Our Kids logo

Only the best for the disabled

Find the right school for someone with a physical disability

Find a list of schools  

One of my favourite cartoons was drawn by Barbara Anthony of the Bloorview MacMillan Centre. It shows two children in a park, one standing and the other in a wheelchair. The standing child asks the child in the wheelchair: "Are you disabled?" The student in the wheelchair replies: "No, I'm Michelle."

Because I have a 20-year-old son who has cerebral palsy, that cartoon hits home. When Ryan started school 15 years ago, it was the very first time a student with a disability had attended a community school in our district. Our family embarked on Ryan's education not knowing what to expect. It was a very scary experience.

Today, students with disabilities are welcomed by schools everywhere. But how do you know if your child with a disability is receiving the best education? How do you know if the school can accommodate your child's needs? How do you know if your child will be included in all of the school's activities and social life? When choosing a school, take the time to explore. Use a checklist to get questions answered. Ask for detailed explanations.

Here are a few examples.

Does the school have any physical barriers that could keep the student from being part of all aspects of school life?

Is the staff committed to including students with disabilities? The positive attitude and understanding of every staff member is critical to the student's success.

An education plan must be developed by the student, the parents and a school team dedicated to bringing out the best in the student while making the learning experience fun. That means believing anything is possible, being inventive and exploring new options.

How is the education process facilitated? It's essential to find the perfect educational assistant for the student - someone compatible who makes learning a fun adventure, who has compassion and patience.

How are classmates involved? Can the student and his or her classmates communicate with each other? Is socialization facilitated?

When students look back at their schooling, they need to feel that they learned, made lasting friendships and that school was the best time ever. Every student deserves to experience those magical moments that make school just awesome.

Bill Mates is the chair of the National Affairs and Public Education Committee for the Easter Seals/March of Dimes National Council. He is also with the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, which encourages personal development and community involvement for young people.

Our kids offers a list of private schools from across Canada offering programs for special needs students.

Articles

Private School Expos
FIND PRIVATE SCHOOLS
Advertisement

Five steps to finding
the perfect school


Start here

Latest Articles


December 13, 2017
Trinity College School offers full-tuition boarding scholarship for Canadian students
TCS is looking to award a scholarship to a promising student entering Grade 9 in fall 2018

December 7, 2017
What are some common signs that a child has special needs?
Some early indicators that your child has special education needs

December 7, 2017
What are the best ways to assess and diagnose special needs?
How to determine whether your child has special needs

December 7, 2017
What are some tips or suggestions for raising a child with special needs?
Some strategies for promoting the development of your exceptional child

December 4, 2017
Falling math scores? It's not what you think.
Educators Kelly Gallagher-Mackay and Nancy Steinhauer respond to claims that Canadian students are lacking the basics.