Types of Special Education Programs and Services



When a student is having difficulty in school, a referral to Psychological Services can be very helpful.

Some staff members of Psychology Services serve on multi-disciplinary teams that provide direct and integrated intervention to serve the behaviour and mental health needs of some of our neediest students. Difficulties may include academic, behaviour, or social-emotional problems. A psychological assessment provides information to help principal, teachers, and other school staff develop a program to meet the student’s needs.

Staff members in Psychological Services are assigned to specific elementary and secondary schools within the system. Services are provided in accordance with the standards of professional practice of the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

These services include the following: 

  • full assessments
  • partial assessments:
    • intellectual
    • emotional/behavioural concerns
    • literacy and/or writing
    • math problems
    • early reading 
  • consultation for school staff, parents, students (e.g., study skills, reviewing recommendations with new staff, talking with teacher regarding effectiveness of recommendations, possible other suggestions)
  • presentations (e.g., ADHD, anxiety, learning disabilities, working memory)
  • assistance with IEP
  • SEA claims that require some testing and written report
  • specific training to school staff (e.g., WIAT, early reading assessment)
  • follow-up on assessments for students who continue to struggle despite accommodations and modifications
  • provide mental health diagnosis and behaviour assistance on multi-disciplinary teams that provide support to our Instructional Leadership Facilitators
  • other – any other service that the school staff or students need and psychology staff can provide


Students with behavioural needs have a range of support available to them. As always, support provided within the classroom setting is the first option considered. On those occasions when a student requires more intensive intervention, the Principal can request the services of the Instructional Leadership Consultant (ILC) for Special Education for their region.  The ILC, or one of their Behaviour Support Assistant(s) (BSA), is available to observe the student, attend case conferences, and to assist in the development of appropriate program interventions/ strategies for the student. These interventions may be outlined in an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or as a Safety Plan which is reflected in the IEP.

Behaviour Support Assistants (BSA) - by school assignment - offices at CECs 

  • work directly with school staff to develop and maintain strategies to improve student behaviour
  • respond to emergency situations where safety is the major issue and support staff in addressing this concern and with the development of student individual safety plans and worker safety plans
  • provide functional behaviour assessments and other data collection systems to identify and analyze behaviour for change
  • provide training for staff in Crisis Prevention Institute’s nonviolent crisis intervention program
  • provide workshops, in-services, and institutes on various topics related to student behaviour


The goal of the Focused Intervention Resource Support Team (FIRST) is to coach schools in implementing and creating effective response plans that address the needs of all learners. The purpose is to support student well-being and safety through the collection of data and on-going assessment.



These teams are composed of professionals from diverse disciplines, including psychology, attendance and counselling, speech and language, behaviour and special education, to provide seamless support for students with special needs.  Our objectives within Special Education Services are clear:

  • We provide services to schools to help them support students with special needs
  • We provide services to schools to raise their capacity to support students with special needs.



What is self-regulation?

Self-regulation is more than just self-control. According to one definition:

“ Self- regulation is the ability to adapt our physical, emotional energy and our thinking and social skills when we need to.”    From Calm, Alert, and Learning, Classroom Strategies for Self-Regulation, Stuart Shanker, 2013.

More specifically, self– regulation

  • Helps us manage our stress and behaviour
  • Helps us solve problems
  • Is critical for learning
  • Increases a child’s ability to stay focused, deal with emotional issues, and control one’s behaviour
  • Enables children and youth to respond efficiently and effectively to the challenges they face daily in and outside of school.

Our vision for the program:

We support students in developing self-regulation skills, so that they may reach their potential and participate fully in school and in life. We accomplish this through day-to-day teaching and learning of self-regulation skills for success.

Basic Principles:

  1. Students learn to monitor their environment and their own behaviour, so that they respond appropriately and build their self-regulation skills.
  2. The self-regulation program is based on evidence informed research showing which approaches are successful in helping students learn self-regulation.
  3. We base the program on understanding and responding to students’ needs.

The focus of the classrooms is on literacy, numeracy and the arts, while blending self-regulation skills throughout the day.
Each self-regulation classroom is supported by a teaching team consisting of the classroom teacher and two Learning Support Assistants. These classes may be supported by a multi-disciplinary team of school board staff including Psychological Services, Behaviour Services, and Attendance and Counselling Services.
The self-regulation classrooms create a calm environment for students to have the best possible opportunity to learn. The classroom environment is set up to support the needs of the specific students in the class.

