A Big Step: Our Family’s Transition to School

Part 1 of 2

I have two wonderful children, twins, and like many parents I was very excited about them going to school. The task of enrolling children into the school system is challenging. Now add a child with special needs and the task can seem impossible. Enrolling my daughter was easy, but my son’s enrolment was more complicated due to his diagnosis of global developmental delay. Since my children were enrolled in a licensed day care I had the guidance, support and expertise of a Resource Consultant from Children’s Integration Support Services (CISS). If your child is not enrolled in a licensed daycare, but receives services from OCTC (Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre) you may be eligible for School Liaison Support.

Our first challenge was to decide what school our children would attend. We considered a specialized school for our son but opted to have our children attend the same school. I suggest visiting your child’s school options so you can make an informed decision. CISS hosts two information sessions with both English school boards in the Ottawa region. CISS also offers a half day work shop on the Transition to School that discusses your rights as a parent as well as the resources that your child is entitled to. I suggest attending them all.

Enroll your child in your home school as early as possible (January). My son needed specialized equipment and resources and since the cost of those items can be significant it is important for the school to apply as quickly as possible. I provided copies of all his reports, physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy for the school to assess the support and resources that my child needed. It is important to maintain a close relationship with the Resource Teacher and the Principal and make sure that they know what your expectations are for your child. Later, a transition meeting was held at school where more information was shared about my son. I felt confident that most things would be in place for my son to start kindergarten. We went ahead and enjoyed our summer.

Written by Kasia and Doug

To be continued in the Spring/Summer issue of ACCESS Integration.

Read Part 2