Developmental disabilities and formal education . . .
Developmental disabilities affect the ability to learn (by definition of the Developmental services Ontario or DSO) and so, special attention is given to education before the supported person reaches the age of 18.
A supported person can actually stay in the Kindergarten to Grade 12 system until 21 years of age. On the other hand, a school board can withdraw services as early as age 14 if it feels that it cannot provide adequate services to the supported person.
The Education Act of Ontario governs the policies, guidelines, standards and provision of education delivered to all children in this province. Under the Act, regulations can be framed that govern “the excusal of persons who are at least 14 years old from compulsory attendance at school.” So, apart from any consideration of developmental disabilities, a transition in education can begin as early as age 14.
In 2013, a memorandum was produced by the Ministry of Education (EDU), the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) and the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) as a “tri-ministry direction on integrated transition planning to support young people with developmental disabilities.” It describes an ongoing protocol revision process. “The intent of integrated transition planning is to build on effective transition planning practices, facilitate a smooth and comprehensive transition experience and to support transition outcomes for each young person with a developmental disability and their family/caregiver” (from the Memorandum).
Essentially, the three ministries had committed to revise protocols “that will guide the development of a single transition plan
for young people with developmental disabilities with a view to implementation beginning in the 2013-14 school year.” This transition plan has to be driven by the supported person and caregivers. You can find the entire EDU 2002 document entitled “Transition Planning: A Resource Guide” below in a PDF file. If you want to look at the forms used for Transition Planning that
are found in the Appendix of that document, they are provided below in a separate PDF file.
Beyond Grade 12, education is available from institutions governed under the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU). This represents another type of transition. Here is a page on the MCTU website that provides information about
students with disabilities.
Persons with developmental disabilities are not currently being identified in the application processes for admission. As you find programs varying from school to school, so you will also find each school’s ability to provide accommodations for developmental disabilities to vary. It becomes a matter of investigating what each school offers both in programs and in readiness to help those with developmental disabilities. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) provides information about achieving barrier-free education for post-secondary students with disabilities.