Creating Opportunities Today; Maximizing Independence Tomorrow

Early Childhood to School

Questions and answers for Health Care and Social Services

Who could be involved from my health care team during this transition?

Family members, OCTC team members, community partners and/or your community physician, as needed.

What information does the school need from OCTC and when does the school need it?

With your consent, the OCTC therapy team will provide up-to-date reports to the receiving school and the special education department of the school board. Ideally, these reports should be sent by March of the school entry year.

What OCTC services may my child be eligible to receive while s/he attends school?

If children meet the eligibility criteria, they can continue to and/or could receive: Medical Clinics (Developmental Paediatricians and Registered Nurses), Assistive Technology (Clinic for Augmentative Communication, Seating and Mobility and Technical Services), Social Work Services, Behavioural Services, Recreation Therapy, Dietitian, Psychology, Respite, and School Liaison Teachers (for children with a physical disability).

How is the transition process coordinated?

If your child is:

  • An OCTC client receiving services at one of our sites, your Social Worker and/or therapy team can facilitate an Individual Service Plan (ISP) to help you develop your transition plan
  • An OCTC client receiving therapy services at the day care/preschool through Community Preschool Services, Children’s Integration Support Services (CISS) will facilitate a Team Service Plan (TSP)
  • An OCTC client attending the OCTC Preschool, the preschool will facilitate an Individual Program Plan (IPP) that will guide you through the school system.

Who is responsible for therapy services (OT, PT and SLP) in the school setting?

If your child is eligible, the Champlain Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and its therapy providers - such as CommuniCare - will offer services through the School Health Support Services (SHSS). For further information on CCAC, please visit the websites below or call 310 CCAC (310-2222). Some children may receive Speech-Language Pathology or Psychology services through their School Board.

How does my child get referred to CCAC?

Your OCTC therapists will obtain your consent and make the referral.

Below are some questions you could ask CCAC about school services:

  • What health services can my child receive in school through the CCAC?
  • When will I be contacted by CCAC?
  • What happens if my child goes onto a waiting list for CCAC therapy services?
  • If my child is not eligible for CCAC now, can they be referred when they are older?
  • What should I be watching for as my child progresses in school that would mean s/he should be referred to CCAC?

You can also ask your CCAC case manager about services that can be provided in your home.

What OCTC respite / summer programs services are available for my child?

  • Respite for medically fragile or technologically dependent children and youth
  • Respite/summer programs for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Summer programs for children with a Developmental Disability
  • Summer program for children with a Physical Disability

You may also visit the Respite Services website in your area:

How do I obtain an application for an Accessible Parking Permit?

For further information and to apply, please visit the following website: Accessible parking permit

You can also pick up an application at any Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office or request an application by mail from:

Service Ontario
License Renewals Unit
P.O. Box 9800
Kingston, ON
K7L 5N8

If I can’t use my vehicle to transport my child in a wheelchair, how can we get to appointments or community activities?

You can use the accessible OC Transpo buses.

If your child has a physical disability, you can apply to Para Transpo (only in Ottawa), please visit their website for further information:  

Depending on your child's needs, you may also be able to obtain an attendant card for OC Transpo (only in Ottawa); please visit the following website for further information: Application for Para Transpo Companions-Attendants.pdf

Taxis: Private companies and accessible taxis are also available. Here are some options:

  • Blueline taxi
  • West Way taxi

Where can I obtain information on accessibility in my community?

The City of Ottawa Accessibility Services provides information on accessibility options (i.e. restaurants, museums, community accessibility etc…): Ottawa - accessibility.

Questions and answers for Education Services

At what age can my child attend school?

Your child may start school as long as s/he is 4 years old before December 31 of the year they start Junior Kindergarten. It is important to note that Kindergarten is an option, and school attendance is not mandated by the Provincial Government until the age of 6. Full Day Learning is now offered in some schools. This means that your child may be able to attend school all day, every day. All schools will have Full Day Learning by 2015.

When do I need to start thinking about the transition of my child to school?

You should begin planning one year prior to the September when you wish your child to start school. You may want to consult and/or ask for assistance from your child’s OCTC team and/or your community partners to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information on your child. This will likely be very helpful to the school in determining what your child will need to be successful.

How do I explore possible school options, programs and supports for my child within our community?

Begin by exploring the various board and school websites in early November of the year prior to enrolling your child for school. Look at the various special education options and individual school profiles. These can be very helpful in answering some basic questions about school size, French immersion and other programs, grades offered (K to 5, K to 8, etc.), and Full Day Learning. Locator maps will help you identify what community school your child is eligible for based on school board boundaries. Private schools are also options and could be included in your research. You may also attend community workshops to learn about what is offered at each school board.

