Inclusive Student Services

Inclusive Student Services provide a range of services, supports, programs and placements for students with special education needs in the Durham District School Board (DDSB). Students' needs are met through a variety of supports and programs within the DDSB at both the elementary and secondary levels. All programs promote integration and independence that are optimally suited for each individual student.

For most students with special needs, their families choose programming and supports through regular class placements, with an appropriate level of accommodations and/or modifications to their program. Special education classes are also options and provide a greater intensity of support for students who require this level of programming for their success. Together with classroom teachers, Special Education Resource Teachers (SERTs) and Administrators form the core of a student's school team.

Autism Resource Services

Autism Resource Services is a designated multidisciplinary team that is a part of the continuum of existing DDSB supports for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Autism Resource Team (ART) consists of members from Psychological Services (Board Certified Behaviour Analysts), Instructional Facilitators and Speech/Language Pathologists. The ART team provides assessment, consultation and in-school mentoring and modelling of strategies to build skills that promote student success. 

Inclusive Technology team

The Inclusive Technology team provides support to students who require technology to access curriculum. Inclusive Technology facilitators support classroom teachers in implementation of technology into their daily program, and the Inclusive Technology trainers provide hands-on learning for students and their families to help them become proficient users of a variety of software and hardware. This team is always looking for additional resources to support the diverse needs of our students.

Psychological Services

Psychological Services staff provide five service functions for the DDSB: consultation, assessment, direct service, crisis response and capacity building. Each service function serves to assist staff, students and families access school programming in a way that seeks to ensure that student needs related to learning, development, social and behavioural functioning, and mental health are met in an inclusive manner.

Short-Term Assistance Response team (START)

The Short-Term Assistance Response Team (START) provides support to classroom teachers and school teams in programming for students with specialized needs which include challenging behaviours that may interfere with adequate school functioning. The team includes members of Psychological Services, Instructional Facilitators and specially trained Educational Assistants who provide in-school mentoring and modelling of strategies developed in collaboration with the school team to build skills to promote student success.

Speech, Language and Hearing Services

Speech, Language and Hearing Services provides students with educational support to help them develop effective communication skills. We also offer a number of resources to parents to support their child's development. 

Social Work and Attendance Services

Social Work and Attendance Services support students who have personal or family issues that are influencing their ability to access learning effectively. Social Work staff identify the issues affecting student attendance and school functioning. The team works with students, parent(s)/guardians and school staff to find conducive solutions 

Vision Resource Services 

Vision Resource teachers have an integral role to support the learning needs of students with vision impairments or related learning exceptionalities who require support to access the curriculum. Services may include direct service to students and/or consultation services to support visual accommodations.

Work Experience Coordinator

The Community Work Experience Coordinator collaborates with community partners to create opportunities for students with special education needs to practice and refine classroom-based practical learning skills in real-world workplace settings. The Work Experience Coordinator works with teachers and school staff so that students can access work placements safely and develop employability and life skills on work sites through supervised, structured, and guided practice.  

Programs for students with Special Education strengths and needs

Students’ needs are met through a variety of programs and placements within the DDSB. We strive to help every student meet  their full potential, while fostering the highest level of independence possible for each student.  We place a strong emphasis on the inclusion of our students with special needs, providing meaningful, individualized integration opportunities for students accessing special education programs.

The majority of students with special education needs access programming in a regular classroom.  For most students, a classroom teacher, with support of the school’s Special Education Resource Teacher and board staff, is able to provide individualized programming that allows the student to meet with success in a classroom environment with their peers.  The Board’s practice is that, whenever possible, special learning needs are supported within the home school and within a regular class placement.  The regular class placement is considered the most inclusive of placements.

Special Education Class Placements

Some students require a higher level of support, more intensive intervention and specialized services to meet with success.  For those students, parent/guardian(s) may be offered an opportunity to explore the option of a Special Education Class placement for their child.  In the DDSB, we provide eight special education class types that have clearly defined outcomes for student success and are designed to meet the needs of students with specific learning profiles.

Many Paths to Success
Programs & Placements for Students with Special Education Needs 

 Many Paths to Success brochure 

Deaf/Hard of Hearing Program

Deaf/Hard of Hearing Program brochureSpecial Education Class with Partial Integration

A special education class with partial integration that provides intensive support for students whose primary concern is speech and language related to their hearing loss. The program provides instruction in Ontario Curriculum as well as receptive and expressive language, auditory management and self-advocacy. Total communication is the focus for the program. Necessary spoken and visual supports are provided to develop receptive and expressive language and access curriculum.

Maximum of twelve students

Developmental Program

Developmental Program brochureFull-time Special Education Program

The Developmental Program provides an intensive support program for students who have significant physical, intellectual or developmental disabilities. Students accessing the Developmental Program may also be medically fragile and/or require significant sensory support. The program also includes integrated community supports embedded within programming.

Maximum of six students 

Gifted program
DDSB's Gifted program offers blended and separate educational programs for our gifted students. We also offer resources to parents, students and educators to support gifted learners.
Practical Learning Program

Practical Learning Program brochureSpecial Education Class with Partial Integration or Special Education Class Full-time

The Practical Learning Program provides intensive support while teaching and reinforcing essential skills that foster independence in activities of daily living. This program is suited for students who may have intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, and/ or autism.

Maximum of ten students 

School Support Program

School Support Program brochureSpecial Education Class with Partial Integration

The School Support Program provides an opportunity for an intensive support placement for the development of core curriculum and executive functioning (learning skills) for students within/ near their community school. The goal of the program is to foster independence and integration.

Elementary: maximum of ten students

Secondary:  maximum of twelve students
Self Regulation Class

Self Regulation Program brochureSpecial Education Class with Partial Integration

The Self-Regulation Class provides an early intervention (Grades 2 & 3) and intensive support program which seeks to support the development of self-regulation skills embedded in an academic focused program. Students will develop self-regulation skills and be supported in opportunities both within the program learning space and through integration.

Maximum of eight students

Structured Learning Class
Structured Learning Class brochure

Special Education Class with Partial Integration

The Structured Learning Class (SLC) provides intensive support for students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are working on Ontario or Alternative curriculum expectations. Teaching strategies based on Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), ie. Structured Teaching TEACCH©, data collection, positive reinforcement and generalization, are utilized to develop skills in a variety of domains including but not limited to: communication, self-regulation, and social skills.

Maximum of six students

Transition to Work Program

Transition to Work Program brochureSelf Contained Special Education Program

The DDSB Transition to Work program is designed to bridge between school and successful adult living by providing experiences in various work environments. The goal of the program is to develop employability skills and foster independence to support students with special needs to become productive workers with a goal of leading to meaningful employment. Through this program placement, students with special education needs can learn, practice, and refine productivity skills and social skills that are essential to participating in meaningful employment, learning more about themselves and the world of work.

Maximum of twelve students