Parent Guide to Special Education

School Mission and Philosophy of Special Education

Timothy Christian School’s purpose is to assist parents in the nurturing of covenant children as promised at baptism. All covenant children, irrespective of ability or handicap, belong to Christ. As much as possible, all should receive the covenantal education desired for the children of the church. Our Special Education Program provides support in the classrooms, as well as individual and small-group instruction in the Resource Room.

I have a child with special needs (medical or developmental) and would like to enroll them in Timothy Christian School. What steps should I take?

The enrollment of exceptional students requires thorough decision-making and careful planning. The Board requests that parents of exceptional children indicate their intention to enroll their child and inform the school of the child’s abilities, limitations, and special needs two years in advance if possible. The Board will pass on the request to the Education Committee who will form an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC).

The IPRC will consist of the Principal, a member of the Education Committee, the Special Education and Resource Teacher (SERT), and the parents. The parents may also bring along a translator or advocate to speak on their behalf.

What happens at an IPRC meeting?

The principal will welcome everyone and make any necessary introductions. The meeting will open with prayer to ask for God’s blessing over the meeting. The parents are invited to share information about their child. If possible, it is helpful for parents to bring along any assessment reports from doctors or other therapists to give a clear presentation of the child’s exceptionality. The SERT may ask some specific questions regarding the abilities or limitations of the child to gain further insight and to determine suitable program placement. Available supports and services offered at Timothy Christian School are explained. The Education Committee member will take minutes of the meeting. At the conclusion of the meeting, the meeting is closed with prayer. The parents will be advised of the decision as to whether or not their child will be admitted to the Special Education Program. If yes, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be developed at a later date.

What Special Education placements and services does Timothy provide?

In the past, Timothy Christian School has provided a modified level of instruction both inside the regular classroom and in small group instruction in the Resource Room. We have made use of Educational Assistants (EA) and Personal Support Workers (PSW) as needed to meet the needs of the students. When required, we have received extra support through the services of Occupational Therapists (OT), Physiotherapists (PT), Speech Therapists (SLP), and nurses either through the Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS) or through a parent’s private funding (insurance coverage or private pay). Unlike the public system, we do not receive any special funding for laptops, iPads or other equipment used for educational needs. Likewise, we do not have any access to free psycho-educational assessments. Timothy does provide limited standardized assessments which are helpful to determine academic achievement in a variety of areas.

How do I access services through the HCCSS?

The HCCSS covers personal care. This includes toileting, eating, dressing, specific therapies (as prescribed by a registered OT or PT), and medical care. It does NOT cover safety or behavioural issues. If you think that your child could benefit from OT, PT, SLP, PSW support or nursing, contact your child’s teacher and ask for a referral form. The SERT can advise you whether your child has a good chance of qualifying. Once the referral is faxed to the HCCSS, they will determine if your child is eligible for support. If so, sessions can be held at the school, during school hours. Parents are welcome to attend therapy sessions. Although a student receives approval for service, there may be a waitlist before service can begin.

I think that my child might need an IEP. How do I request assessment?

Your first step is to approach the classroom teacher. Having a discussion with them about your observations and concerns; and listening to their observations about your child will help you decide if this is something that you should pursue. If after consultation with the teacher, you still feel that your child may need extra assistance, you can request that an in-school assessment take place. You will be asked to sign a form indicating your permission for the Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT) to take your child out of class to complete standardized academic assessments. Depending on the SERTs availability, this initial assessment may take several weeks to start. Once an assessment is done, the SERT will write an assessment report and you will be contacted to follow up with the findings. If significant delay or achievement is noted, an IEP or Profile Page may be developed for your child.

My child’s teacher has asked for my child to be assessed. What does this mean?

Before the teacher requests an assessment, they will contact you to discuss their concerns. Usually when a teacher requests an assessment it is because they have noticed a considerable difference between your child’s performance and the majority of the class. Sometimes they request an assessment because they can not quite figure out a student’s strengths and/or areas of need in a large class setting. An assessment will only take place with your permission. As with a parent-requested assessment, this initial assessment may take several weeks to start. Once an assessment is done, the SERT will write an assessment report and you will be contacted to follow up with the findings. If significant delay or achievement is noted, an IEP or Profile Page may be developed for your child.

