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October 19, 2011 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
October 19, 2011

        A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held in the Board Room at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
Present Trustees:
Elaine Crawford
Paula Murray
Present Members:
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
Kelly Henry, Alternate, Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington
Pat LaLonde, Autism Ontario
Andrea Martin, Member-at-Large (Queen’s University)
Anne Peace-Fast, Member-at-Large                                                                
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston
Present Staff:
Donna Abbink, Transition Planning Coordinator
Drew Boyce, School to Community Coordinator
Christine Herron, Educational Services and Safe Schools Liaison Coordinator
Ann-Marie Lacoursière, Principal, Educational Services
Hazel MacDonald, District Assistive Technology Resource Teacher
Alison McDonnell, Supervising Principal, Special Education
Mark Ryan, District Assistive Technology Resource Teacher
Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson, Special Education Program Coordinator
Steve Ward, Vice-Principal of Educational Services
Tara Wild, District Autism Resource Teacher                                     
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children
Charlene Whalen, Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington   

The meeting was chaired by Kathy Bennett, who called the meeting to order, welcoming those present to the meeting.

Approval of Agenda

Co-Chair Bennett advised that Donna Abbink, Transition Planning Coordinator, would provide information about the workshops being sponsored through The Transition Planning Advisory Committee of Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Counties, under the Other Business section of the agenda.

MOVED BY Nadine Carson, seconded by Anne Peace-Fast, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Approval of Minutes

MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Anne Peace-Fast, that the minutes of the September 21, 2011 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Assistive Technology Presentation

Co-Chair Bennett called on Hazel MacDonald and Mark Ryan, District Assistive Technology Resource teachers, to come forward to provide information about assistive technology in the Limestone District School Board.

Ms. MacDonald stated that she and Mr. Ryan provide assistive technology support to schools.  She indicated that she would provide an overview of some of the programs we have within the Limestone District School Board.  She provided the following information:

Hardware Support

  •         SEA computers for primary and secondary users
  •         computers in the schools
  •         over 250 systems were transferred in the last week of August/first week of September (Grade 8 to 9, new transfers from other boards and new systems)
  •         Remote Agent allows access and repair (minor issues) in a timely manner (ongoing)
Assistive Technolgoy is a tool that:

  •         is motivating and engaging
  •         builds on a individual’s strength
  •         allows academic tasks to be completed independently
  •         leads to greater sense of self-efficacy
  •         provides an opportunity to accomplish higher rates of learning and improved achievement
Types of Assistive Technology

  •         Computer Access Aids
  •         Communication Aids
  •         Reading and Writing Support
  •         Concept Mapping Software
Ms. MacDonald explained the various types of computer access aids.

Communication Aids

  •         Boardmaker
  •         Writing with Symbols
  •         Clicker
  •         Speak Q
  •         Cause & Effect Software
  •         Wheel of Sounds, Amusement Park
Reading and Writing Support

  •         Kurzweil
  •         Premier Accessibility Suite (Universal Reader)
  •         Word Q/Speak Q
Ms. MacDonald reported that the reading and writings supports:

  •         read text aloud
  •         provide multi-sensory access to text
  •         reads any text document, even Internet
  •         read textbooks, handouts, tests (scan version)
  •         access to reference tools: definitions, synonyms, syllabification, spelling
Concept-Mapping Software

  •         Brainstorm, organize ideas, and create diagram or concept maps.
  •         Smart Ideas
  •         Inspiration
  •         Kidspiration
Ms. MacDonald explained how concept-mapping software breaks down complex ideas.

Ms. MacDonald stated that it is important to remember that the technology can’t do it all; there is no software to take the place of good teaching.

Mr. Ryan provided a demonstration of Kurzweil and Word Q.

Co-Chair Bennett thanked Ms. MacDonald and Mr. Ryan for providing the above-noted information.

Educational Services Update

Ms. Lacoursière provided an Educational Services update, as follows:

PA Day

  •         September 24th
  •         EQAO Provincial Testing Results demonstrated:
  •                 increased participation
  •                 improving achievement for students with special education needs
  •         Strategic Planning for the 2011-12 school year

  •         District Autism Resource Teacher – Tara Wild
  •         Primary Learning Centre at Frontenac Public School – Carol Wagar
  •         Primary/Junior Autism Class at Lancaster Drive Public School – Linda Powers
  •         Full Time Attendance Counsellor – Kevin Hulton
  •         Casual Educational Assistants
  •                 one round completed – 10 people hired
  •                 round two underway – 20 people interviewed    
In Progress

  •         Educational Services Strategic Plan
  •         Individual Education Plan Engine
  •         Review of District Learning Centre referral, placement and transition processes
  •         Awaiting updated Ministry information regarding the Special Education Guide and Individual Education Plans
  •         Special Incidence Portion
There was no correspondence this month.

Association Updates

Autism Ontario

Pat LaLonde reported that October is Autism Awareness Month.

