Increased Demand To Support Students With Special Needs

From the April Abbotsford School District newsletter. Within the student population of approximately 19,000 in Abbotsford School District there are over 1,600 students with special needs. About 500 of those have a‘learning disability’ classification. In an update to the Board, Deb Peters, Director of Learning Support Services – the department which supports special needs students – told the Board “the purpose of special education is the same as for all students – to prepare the students for life.”

Reviewing the history and future trends of special needs students in schools, Ms.Peters noted the current philosophy (in schools in BC) is ‘inclusion’ for students with special needs. These students have a diverse set of needs, which must be articulated within a student’s individual educational plan (‘IEP’).

The district has a range of programs designed to meet the needs of these students.

Included in Learning Support Services’ top goals are: the continued enhancement of learning for vulnerable students, and continued development of school, community and district relationships. Challenges for the department include: expanding knowledge of brain development, and building capacity for teachers to meet the needs of exceptional learners.

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