What is an IEP?

The Individual Education Plan (IEP) is the school’s written plan of action for the exceptional student. It is developed in consultation with parents, the classroom teacher, the SERT, and EA (if applicable). All IEPs will be signed and approved by the principal. According to the Ministry of Education and Training, the IEP “is a working document which describes the strengths and needs of an individual exceptional student, the special education program and services developed to meet the students’ needs, and how the program will be delivered. It also describes the students’ progress.” The IEP is not a daily lesson plan itemizing every detail of the student’s education but provides a program framework that will help the student develop their God-given talents to the best of their ability.

The IEP will include:

  1. A profile of the student including pertinent health and medical information; supports and services provided; student strengths/areas of need/interests at the time of writing; and instructional/environmental/assessment accommodations provided.
  2. Subject-specific goals or alternative programs for student learning including a list of strategies and resources used to achieve the objectives as well as a description of how these objectives will be assessed.

What is a Profile Page?

A Profile Page is similar to an IEP in that it gives a student profile (pertinent health and medical information, supports and services, strengths, areas of need, and interests). It also lists the accommodations that will be given in the classroom to help make the student successful in the classroom. It is different from the IEP in that no specific subject modifications are made. The purpose of the Profile Page is that it is a communication tool to assist teachers supporting those students who are not admitted to the Special Education Program but may have other significant concerns that may affect their learning and who would benefit from specific accommodations.

How often does a child’s IEP/Profile Page get reviewed? What is the parent’s role?

An IEP is reviewed three times a year. Once in September/October for term one. Once in January/February for term two. A meeting will be held in June to discuss the student’s progress in the past year and to make preliminary decisions about placement for the following year.

The Profile Page gets reviewed annually, usually in September/October.

Parents are a crucial partner in developing the IEP and Profile Page. They provide insight into pertinent background or medical information and know the strengths, needs and interests of their child intimately. They are concerned with their child’s success more than anyone and can prove to be a valuable advocate for their child. Parents will be asked for their input on IEPs and Profile Pages and are opportunity for feedback on the draft documents will be sought before parental signatures are requested. Parents can request a meeting with the teacher at any time to discuss their child’s progress and IEPs can be updated as needed throughout the term. To ensure the privacy of our students and to respect the teacher’s time, we ask that any notes that you send be sent in a sealed envelope and that interviews be arranged ahead of time so as not to take place in communal areas such as hallways or in classrooms with students present.

What other local services can parents access?

The League of Canadian Reformed Schools has a committee called “Assisting Children with Exceptionalities” (ACE). Their mandate is to provide a support network for parents and staff of LCRSS Member Schools as they seek to meet the needs of children with learning exceptionalities. They hold bi-annual information meetings (check your church bulletin) and also have a parent support group. For more information, contact John Wynia, LCRSS Coordinator: or 519-802-3375.

Your family doctor is a valuable resource. They are able to assess a child’s developmental health and give referrals to specialists or for additional tests such as hearing tests.

An optometrist can provide free annual eye exams to children under the age of 20.

Growing Together Guide: Offered by a variety of local community agencies, the programs and services published in this guide are designed to help individuals learn new skills to better meet the challenges facing today’s families. Most are free. Topics include parenting skills, anxiety/mental health, behaviour/anger management, youth with special needs. Click on the link for the Growing Together Guide.

Contact Hamilton provides information to anyone about available services and supports for children, youth and their families:  email:

Depression/Suicidal thoughts:

In all cases where a child/youth is expressing suicidal thoughts, you are encouraged to call COAST at 905-972-8338.

They will assist you and/or the youth and the service is 24 hours. Where more imminent risk is present, going to the McMaster Emergency is appropriate.

Financial support for low-income families: 

Caring for Kids New to Canada:

The Hamilton Public Library offers a wide variety of free resources and programs. Examples include literacy programs, health and wellness events, computer programs, and homework help.  or