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Toronto Catholic District School Board

Special Services
In partnership with families, the parish and the community, our Catholic education system is directed at developing the full spiritual, physical, academic, cognitive, social and emotional well being of each student.
Through their learning experiences, students develop a sense of self-worth and dignity as members of the people of God and are able to make a useful contribution in a complex and changing society. Inherent in these beliefs is the recognition that all students, regardless of exceptionality, are entitled to education in the most enabling environment. The exceptional student is a unique child of God and has a right to be part of the mainstream of education, to the extent to which it is practical and beneficial.
In order to provide an education in the most enabling environment, TCDSB advocates the principle of inclusion as part of a continuum of services/programs which includes modification of the regular class program, withdrawal and congregated placement, and itinerant services.  (See The Special Education Plan.)
Inclusion of the special needs student in our schools can be summed up: “We invite you to become active participants in the process of Catholic Education. We urge you to bring your energy, enthusiasm and generosity to the task of building a Catholic community within your school and to shaping the vision of Catholic education.” This Moment of Promise (P. 22)
Behaviour: A learning disorder characterized by specific behaviour problems over a period of time, to such a marked degree, and of such a nature, as to adversely affect educational performance. This may be
accompanied by one or more of the following:
(a) an inability to build or maintain interpersonal relationships
(b) excessive fears or anxieties
(c) a tendency to compulsive reaction
(d) an inability to learn which cannot be traced to intellectual sensory or other health factors or any combination thereof.
Giftedness: An unusually advanced degree of general intellectual ability that requires differentiated learning experiences of a depth and breadth beyond those normally provided in the regular school program to satisfy the level of educational potential indicated.
Physical Disability: A condition of such severe physical limitation or deficiency as to require special assistance in learning situations to provide the opportunity for educational achievement equivalent to that of pupils without exceptionality who are of the same age or
developmental level.
Blind and Low Vision: A condition of partial or total impairment of sight or vision that even with correction affects educational performance adversely.
Language Impairment: A learning disorder characterized by an impairment in comprehension and/or use of verbal communication or the written or other symbol system of communication or which may be associated with neurological, psychological, physical or sensory
factors, and which may:
(a) involve one or more of the form, content and function of language in communication
(b) include one or more of the following: language delay, dysfluency, voice and articulation development which may or may not be organically or functionally based.
Speech Impairment: A disorder in language formulation that may be associated with neurological, psychological, physical or sensory factors that involves perceptual motor aspects of transmitting oral messages; and that may be characterized by impairment in articulation, rhythm and stress.
Learning Disability:   The Ministry of Education defines learning disability as one of a number of neurodevelopmental disorders that persistently and significantly has an impact on the ability to learn and use academic and other skills and that:
• affects the ability to perceive or process verbal or non-verbal information in an effective and accurate manner in students who have assessed intellectual abilities that are at least in the average range;
• results in (a) academic underachievement that is inconsistent with the intellectual abilities of the student (which are at least in the average range) and/or (b) academic achievement that can be maintained by the student only with extremely high levels of effort and/or with additional support;
• results in difficulties in the development and use of skills in one or more of the following areas: reading, writing, mathematics, and work habits and learning skills;
• may typically be associated with difficulties in one or more cognitive processes, such as phonological processing; memory and attention; processing speed; perceptual-motor processing; visual-spatial processing; executive functions (e.g., self-regulation of behaviour and emotions, planning, organizing of thoughts and activities, prioritizing, decision making);
• may be associated with difficulties in social interaction (e.g., difficulty in understanding social norms or the point of view of others); with various other conditions or disorders, diagnosed or undiagnosed; or with other exceptionalities;
• is not the result of a lack of acuity in hearing and/or vision that has not been corrected; intellectual disabilities; socio-economic factors; cultural differences; lack of proficiency in the language of instruction; lack of motivation or effort; gaps in school attendance or inadequate opportunity to benefit from instruction. (PPM8)
Autism is a severe learning disorder that is characterized by disturbances in rate of educational development, ability to relate to the environment, mobility, and/or perception, speech and language; or lack of representational symbolic behaviour that precedes language.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing: An impairment characterized by deficits in language and speech development because of a diminished or nonexistent auditory response to sound.
Developmental Disability: A severe learning disorder characterized by:
(a) inability to profit from a special education program because of slow intellectual development
(b) ability to profit from a special education program that is designed to accommodate slow intellectual development
(c) a limited potential for academic learning, independent social adjustment and economic self-support.
Multiple Exceptionalities:  A combination of learning and other disorders, impairments or physical disabilities that is of such a nature as to require for educational achievement, the services of one or more teachers holding qualifications in special education and the provision of support services appropriate for such disorders, impairments or disabilities.