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Saskatoon Public Schools
Inspiring Learning
Questions about Special Education

How does Saskatoon Public Schools meet my child's special needs?

Intensive Supports funding is provided by the Ministry of Education for students receiving intensive educational programs and supports, and who are identified as:
  •  Visually impaired
  •  Hearing impaired
  • Intellectually disabled
  • Mental Health impairment
  • Orthopaedic disability
  • Pervasive development disorder
  • Physical health impairment
  • Prenatal substance exposure
  • Substance related disorders
  • Multiply disabled
  • Other disabilities, as diagnosed

How are students identified for Intensive Support?

Our school teams and special education consultants work with families to obtain the necessary medical documentation, which meets Ministry of Education criteria. In order for a student to receive intensive supports, Saskatoon Public Schools must demonstrate the program and supports provided for each student, and document these through the student’s Personal Program Plan. A qualified special education teacher -- along with professional support staff -- is responsible for the student’s assessment, his or her program planning and program delivery. Educational Assistants may also become part of the support plan for the student.

What are some of the supports and services provided?

We provide an array of services, including:
  • Assessment
  • Resource programs
  • Educational Assistants
  • Special programs
  • Special schools
  • Speech/language services
  • Classroom supports
  • Consultative supports
  • Social skills programming
  • Counsellors/Social Workers
  • Interagency collaboration
  • Planning and evaluation at the individual, school and community levels

What is assistive technology and how is it accessed?

Assistive technology allows students with disabilities to access the curriculum. In order to receive a technical aid, students must first meet the criteria for intensive supports. Following this assessment, the school team must show that the assistive technology will help the student access the educational program in a way that is otherwise unavailable. Approval must be obtained from the Coordinator of Special Education, Saskatoon Public Schools. Once approved, the assistive technology is ordered and sent to the school. Assistive technology stays with the student no matter what school the student attends in Saskatchewan. If the student moves out-of-province, the assistive technology is returned to the Special Education Branch and re-assigned to another student.

What are some of the programs offered to students with intensive needs?

We offer an array of special programs to students with intensive needs. We prefer that students attend their neighbourhood schools with supports. However, there are times when a special program is deemed the best educational opportunity for some students:
  • The Functional Life Skills Program is offered to students with a moderate intellectual disability. A Junior Program is available for students 6 to 10 years of age; an Intermediate Program for students 11 to 14 years of age; and a Senior Program for students 15 to 22 years of age.
  •  The Functional Academics Program is offered to students with mild intellectual disabilities, who also face behaviour challenges. A Junior Program is available for students 6 to 9 years of age; an Intermediate Program for students 10 to 12 years of age; and a Senior Program for students 12 to 14 years of age.
  • The Alternate Education Work Study Program is offered at the high school level. Students follow a 4 to 5-year Alternate Education Program. For those students who may benefit from additional programming, the Life Skills Work Study Transition Program operates in our Saskatoon Public Schools Education Centre (in downtown Saskatoon). Students may attend this program until they reach 22 years of age.
John Dolan School is a special school and provides a range of services for students with multiple disabilities. John Dolan is also home to the Mary Vinish Snoezelen Park.

Are services offered at the preschool level for students with intensive needs?

Yes. The research is clear that early intervention is highly beneficial for children with disabilities. Saskatoon Public Schools works with other agencies to provide a variety of services for our preschool students. We have two congregated preschools and a Therapeutic Preschool. Additionally, we offer support in prekindergarten programs through the Early Learning Intensive Supports Pilot program. Students with disabilities are placed in prekindergarten spaces, as available, and receive educational assistant and consultative support. Visit the Prekindergarten page for additional information.

Who can I contact for more information?

 You are encouraged to call the Special Education Office at (306) 683-8332. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.