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February 17, 2010 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
February 17, 2010

A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held in the Board Room at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, ON, on Wednesday, February 17, 2010, at 7:00 p.m.

Present Trustees:
Elaine Crawford, Co-Chair
Paula Murray
Joan Young, Student Trustee
Present Members:
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
Pat LaLonde, Autism Ontario
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
Charlene Whalen, Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston
Present Staff:
Marg Akey, Supervising Principal
Kristin Check, Coordinator, Project Lead “Connections for Students”
Scot Gillam, Principal, Educational Services
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Kathy McVety-Kavanagh, Special Education Program Coordinator
Steve Ward, Vice-Principal, Educational Services

Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
John Freeman, Member-at-Large (Queen’s University)
Drew Boyce, School-to-Community Coordinator

        The meeting was chaired by Trustee Crawford, who welcomed those present to the meeting.  

Approval of Agenda

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

Approval of Minutes

        MOVED BY Nadine Carson, seconded by Brad Shoniker, that the minutes of the January 20, 2010 meeting, as amended, be approved.

        Pat LaLonde reported that she should be marked as present at the January 20, 2010 meeting.  She further reported that the minutes should be amended on page 6 to include the following information:

        “Pat LaLonde indicated that April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day and requested that the Limestone District School Board do something to acknowledge this day.  Kristin Check stated that since April 2nd is Good Friday, they would do something on another day.”

        The motion was called and Carried.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder

        David Williams introduced Donna Clarke-McMullen, Clinical Educator at Hotel Dieu Hospital, Kingston, noting that she would provide information about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD).

        Ms. Clarke-McMullen thanked SEAC for inviting her to this evening’s meeting to share information about FASD.  She advised that the FASD Action Network was established in 2002, noting that the Limestone District School Board has been supportive thus far.

        Ms. Clarke-McMullen said that she would provide an overview as to where to go for diagnosis, red flags, overlapping behavioural characteristics, management, and resources available.  She presented the following information:

Where to go for a Diagnosis

•       CDC for children (under 6 years)
        •       Assessed for general developmental delay including FASD
        •       Physician referral
•       St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto (all ages)
        •       Call and request a questionnaire
•       Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (all ages)
        •       Physician referral
        •       Fill in genetics referral form
•       Kingston Genetics Clinic (all ages)
        •       Rule out other disorders
        •       If facial features will make a diagnosis

Medical Diagnosis

•       Complex Diagnosis
•       Could be other explanations
•       Psychological assessment key information
•       Earlier the better for outcome

Primary Disabilities

•       Physical
•       Central Nervous System (the brain)
•       Behavioural and Learning

Central Nervous System (the brain)

•       Learning problems
•       Behavioural problems
•       Fine and gross motor coordination difficulties
•       Sensory sensitivity
•       Regulation problems
•       Social/communication difficulties


•       IQ is often above 70
•       Adaptive functioning is often low
•       Typically acts younger
•       Concrete thinking, poor memory

Red Flags

•       Inconsistencies
•       “Something” doesn’t quit fit with diagnosis
•       Lying
•       Stealing
•       Lack of guilt after misbehaving “don’t get it”
•       Acts without thinking
•       Odd mix of physical attributes
•       Do not respond to the medications or Treatment as expected

Distinguishing Features

•       Acts too young for age
•       Can’t concentrate/poor attention
•       Can’t sit still/restless/hyperactive
•       Disobedient at home
•       No guilt after misbehaviour
•       Impulsive/acts without thinking
•       Lying or cheating

        Ms. Clarke-McMullen reviewed skills and the development age equivalent associated with the skills.  She also reviewed the overlapping behavioural characteristics of FASD and related mental health diagnosis in children information.