Check out these websites:

What are the educational options for my child?

Depending on your child’s needs, some of the following elements will be important to understand as you begin to plan for your child at school. It is important to share what your hopes and dreams are for your child with the principal and the special education school team. Share information that will allow the school to plan for your child to the greatest extent possible. Meet with the principal early and begin to get a sense of the possibilities. Ask for the support of a Social Worker/ School Liaison Teacher, a close friend or a significant other to help along the way. Here are a few important points to take note of regarding special education programs and services:

  • Special education programs: primarily consist of instruction and assessments that are different from those provided to the general population
  • Special education services: typically refer to supports such as assistance with instructional programming, personal care and behavioural management, and may involve additional human supports such as teachers’ assistants
  • The assessment process is multi-disciplinary and occurs in a continuous cycle that is fully integrated into the teaching and learning process.

When should I register my child for school?

If your child is planning to attend school in September, registration begins at the end of January. Early registration is recommended, as it gives the school plenty of time to plan and prepare for your child in September. You can also register your child at any time after the end of January.

How can I register my child for school?

Registration forms are available at every school. At the time of registration, schools require proof of citizenship, birth certificate and/or baptismal certificate, proof of residency in the school catchment area, and up-to-date immunization records. When registering, clearly indicate your child’s needs, and ask to speak directly with the principal or vice principal. They will assist you and answer your questions about how your child can best be accommodated within the school and/or school board.

Who will be the most important contact when registering my child for school the first time?

The principal and/or the learning support special education teacher in your neighbourhood school are your first contacts. Your OCTC Social Worker or an OCTC School Liaison Teacher, if your child is eligible for this service, may assist you with this first step. They may also help you prepare questions before going to the school to register your child.

What should I bring to the initial school meeting?

When you meet with the school principal or vice principal, it is recommended that you share with them as much information as you can. Bring a picture along to introduce your child. Explain your child’s individual strengths and needs, supported by any documentation that you feel comfortable sharing. Take your time and share what is most important and relevant. The school will support and guide you, but you know your child best. Remember also that it is okay to ask a lot of questions.

Who can help support me during the initial school meeting?

Members of your child’s team, your community partner, family members, etc… should all be part of the initial school meeting. Link to questions you can ask (PDF)

Can I visit the school and meet the teacher first?

This can be discussed during your registration meeting with the principal.

What is an IPRC (Identification, Placement, and Review Committee)?

The IPRC will decide what type of educational placement is appropriate for your child. On the basis of its meeting and discussions, the IPRC can recommend the special education programs and/or services.

Please visit this website for further information:

Here is the IEP Resource Guide:
IEP Resource Guide.pdf

**The IEP is a legal document and an IPRC is a meeting and a procedure required by the Education Statutes and Regulation of Ontario.

What is an IEP (Individual Education Plan)?

An IEP is a written plan describing the specialized educational programming, services and resources required for a particular student. It outlines learning expectations that are adapted, modified or different from the expectations outlined in the Ontario Curriculum of Education document. An IEP also identifies the student’s strengths and needs, from which appropriate goals can be developed, tracked and measured.

Please visit this website for further information:

Here is the IEP Resource Guide:
IEP Resource Guide.pdf

**The IEP is a legal document and an IPRC is a meeting and a procedure required by the Education Statutes and Regulation of Ontario.

What can I do if I disagree with the IPRC and IEP?

There are specific steps you can take, with deadlines, if you disagree with or want to appeal the IPRC decision. For further information and details on how to proceed, please visit the following website:

Are behaviour consultants from OCTC able to work in the school with school staff?

OCTC behaviour consultants do not work in the schools. Most school boards have their own behaviour consultants.

What about transportation? How will my child get to school, if they cannot go on a regular school bus?

Your school principal will make the bussing arrangements once your child is registered. This can be discussed during your registration meeting with the principal.

Transition From Elementary School to Secondary School

In preparation for the next transition, you can get ready by looking ahead. Here are some examples of areas you may want to research, learn about for support and information.

  • Understanding your child's learning abilities and needs
  • School Placement Needs, Registration for School
  • Individual Education Plans (IEP), Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC)
  • Transportation
  • Disability awareness, self-advocacy, independence
  • Therapeutic recreation and leisure programming and community involvement
  • Consider sibling and family relationships
  • The role of social media and technology
  • Investigate respite options for you and your family
  • Sexuality information
  • Van and home modifications