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Accessible Individual Education Plans

Currently, there are no AODA education standards. However, two AODA standards development committees have drafted recommendations of guidelines that AODA education standards should include. One committee has recommended guidelines for the kindergarten to grade twelve (K-12) education system. In this article, we outline recommendations for accessible individual education plans (IEPs).

The committee’s mandate from the Ontario government requires recommendations focused on the publicly-funded K-12 school system. However, students and educators with disabilities also face  barriers in other school settings, including:

  • Private schools
  • Pre-school programs, such as early literacy programs

Therefore, all these settings should comply with the forthcoming K-12 education standards.

Accessible Individual Education Plans (IEPs)

In a previous article, we outlined the Committee’s recommendations for creating and implementing individual education plans (IEPs). In addition, after a school board has developed or reviewed a student’s IEP, they should distribute the IEP in accessible ways. For example, people who need copies of a student’s IEP include:

  • The student
  • Their family
  • All the student’s teachers

For instance, classroom teachers and support teachers should all have copies of a student’s IEP. Some of these teachers may work with students remotely, or for only part of the time. Nonetheless, all these teachers should have copies of a student’s IEP. School boards should distribute these copies before term begins, so that teachers can learn about and implement students’ accommodations in a timely manner.

Moreover, school boards should distribute these copies in accessible formats. Accessible IEPs will meet the needs of students, family members, and educators with disabilities. Furthermore, accessible digital formats can reach remote teachers and others quickly and easily. Therefore, the Ministry of Education should provide school boards with software to prepare IEPs in accessible and conversion-ready formats. Similarly, school boards can use this software for creating other important documents, such as report cards.