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School & Education Programs

School can be another difficult time along your journey.  All children have the right to be educated, so it is very important to find the right program for your child.  Up until the age of 6, there is a lot of additional funding available to help transition your child not the school system.  Here are a couple of hints for the early years.

If your child is in an approved childcare facility, early intervention can provide an aide to work with your child. The aide would be there for one on one care, therapy and assistance in a social atmosphere that is important for all children. A list of approved childcare facilities should be available from your FSCD worker.  As with finding any childcare, there can be a wait list so sign up as soon as possible.  

PUF/GRIT often encourages your child to attend a play school to further prepare your child for the school system. An aide can be provided for this as well. Play school can be costly for some families because it is not funded by the provincial education system. Contact FSCD to ask about funding options.

School Aged Children

Every child is coded in the school system. Depending on the severity of your child's disability determines how your child is coded and how much funding the school receives.  The aide may be shared with the class but should be there to primarily support your child. You may have to give gentle reminders to both the teacher and the aide that the aide is there for your child not the whole class. If your child does not qualify for their own aide, you and or the teacher can request an aide as extra support for the entire class.

The school system encourages children to attend the school in the district that they are in because it encourages peer relationships in their community.  Although this is important, your local school may not provide the programming that your child needs.  There are many different programs available that can be beneficial for your child, so it is important for parents to do their research before enrollment.

Some of the programming includes but is not limited to:

Classroom integration

Your child would be in a regular grade level classroom. Your child would do all the regular programming with their peers with modifications to accommodate their needs.

Challenge programming

This is often a segregated classroom session where most of the programming is modified for your child to learn at their level.  As with every program, there are pros and cons. Some of the benefits of this type of programming include smaller class sizes, more 1 on 1 time with the teacher and the ability to relate to the other children in their class. Some of the negatives are segregation from peers, and not being challenged at their age level for programming.

Lifeskills or Individual Programming

Teaches your child important everyday activities.  This class is for severely and profoundly delayed children.  This class teaches children skills that they will need to function in society.  This programming includes grooming and self care, reading, math and money skills, cooking etc. This is a fun class for all children because there are often a lot of field trips. Trips to the pet store, zoo, movies, grocery store, and restaurants are some of the examples for field trips and allow your child to be independent by teaching them to pay for themselves. This type of programming is available in both elementary, junior and high school and your child is able to attend until they are 21.

Other resources available through schools:

Some of the resources available through the schools division are physical and occupational therapy, speech pathology, social work and psychiatry. These consultants can provide tools and exercises that will help your child and family advance. Although the services may not be offered, they can be provided. Not all are available in each school, but you don't know if you don't ask. Other parents can be great resources, advocates and allies in getting what you need for your child. Talk to them and ask questions. There is strength in numbers.

Not all programming is available at all schools, so it is important for parents to do their research before enrollment. Don't let your child be underestimated. Your child's physical disability may cause a misconception in their learning capabilities.  It is important to meet with the team (teacher, aide, principal, OT, PT, SLP and Special Ed coordinator) at least 3 times a year (beginning, middle and end of the school year) to discuss programming progress.  Working together, you can create an IPP or interpersonal plan, to set goals and record accomplishments.

** Remember to be realistic with these goals but challenge your child to achieve **

Useful Websites for Obtaining Services & Resources

Raising Children in Alberta


Action of Inclusion


Collaborative Services for Children with Disabilities


Alberta Education Directory


Edmonton Public School Board


Edmonton Catholic School Board


Elk Island School Board - REACH


Getting Ready for Inclusion Today (GRIT)


Community Options


CLICK program in Spruce Grove


Corbett Hall Early Education Program


ELVES Special Needs Society


Early Learning Branch

Phone: 780-422-9423 or Toll Free within Alberta 780-310-0000