Learning Disabilities Association

Mr. Williams advised that October is also Learning Disabilities Awareness Month.

Mr. Williams reported that the next  “Learning Equals Power” workshop will be held on October~22, 2011 at St. Lawrence College from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon.  It is called “Meeting at the Crosswords, The Overlap between Nonverbal Learning Disabilities, Asperger Syndrome, and ADHD”, and will be presented by Dr. Garth Smith.  The registration fee is $25 (member), $35 (non-member), and $10 (student with ID).

Mr. Williams reported that another “Learning Equals Power” workshop will be held October 25, 2011 at Loblaws, Kingston Centre, from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.  Alison Sears-Williams will work through modules on IEP 101.

Mr. Williams reported that the LDAO, Kingston Chapter, website is under development; it is being redesigned.  He further reported that LDAO has some new videos that speak to learning disabilities, and they can be accessed through
Epilepsy Kingston

Nadine Carson reported that the Geneva Centre for Autism is holding a one-day workshop on Coping with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Anxiety, on October 28, 2011, at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Kingston.  The cost for this one-day workshop is approximately $200.
Andrea Martin

Ms. Martin reported that the teacher candidates at the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University, are doing their practice teaching in the schools at this time.

Other Business

Special Education Plan: Specialized School Health Support Services

Ms. Lacoursière provided an overview of the Specialized School Health Support Services that is part of the 2011-2012 Special Education Plan.  She said that the document states that “All school-aged children have access to education within the Board regardless of special health needs during school hours.”  She reported that responsibility for the direct provision of these services during school hours is shared among the Limestone DSB, the Ministry of Health and/or Ministry of Community and Social Services.  She advised that under the Ministry of Health, the South East Community Care Access Centre is responsible for assessing student needs, and for providing certain services as outlined in Policy/Program Memorandum Number 81, Ministry of Education.  

Ms. Lacoursière reviewed the chart that outlines the types of services provided through physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, nursing and other related health procedures.  She indicated that each of the different areas of support includes the agency or position of person who performs the service, eligibility criteria for students to receive the service, the position of the person who determines eligibility to receive the service and level of support, as well as the criteria for determining when the service is no longer required.

Co-Chair Bennett thanked Ms. Lacoursière for providing the above-noted information.

Transition Planning Coordinator

Donna Abbink, Transition Planning Coordinator, stated that she is part of the school to community district team at Educational Services.  She distributed a copy of the “Planning for the Future” information sheet, noting that the goals of “Planning for the Future” are to enhance awareness of services and resources for families and individuals, and to encourage early and informed planning for young people with developmental disabilities.

Ms. Abbink reported that a “Planning for the Future” workshop will take place on November 16, 2011, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., at Ongwanada Auditorium, 191~Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, noting that the evening is intended for parents, students 16 years of age and older and service providers.  The evening is sponsored by The Transition Planning Advisory Committee of Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Counties.  She provided an overview of the agenda, noting that there will be a variety of different speakers.  She said that it is important that parents and students are armed with much knowledge in transitioning.  Ms. Abbink reported that information on the following will be provided:

  •         Essential Skills Program
  •         Passport Mentoring Program
  •         St. Lawrence College, CICE Program Update
  •         Brief presentations from day program options
Ms. Abbink stated that Developmental Services Ontario, South East Region will also provide presentations plus a Question and Answer time.

Ms. Abbink distributed a Developmental Services Ontario South East Region brochure, that outlines Developmental Services and Supports, and information about Eligibility for Ministry-Funded Adult Developmental Services and Supports.

Ms. Bennett thanked Ms. Abbink for providing the above-noted information.
Ministry Updates

Supervising Principal McDonnell stated that at the last SEAC meeting, a commitment was made to have Ministry updates as an standing item on SEAC agendas.  She reported that at the Regional Special Education Committee meeting, a representative from the Ministry indicated that no further updates around Ministry initiatives would be announced until a new Minister of Education was appointed.  She advised that the announcement of the new Minister of Education is to take place tomorrow, October 20th.  Ms. McDonnell stated that we will continue to place Ministry updates on the SEAC agenda, and we will share information as it becomes available.

Ms. McDonnell stated that if anyone has another section of the Special Education Plan 2011-2012 that they would like reviewed, to please let her know, otherwise staff will choose a section for review for the next meeting.

Ms. McDonnell and Trustee Murray reported that when we have a new agency member and/or alternate member join SEAC, a motion must come from SEAC around accepting that particular person on the Committee.  Following that, the motion will come through to the Board, and once approved at the Board meeting, then the person would be a member/alternate of the SEAC and sworn in at the next SEAC meeting where he/she is available.  She asked agency members to please forward the names of their alternates.

Trustee Murray indicated that the LDSB has declared November as Aboriginal Education Month.

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, November 16, 2011, at 7:00 p.m., at the Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston.


MOVED BY Pat LaLonde, seconded by Brad Shoniker, that the meeting adjourn at 8:15~p.m.–Carried