•       92% of individuals with FASD have ADHD, noting that not all individuals with ADHD have FASD

FASD and Mental Health

•       FASD is primarily a neuro-psychiatric condition, of which most features are permanent.  
        (Information from St. Michael’s Hospital, 2007)

Differential Diagnosis

•       Oppositional Defiant Disorder
•       Conduct disorder
•       Depression
•       Anxiety, panic attacks
•       Personality disorder
•       Obsessive/compulsive disorder
•       Autism
•       Genetic syndromes
•       Acquired brain injury
•       Developmental delay

Key to Interventions

•       Diagnose early
•       Control Environment – Not the person
•       Use medications with caution
•       Consider underlying organic brain dysfunction

Behaviour Management

•       Behaviour modification does not work.
•       People with FASD have information processing deficits that impair their ability to store and retrieve information, form associations, and predict outcomes.
•       Behaviour modification is based on using these processes.
•       Provide an “External Brain” instead.

        Ms. Clarke-McMullen stated that one should not try harder to help a person with FASD, but one should try differently.

Working with Families

•       Early identification and intervention
•       Help get accurate diagnosis
•       Shed light on maternal history
•       Link to helpful resources
•       Support with practical things
•       Help set up good habits
•       Adapt the environment
•       Advocate
•       Be creative

FASD Learning and Sharing Group

•       Local caregiver support group (next meeting is Thursday, March 4, 2010 at Community Living Kingston, 1412 Princess Street, Kingston)
•       Meets monthly
•       Contact through Community Living Kingston at 613-546-6613

FASD Ontario

Working Groups:
•       Diagnosis and disability working group
•       Intervention and Support
•       Justice Committee
•       Prevention
•       Urban Aboriginal
•       Provide
        •       A newsletter
        •       Support group directory
        •       List of diagnostic services
        •       Provincial advocacy

        Ms. Clarke-McMullen reviewed a number of resources that are available.

        Trustee Crawford thanked Ms. Clarke-McMullen for her excellent presentation.

Educational Services Update

        Principal Gillam provided an Educational Services Update, as follows:

Professional Learning

•       Feb. 1 PA Day – review of system and Ministry messages and an opportunity to review IEPs and provide feedback – DLC teachers and Section 23 teachers also worked on IEPs in the morning and Section 23 teachers continued their journey with Essential Elements for CTCC classrooms.
•       Dr. Sian Phillips – Attachment Disorder
•       Learning For All – Program Team and Supervisors (January 2010), Principals (February 23 and 24), Secondary Administrators (March 5), Educational Services staff (March staff meeting), Elementary Vice-Principals (Spring 2010)
•       Developmental Disabilities Course – ongoing, well-attended
•       Special Education AQ – Part 1
•       Differentiated Instruction – Elementary Vice-Principals and SSTs (February 25)
•       ABA Core Curriculum – May 13 and 14 (50-60 educational assistants) at Geneva Centre
•       ABA Approach to Transition Planning – Geneva Centre – Elementary SCS Teachers, classroom teachers and educational assistants from “Connection” sites, SCS and Autism Team members
•       Understanding Behaviour in Students with ASD – hosted by Community Living Kingston (April 23, 2010) – open to Learning Program Support (LPS) teachers, “Connections” teachers, representatives from Autism Team and SCS Team.  If room, other teachers who are interested
•       Secondary SCS Professional Learning Session – January 29 – supporting students with ASD, ABA principles, course selection process, post secondary transitions, community agencies and programs

Ministry Initiatives and Information

•       Early Learning – Educational Services will monitor preschool transitions at the sites carefully and assist with needs assessments
•       Assessing Achievement in Alternative Areas (A4) – Scot Gillam, Drew Boyce, Carrie Guy and Jessi Lalonde are working on the Board’s area for Alternative curriculum; Independent Living Skills is the umbrella.  Working teams will meet in Smith Falls on March 23 to begin to put the region’s work together
•       JK-1 CODE Project – February 19 in Smith Falls – team consisting of administrators, teachers, speech language pathologists and clinical consultants are looking at intervention strategies for JK-1 students – comprehensive report and recommendations