Ideas for Parents to promote Self-Regulation

  • Give your child caring physical touch such as hugs
  • Provide your children with an opportunity for quiet time
  • Limit noise and clutter
  • Give your child something to do with their hands (playdough, piece of yarn)
  • Teach them the benefits of taking deep breaths to relax
  • Encourage them to do a physical activity when they are restless or can’t sit still
  • Limit TV/computer/video gaming
  • Use an animated tone of voice, facial expressions and gestures to energize your child
  • Turn tasks into a game
  • Have your child do a physical activity using large muscles, such as lifting an object
  • Schedule outdoor time and time for play

For more information on helping your child learn self-regulation, please speak with your child’s classroom teacher or the principal, or see the Resources page for other useful sources.



Speech-Language Services is a team of professionals who provide a range of services to students with speech-language delays or disorders. Services include assessment and intervention, and liaison with related community agencies. The main focus is on reducing the impact that speech or language difficulties can have on academic achievement.

Speech-Language Services consists of a team of professionals including Speech-Language Pathologists, who are regulated health professionals, and Communicative Disorders Assistants.

A broad range of services is provided in the schools including whole class and small group programs to develop language and literacy skills:

  • in-service workshops on a variety of topics for KPR staff and parents
  • home programs for mild speech and language delays
  • training on the use of visual communication supports in the classroom
  • computer/equipment training for autism spectrum disorder, nonverbal, and developmentally-delayed students
  • assessment, consultation, and programming
  • liaison with community agencies

Service is primarily available in Kindergarten through Grade 3 for students with:

  • early literacy delays
  • speaking difficulties
  • listening/understanding difficulties
  • reading difficulties
  • writing difficulties
  • social/pragmatic communication difficulties 

Services are available in Kindergarten through Grade 12 for students:

  • with autism spectrum disorders,
  • with mild speech delays
  • who cannot speak (nonverbal)
  • who have communication needs and are being serviced by the multidisciplinary teams that provide targeted behaviour and mental health intervention for select students


In Attendance and Counselling, our purpose is to promote student achievement through regular school attendance and counselling support of Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board students who are at risk or in crisis during their school years.

Attendance and Counselling Services is a professional group of School Board Counsellors and Student Retention Counsellors experienced in working with children and families. Their purpose is to promote student achievement through regular school attendance and counselling support of students who are at risk or in crisis during their school year. They provide a broad range of services in the schools including the following:

School Board Counsellors

  • the assessment and treatment of school refusal behaviour, the identification of attendance barriers, developing return-to-school and transition-to-work plans, and developing temporary alternatives to school programs (e.g., SALEP)
  • counselling services for grief and loss, separation and divorce, self-harm behaviour, and substance abuse
  • intervention plans to address suicide risk, crisis, trauma, and critical school incidents
  • participation on multi-disciplinary teams that provide direct and integrated behaviour and mental health intervention for some of our neediest students.

Student Retention Counsellors 

  • assist with attendance referrals and are accessed through the School Board Counsellors
  • services include:
    • consultation
    • supportive counselling
    • attendance support/court support
    • personal life management
    • liaison with community agencies
    • home visits
    • liaison with nutrition/breakfast programs, and helping student(s)/families access resources to meet basic personal needs 

KPR also recognizes that some students may not benefit from the formal classroom setting. Since the goal of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board is to help all students meet with success, we are pleased to offer the Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL) program.  SAL provides a supervised educational alternative for students aged 14 to 17. SAL allows students to experience a range of educational choices. These may include working at a full-time job, working part-time while doing schoolwork part-time, or doing schoolwork in an alternative setting.

What is the purpose of SAL?

The SAL program: 

  • provides life experiences to help students gain knowledge and skills for problem-solving and decision-making
  • increases opportunities for personal growth, self-esteem, independence and self-discipline
  • makes students more aware of the realities and opportunities in the world of work
  • helps students, parents and guardians determine whether returning to regular school is in the student’s best interests.

Reasons to consider SAL

Some reasons for considering SAL for a student include: 

  • inability to cope with the traditional, structured schooling
  • significant absence from school for various reasons, including health problems
  • inability to benefit from regular school attendance.

While participating in the SAL program, the student continues to receive educational services, such as guidance and counselling. These services are outlined in the alternative program designed for each student. The Board also encourages students to maintain connections with their home school and participate in extra-curricular activities that interest them. We hope most students will be able to return to the regular school environment, and complete their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Parents’/guardians’ responsibilities

As the parent or guardian of a SAL student, you are expected to: 

  • work with the school and school board counsellor to help determine an alternative program that is appropriate for your teen
  • inform the SAL committee if your teen does not follow the alternative program contract
  • let the school know of any change in your address or phone number
  • write a letter to the committee, on behalf of your teen, if you feel the alternative program needs to change.