Thursday, 19 May 2011

The ABC's of IPRC - Wonderful advice for Ontario students I learned from Janis Jaffe White

I was lucky enough to go and listen to Janis Jaffe White from Toronto Family Network a few weeks back when she visited my daughters local treatment centre.  CTN (Children's Treatment Centre has been doing an amazing job of keeping us parents informed and educated on everything from the best bike or how to access camp or recreation programs and best of all how to work co-oportiviely with your school to ensure your child's needs are met and they are set up to succeed.

I want to share here some tips I learned form Janis. If you live in Ontario and your child has an IEP you will likely find some great information here.

A) Aware - be involved and aware with what going on at school for your child. Be informed on the current education law.  Highlights of  Regulation 181/ Section 98  also read this document here in all it's detail Education Act 181/98

B) Be there!  - never pass up on an IEP or IPRC  meeting at school.   It's your chance to ask your questions, advocate for your child and sing your child's strengths, affinities and needs. Some schools may tell you that the these meetings are not needed after the initial meeting but there is usually value in sitting down even if placement for your child isn't changing at least once a year.

C) Communicate.  Share your ideas, ask questions and listen.

If your child has additional needs she  requires good teaching, differentiated instructions but they also need able bodied mentors. All these things can be provided at your home school with your child's siblings and neighbourhood friends by their side.

You should never waive your annual IPRC meeting, you should use this time to discuss your child's strengths and needs.   With your written permission the IEP can also be discussed at the IPRC meeting.
According to regulations 181 section 98 an educational assessment can be done annually prior to the IPRC meeting and the results can also be discussed at the meeting.  Your school my say this is impossible as there is a big wait list for that type of assessment but it does not always have to be  formal physiological assessment. It could be a simple math or writing assessment completed by the home room teacher or SERT.   This meeting should be more then 15 minutes if it's set up that way and you didn't finish you have a right to ask to have the meeting reconvene. You may want to tell them that you looking to have a longer discussion if they initially set up a 15 minute meeting.

Also according to 181/98 you are required to get a copy of all documents 10 days prior to the meeting.
At the meeting you will also meet and decide if your child should be an exceptional student.

Your allowed to bring a support person with you, if your child has complex needs there is likely someone on your child's team that supports you that could come with you. This support person could be a neighbour or friend even.   You can even print out the education act and bring that with you.

You also have a right to ask for an alternate time if they date and time the meeting is set up for doesn't work with your schedule. I won't want this meeting to happen without myself present for my daughter and I'm sure you won't want to miss it either.

If your told your child should be in a community classroom and you have a choice or classroom A classroom B. PLEASE know there is always another option your home school is also your child's right and is always an option to your child!

Probably the most important thing I learned is don't be shy to tell the school you know your rights sometimes that is necessary to share.  Goes a long way although most educators want to do right by our kids there is a lot of pressure in my daughters school board for these kids to attend  community classes whether or not it's part of the child or family vision.  This pressure was their even though she was making great strides right here at her home school in kindergarten.

Hopefully your still reading this long post as this part is great.

Undue Hardship Standard
Under the Code, every student with a disability is entitled to accommodation up to the point of undue hardship. The Code sets out three factors that may be considered in assessing whether an accommodation would cause undue hardship: cost; outside sources of funding, if any; and, health and safety requirements, if any.

Consultees told the Commission that school boards frequently cite limited resources as a reason for not being able to provide appropriate accommodations to students with disabilities. The Commission’s Disability Policy makes it clear that “whether an accommodation is ‘appropriate’ is a determination completely distinct and separate from whether the accommodation would result in ‘undue hardship’.”94         The legal duty of a school board to accommodate students with disabilities is not discharged unless the school board can make out an undue hardship defence based on costs. In order to claim the undue hardship defence, the school board has the onus of proof. As stated in the Commission’s Disability Policy, “The nature of the evidence required to prove undue hardship must be objective, real, direct, and, in the case of cost, quantifiable. The person responsible for accommodation must provide facts, figures, and scientific data or opinion to support a claim that the proposed accommodation in fact causes undue hardship.”95
The Supreme Court of Canada has said that, “one must be wary of putting too low a value on accommodating the disabled. It is all too easy to cite increased cost as a reason for refusing to accord the disabled equal treatment”.96 The cost standard is therefore a high one.
Regulation 181 / 98

 The undue hardship law applies to all accommodations so even if your child has an intellectual disability and needs an EA they can not tell you the reason is due to limited resources or funding.

Here's another good link too "The Blame Game"  Are school problems my kids fault?

Isn't this great stuff.   I found this information to be so valuable to me.


Team Carter Jay said...

You go momma bear!

Loving seeing you advocate for her <3

Jenna said...

Hi Ashley!
My name is Jenna and I came across your site. U are an amazing, special and precious gift. You are a courageous, strong and determined fighter. U are a brave warrior, smilen champ and an inspirational Hero.
I was born with a rare life threatening disease,

Janis said...

Hi Ashley,

I just came across your blog. It is excellent. Many thanks for your kind words about the workshop that I presented to you and the other parents who came out that evening. A workshop is only as good as the participants who attend. The parents who attended this workshop were obviously passionate and committed to their wonderful children.

One additional document that I would suggest at this time is essential for families to read and understand is the Ministry Memorandum dated Dec. 19/2011 signed by Barry Finlay. (A few months ago, Andrea Gordon of the Toronto Star wrote an excellent article on this topic and provided a link to the memorandum.) One of the most important lines in the memorandum is the following "All students with demonstrable learning based needs are entitled to appropriate accommodations in the form of special education programs and services, including classroom based accommodations." The word "entitled" is very imporant. Here is the link to where it can be found:

If there is anything we can do to help further, please don't hesitate to contact us at As I explained at the workshop, we are a grassroots regional family network affiliated with Family Alliance Ontario and involved with the SSAH/Passport Provincial Coalition, among other groups. We are not an agency and we have no paid staff but we try our best to help parents navigate the school system or other sectors that involve the well-being of their children with additional needs.

All the best to you and your family.

Take care,


Janis Jaffe-White
Coordinator (volunteer)
Toronto Family Network

Janis said...

Hi Sherry,

Janis here. Yesterday I wrote a comment to be posted on your blog. I addressed my posting to Ashley and I meant to include your name too ...sorry about that!

Janis Jaffe-White