•       SEA – over 170 claims (150 computers) – shorter wait times with fewer staff, once claims processed, in the hands of students faster than larger boards.
•       QE Pilot Project – Five Occupational Therapy students will be on placement at QECVI two days a week until April, then for two weeks they will work with LPS teachers, Student Success teachers, Literacy teachers and classroom teachers to provide opportunities to build teacher capacity with respect to AT, specifically Premier and Smart Ideas – also support Grade 9 and 10 with SEA equipment

Information Items

•       Building Bridges – the Board’s partnership with Pathways around Grade 8-9 Transitions for students with ASD – 10 participants this year – parent/student information on February 18 – M. Dopking, Alexis Stefanovich–Thomson & Doug Hawley from Pathways will be hosting
•       Preschool Transitions Workshop – Eva Carlin, Drew Boyce and Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson – February 12 – workshop planned and organized by agency partners like CDC and Community Living; included our coterminus board, Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School board – well attended – focus on preparing for transition into JK or Early Learning
•       Autism Program Referrals – referral packages have been distributed
•       SEEDS Program – 81 Grade 7 and 8 students from 15 LDSB schools registered for February SEEDS Program – offered by Enrichment Studies Unit at Queen’s University
        SEEDS in Residence or SIR runs in May and June – 4-day programs – registration takes place from February 9-19
•       E=mc2 Program – registration occurs from March 2-10 and the programs runs in May – a representative from Enrichment Studies Unit at Queen’s University will speak to LPS teachers at the February 25 LPS meeting
•       On-Line to Success – 24 Grade 11 and 12 students from six LDSB secondary schools have registered for the OLTS program through the Regional Assessment and Resource Centre (RARC)
•       Grade 8-9 At-Risk Transitions – March-May – complete a detailed transition framework that has been developed by Steve Ward and other Educational Services personnel, includes many partners including Educational Services and school staff
•       New Behaviour Learning Centre at Rideau PS
•       Easter Seals – Scot Gillam is one of 26 team representatives for LDSB at the telethon

Programming for Students in Secondary SCS Programs During Examination Periods

        Supervising Principal Akey advised that she and Scot Gillam met with Alan McWhorter at Community Living Kingston on Monday, January 25, 2010, noting that Don Neilson, Community Living North Frontenac; Danielle Carnegie, Community Living Kingston; SEAC member Brad Shoniker, Ongwanada; Kelly Henry, alternate for Family and Children Services Lennox and Addington; and Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston SEAC representative and Co-Chiar of the SEAC were also in attendance.

        Ms. Akey said that the history of the work we had done over the past year together to plan for the support of our students in the Board’s SCS programs was shared.  They talked about the School Year Calendar Regulation 304 and the direction in the Regulation regarding examination days.  She reported that they talked about the fact that there are ten examinations days, and that the “summative days” are days when our students should be in attendance.  The philosophy of inclusion that both the LDSB and Community Living Support was also discussed, as well as the ambiguity of the comments that Mr. Finlay made in his response to Mr. Moir.  Ms. Akey reported that the matter of school not being suspended during the examination time period nor a student being exempted from school during this time period was clarified.

        Ms. Akey stated that she did share the Collective Agreement requirements, noting that our teachers in our SCS Programs do not have as much planning time in their daily timetables as their secondary peers; and therefore, spend more time each day with our students with special needs.  She indicated that our teachers and educational assistants are working during the examination days, that these days are not a “perk”.  She said that all in attendance agreed that they knew staff had work to do on those day.  Ms. Akey said that they expressed appreciation that she had clarified the Collective Agreement piece, noting that they indicated that they did want the students to be able to “be like their peers”.

        Ms. Akey stated that she was informed that respite funding for our families is a dwindling resource and so the issue of care for the students on those days is more an issue than it has been in the past, noting that it was good to have this information.  She said that she was told that there are more families who cannot pay for care for their children for those ten days any more.

        Ms. Akey reviewed the next steps, as follows:

•       to review the letters that have been sent home by the secondary schools;
•       to review the Grade 8 to 9 Transition Process to see if the message that is the Board’s checklist of things to talk with parents about is buried in an avalanche of other information;
•       to take information back to the February 17, 2010 SEAC which includes re-stating the inclusionary philosophy that was shared at SEAC in September; and
•       to receive information from Community Living regarding a survey they have done with their parents, which was due February 12, 2010.

