Creating Opportunities Today; Maximizing Independence Tomorrow

Youth to Adolescent

Questions and answers for Health Care and Social Services

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

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

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

With your consent, the Rehab Team will provide up-to-date reports to the receiving school and to 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/teen be eligible to receive while s/he attends secondary school?

If children/teens meet the eligibility criteria, they can receive/continue to receive the following services: Medical Clinics (including Transition Clinic for adolescents with a physical disability 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 for adolescents with a physical disability, School Liaison Teacher.

If my child/teen cannot keep up with the writing demands at school, where can we get help?

The Occupational Therapist (OT) who works at your child/teen’s school can assess the need for a computer or other strategies to support writing. A referral to the Clinic for Augmentative Communication at OCTC may be required if your child/teen has a physical disability or if a standard computer does not meet his/her needs, and s/he requires a computer with specialized adaptations for writing at home. You can also have a discussion with the school staff, to see if a referral to an OT at the Champlain Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) would be appropriate.

Who can assess the need for a manual or power wheelchair and make recommendations?

If you have visited your child/teen’s secondary school and are concerned about the distance your child/teen will need to travel between classes, a referral can be made - one year in advance of the transition - to the Champlain Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy services or to the OCTC Seating and Mobility service.

I have concerns/questions about the Champlain Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) School Health Support Services (SSHS): How will my child/teen’s therapy be arranged when my child/teen transitions to high school?

You can contact your child/teen’s CCAC case manager at 613-745-5525. Here are examples of questions you might want to ask to help with this transition:

  • What happens to OT, PT and SLP Services once my child transfers from elementary to high school?
  • My child/teen was discharged from School Health Support Services (SHSS) a few years ago, but needs new assessments: What do I do?
  • When is a good time to make referrals? Before leaving current school? In the summer? After starting a new school?
  • What assessments are recommended? And why?
  • When should a request be made so that the new school is accessible and ready for my child/teen at the beginning of school?
  • What equipment will my child/teen be able to take to school?

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 are the recreation programs available for my child/teen?

OCTC Recreation Therapy runs a variety of recreation programs based on the needs of eligible clients. Recreation Therapy can also provide you with information about community programs that may be appropriate for your child. Many programs are also offered through the City of Ottawa; consult with the Special Needs Coordinator for your district. email to:

How can I link my child/ teen to volunteering opportunities?

Look within your community and have conversations with family and friends about possible volunteer opportunities.

Also investigate the Volunteer Ottawa website for opportunities: Contact Service Coordination Services for support you in finding an agency or service that will assist with volunteer opportunities:

Other options may be:

How will my teen/young adult create/maintain a social network?

There are many social networks available. Options include your teen/young adult’s friends, your friends, student clubs and your community centre.

Other social networking possibilities:

What OCTC respite services are available for my child/teen?

  • Respite for medically fragile or technologically dependent children and youth
  • Respite/summer programs for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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

How can 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/teen 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 find information on accessibility in my community?

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

Questions and answers for Education Services

Contact the OCTC School Liaison Teachers if your child/teen has a physical disability, and/or contact the school principal at your child’s current school to help you with this transition.

When should my child/teen make the transition from Elementary to Secondary School?

Your child/teen could change schools as young as age 11. Secondary School is either grades 7-12 or grades 9-12.

Some environmental considerations and the health of a student may be factors in determining the time of a transition. For example, the length of travel time to the secondary school may be too long for a younger child.

When should I start thinking about my child/teen’s transition from elementary school to secondary school?

If assessments are required, you should start planning this transition 12 to 18 months ahead of time.

Who should I involve in this transition?

You can involve the Resource teacher at school, the OCTC School Liaison teacher (if your child is eligible for these services), Service Coordination (if your child is eligible) and/or the OCTC Social Worker.

Can I visit the new school ahead of time – in the previous school year?

Your current school principal can help facilitate this visit. S/he will help you plan the transition.

Will my child/teen’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) be implemented at the new school?

You will need to set up a meeting with the school support team as soon as possible. Social Work services or a Case Manager from a community partner can help you with this, if you would like support. Bring a copy of your child/teen’s current IEP and begin discussions with your child’s new school in order to address the needs of your child/teen.

Do behavioural strategies continue in the new school?

Most school boards have behavioural consultants who can work with children/teens. Be sure to have a meeting with the behavioral consultant and the child/teen’s teacher to make sure that the strategies are being followed through, at school and at home.

What are the assessments recommended for the transition to secondary school?

A psycho-educational assessment may be recommended. It may be required if you are considering a different placement. It might also be recommended if there is a change, for example, in your child/teen’s achievement rate, or in the learning strengths and weaknesses. Individual school boards do not always accept the assessments from other school boards.

How should I organize my child/teen’s transportation to the new school?

The school principal will assist you in determining the best method of transportation to school for your child/teen.

Here are some areas to explore further with your child/teen’s new school:

  • Safety: I would like the school to have a safety/evacuation plan in place for my child/teen. How can I make sure this will be done?
  • Participation: Will my child/teen be able to participate in the physical education program, regular school events, and school trips in his/her new school?
  • Physical education: I would like my child/teen to be an active participant in the physical education program. How can I ensure that s/he will not be left on the sidelines?

How early should we start the process of researching post-secondary options?

Upon your teen’s entry to high school, you and your teen should look into post-secondary programs and institutions, in order to find out what the admission requirements are and to ensure that you are planning accordingly (i.e. taking the right courses, having the right documentation to submit, etc.). You or your teen can seek assistance from guidance counselors, or you can contact the post-secondary institutions directly.

Is there a tool that could also be useful to me during this transition?

This IT kit from the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab documents – Developing Skills for Growing Up – may be useful to you and your teen for this transition; here is the web document: OCTC IT Kit (PDF)

Transition from Adolescent to Adult

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.

  • Disability awareness, ability to explain diagnosis to medical professionals/others
  • Goal setting, problem solving, self-advocacy
  • Wills, estate planning, educational funds, Registered Disability Savings Pan (RDSP)
  • Sexuality information
  • The role of social media and technology
  • Post secondary education, bursaries and loans
  • Career planning
  • Driving and community transportation
  • Leisure, recreation and sports-community programs
  • Safety and independence (When can I leave my child alone?)
  • Bullying/ teasing/ verbal slights
  • Respite
  • OCTC Transition Clinic for clients with physical disabilities
  • Developmental Services Ontario, Eastern Region (DSO-ER)
  • Caregiving/attendance care
  • Van and home modifications