative.  He said that Phase II involves 16 boards provincially and every autism provider within the province under the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.  He said that in Phase II, there is an evaluation that will be looking at mentoring and looking at ways to share expertise.  He advised that the LDSB is a board associated with Pathways for Children and Youth in the southeast region.

Mr. Garrah stated that the other board involved is the Upper Canada District School Board, noting that they are working with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Autism Intervention Program.  He said that because part of the Upper Canada District School Board is in Ottawa, and part of it is here, they are working to support a plan for the Upper Canada DSB.  Mr. Garrah indicated that three of five boards within the region are working with Pathways for Children and Youth, noting that they are the Limestone DSB, Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB, and the Upper Canada DSB.  He reported that the Hastings-Prince Edward DSB and the Catholic School Board of Eastern Ontario will be brought into their services in the future.

Mr. Garrah reported that 12 children are being discharged from the AIP program in this region; five from Limestone DSB, four from Algonquin and Lakeshore DSB, and three from the Upper Canada DSB.  Mr. Garrah said that his organization is involved in the Belleville, Kingston and Brockville areas.

In response to comments from Pat LaLonde, Mr. Garrah said that the 12 children who are being discharged are not being discharged at the same time.  He said that they are already in school.  He said that we are taking the IBI and transferring to ABA practices that are being implemented in the school within reason.  He said that a child is being discharged and the school is moving forward with a program that is ABA based, and Pathways is there to support schools doing that.

Pat LaLonde referred to the children being discharged in June and asked how the teams will share information with the school and educational assistants during the summer months, when we do not know who the educational assistants are for the children.  She said that the Autism Intervention Program will be cut off at the end of June.  Ms. Akey said that we have not received all of the information yet.  Ms. LaLonde said that the summer break does cause some difficulty as everything is shut down.  Ms. Akey said that continuing to provide transitions to each case will be on its own merit.  LDSB will ensure transitions are implemented on case by case basis.

Kristin Check said that the students that might be transitioning in June will be our priority.  She advised that we are just getting staffing in place for the project.  She said that there is a Transitions meeting in June for students being discharged, and we will make sure there is an action plan in place for September, and that an instructional team is in the school.

Ms. Akey said that the plan for “Connections for Students” is that the AIP program will work with a child for six months before demission and the school will work up to six months after demission.  The School Support Program, SSP/ASD, will support in both time frames.

Ms. Bennett thanked Mr. Garrah for providing the above-noted information.

Mr. Garrah, Brad Shoniker and John Freeman withdrew from the meeting.

Trustee Crawford advised that the breakout meetings will be held at this time.


Ms. Akey advised that a letter was received from the Lakehead Public School’s SEAC asking that the Minister of Education look closely at removing some information from the School Information Finder of the Ministry.  Their concern is that the website is detrimental to schools.  Ms. Akey said that she will investigate this matter further.

Other Business

Ms. Akey advised that the LDSB is undertaking a review of its Choices at 7 programs – LEAP and Challenge.  She advised that SEAC has been invited to respond to an on-line survey about these programs.

Ms. Akey advised that the LDSB 2008-2009 Special Education Plan reports on what the Board has done, and indicated that some SEAC members have indicated that they would review the document. She said that the 2008-2009 Special Education Plan will be placed on the next SEAC agenda.  She said that we have clear information that the Special Education Plan will be included in the Board’s Improvement Plan, as well as in the School Improvement Plans.

Association Updates

Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston   

Mr. Williams advised that Blues Fest is up and running, and the next one will be held the weekend of June 14, 2009, at Lake Ontario Park.  He further advised that they are winding up their work, and are preparing for the fall.  They are organizing  their October workshops.

Epilepsy Kingston

Ms. Carson reported that W5 did a show on epilepsy, and advised that if you go to their website, there is a link that takes you to the highlights of the show.  She commented on the Montreal Procedure, a surgical procedure to help treat 20% of the population that does not benefit from medication.

Ms. Carson commented on Glenn Fenster’s bike rides to raise funds for epilepsy.  She advised that he will be in Kingston on Friday, and that representatives from Epilepsy Kingston hope to meet with him.  She advised that information about his bike rides can be found at

Ms. Carson advised that the cover of Newsweek’s April publication has information about epilepsy.  She said that there is a good article included in the magazine that brings epilepsy to the forefront.

Autism Society

Pat LaLonde provided information about the AGM which is being held at Loblaws on Midland Avenue, on June 10, 2009, at 5:30 p.m.  She said that the meeting will be at 5:30 p.m., and the guest speaker will speak at 7:00 p.m.

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, June 3, 2009, at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, at 6:30 p.m.


MOVED BY Pat LaLonde, seconded by Nadine Carson, that the meeting adjourn at  9:10 p.m.–Carried