        Mr. Gillam provided an update with regard to the Curriculum Council, as follows:

Curriculum Council

•       School to Community – February 9th – Assistive Technology Workshop – Bit Strips & Comic Life – well attended and generated lots of excitement
•       Autism – February 17 – Focus on Program Transitions
•       Pilot Project – Behaviour Learning Centre, Learning Disabilities Teachers and Section 23 teachers – focus on assistive technology

        Trustee Crawford thanked Mr. Gillam and Ms. Akey for providing the above-noted information.

Association Updates

Autism Ontario

        Pat LaLonde advised that April is Autism Awareness Month.

        Ms. LaLonde advised that Autism Ontario’s Kingston Chapter, along with the Eastern Region Community Network of Specialized Care and the South East Human Services and Justice Coordination Network will host two sessions in Kingston on March 31, 2010, at the Invista Centre, to help educate both first responders, other professionals and caregivers on how to prepare for future interactions with children and adults with autism.  The 1-4 p.m. session is for professionals and emergency responders, and the 7-9 p.m. session is for parents and other caregivers.  The workshops will be presented by Dennis Debbaudt, a professional investigator and journalist, who is internationally recognized for his autism and law enforcement training.  

        Ms. LaLonde commented that the during the day-time session, Mr. Debbaudt will speak to professionals and emergency responders on how to make these interactions safer and less stressful as well as help law enforcement, emergency response and criminal justice professionals recognize the behavioural symptoms and characteristics of a child or adult who has autism.  This training will offer suggestions and options about how to address those risks and increase officer and citizen safety and avoid litigation.

        Ms. LaLonde reported that the evening session will be held for families, caregivers and educators to help them manage risk at home, school and in the community and receive the tools necessary to developing partnerships with law enforcement and first response teams.  Topics to be addressed include: wandering, preparing for an emergency, safety n the home, safe travel, alerting neighbours, 911 data base alerts, developing a handout, sharing de-escalation techniques and working pro-actively with schools and law enforcement agencies.  The workshop is also intended for staff/students working with individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

        Pat LaLonde advised that a Theatre Night is being held on April 7, and a hockey tournament is being held April 8-11 at the Strathcona Paper Centre in Napanee, in support of the Kingston Chapter.  She indicated that if there are any students who need volunteer hours, and would like to help out at the hockey tournament, to please contact the Kingston Chapter.

Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

        David Williams advised that the LDAK is looking for new office space.

Epilepsy Kingston

        Nadine Carson reported that the Annual Tim Maverty Tribute will be held March 6-7, 2010, from 2 p.m. until 2 a.m., at Brandee’s Restaurant, noting that the proceeds from the cover fees will be directed to Epilepsy Kingston.

        Ms. Carson advised that March 26 is Purple Day, which was founded by Cassidy Megan in 2008.  She stated that Purple Day is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide, and people are asked to wear purple and spread the word about epilepsy.

        Ms. Carson commented that Epilepsy Kingston’s Homework Club is doing well.  The Homework Club meets on Saturdays and it is for students with epilepsy who need assistance.  She advised that the Homework Club consists of 12 students and nine student tutors from Queen’s University.

Family and Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington

        Charlene Whalen reported that Family and Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington, is planning for its March Break Camps.  She further reported that their new building is almost completed.

Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, March 24, 2010 (fourth Wednesday).  The remaining meetings for the 2009-2010 school year are scheduled for  April 21, 2010 (second Wednesday), May 27, 2010 (fourth Thursday), and June 9, 2010 (second Wednesday).  The May 27, 2010 meeting is a Joint Meeting of the Hastings-Prince Edward District School Board and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, and the meeting will be held at the Hastings-Prince Edward DSB office, Belleville.


        MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Pat LaLonde, that the meeting adjourn at 8:30 p.m.–Carried