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Exceptional & Special Needs : Learning Disabilities

Exceptional & Special Needs

Learning Disabilities

We provide excellent programming for students with exceptional and special needs. Every student has unique needs, so we work with students, parents and community organizations to personalize the support for each child.

The unique needs of students with learning disabilities can usually be successfully met in their community schools. We also offer classes with more intensive support at Dr. Oakley School.

Referrals for the 2019-2020 school year at Dr. Oakley School will be considered after: 

  • an Individual Program Plan (IPP) in place by October 22, 2018
  • a minimum of one IPP review cycle for programming specific to learning disabilities has been completed prior to February 6, 2019  referral deadline
    • not including the initial IPP construction for the year.
  • Please Note | Psycho-educational assessments completed after June 1, 2018:
    • reports all index composite scores as well as all subtest scaled scores of the subtests administered 
    • accepted cognitive assessments:
      • WISC-V
      • Woodcock Johnson IV
      • Stanford-Binet V 
  • deadline for Dr. Oakley applicants February 6, 2019
Early September, 2018 Schools require 6 weeks to develop an IPP.  Therefore the schools require a copy of the psycho-educational assessment by September 10, 2018.
Before October 22, 2018 IPP constructed by current CBE school.
December 2018 Deadline for identifying potential candidates in consultation with Area inclusive strategist.
Before February 6, 2019 Mininmum of 1 IPP review cycle is completed..
April 2019 Dr. Oakley placement committee decisions are sent to current CBE school principal and Area inclusive strategist.

Identifying Students with a Learning Disability

Learning disabilities refer to a number of disorders that may affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding or use of verbal or nonverbal information.

Learning disabilities range in severity (mild, moderate, or severe) and may result in difficulties in one or more of the following areas:

  • oral language (e.g. listening, speaking, understanding)
  • reading (e.g. decoding, phonetic knowledge, word recognition, comprehension)
  • written language (e.g. spelling and written expression)
  • mathematics (e.g. computation and problem solving)

LDAC, Official Definition of Learning Disabilities

The DSM-5 uses the term “specific learning disorder” to identify various types of learning disabilities. The determination of a learning disability/specific learning disorder must be based on an assessment and diagnosis by a professional.

To identify students with a learning disability we use the Alberta Education guidelines. A registered psychologist completes a comprehensive individualized assessment of the student.

Classes for Students with a Learning Disability - Inclusion in Community Settings

In Alberta, educating students with special education needs in inclusive settings (community schools) is the first placement option to be considered.

Within the CBE, we provide excellent programming for students with exceptional and special needs. Every student has unique needs; therefore, we work in collaboration with students, parents and community organizations to personalize the support for each child.

The unique needs of students with learning disabilities/specific learning disorders can often be successfully met in their community schools.
School staff in consultation with parents draft an Individualized Program Plan (IPP), which addresses the specific educational needs of the child and identifies conditions for academic success. The IPP is reviewed throughout the year and student learning targets are updated, revised, or replaced as needed.  The IPP also lists the supports and accommodations that enable the student to succeed in learning tasks. 

Further Programming Options

For students who require more comprehensive support other programming options may be available.

As part of the IPP review cycle, parents engage in ongoing conversations with school staff to share information and perspectives related to programming and student progress. In some cases schools may decide to consult with the area learning team for further programming suggestions and/or to determine next best educational steps.

In consultation with parents, the school learning team may decide to explore more supported programming options. Schools may move forward with an application for consideration of placement in a Specialized Class or Unique Setting. Consideration for placement in a Specialized Class or Unique Setting is a collaborative process and requires careful consideration.

Specialized Classes: Learning and Literacy (L&L)

The Learning and Literacy (L&L) classes are for students grades 4 to 9, identified with learning disabilities in specific areas of literacy. Identified host schools house the L&L program within their school building. The goal of L&L is to assist each student in gaining skills, knowledge and competencies to reach their academic, social, and emotional potential. The emphasis of instruction is on developing literacy skills (reading and writing) within an inclusive classroom environment. The purpose of this program is to assist students in developing the literacy and self- advocacy skills that enable them to return to their community school.

Unique Setting: Dr. Oakley School

Dr. Oakley School is a unique setting middle school for students in Grades 3-9. This unique setting provides an intensive literacy program for students identified with a learning disability who have significant academic challenges, especially in reading. Dr. Oakley provides intensive, specialized literacy instruction for a relatively short time (typically two years). The instructional emphasis is on reading, writing and mathematics, with a goal of successful reintegration into community school programming. Due to the increased amount of time devoted to literacy instruction, students receive key components of the Science and Social Studies curriculum, but do not complete the entire Program of Studies in these subjects.


 Supporting Documents



Last modified: 12/11/2018 10:42 AM
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