If you have questions, or require further information, please phone your child's school and ask to be connected with a member of the school's Learning Services Team, or contact the Saanich District Learning Services Department at (250) 652-7322.
Blind and Visual Impairment Support
Services for students who are blind or have visual impairments include direct and consultative support for the student and the classroom teacher. These services are provided by the Itinerant Teacher for the Visually Impaired and are available to students from Kindergarten to grade 12. Visually impaired students include those students whose visual impairments result in such a substantial educational handicap that they require curriculum and material adaptations. The services offered to visually impaired children are organized into three categories: assessment, direct service, and indirect service/consultation.
Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Support
Students from Kindergarten to grade 12 who are experiencing academic and communication difficulties as a result of their hearing loss are eligible for additional support. Services are provided by the Itinerant Teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; support consists of direct and indirect consultative service. Direct service involves assessment based on audiological information, formal test results, informal assessment and discussion with the classroom teacher and other professionals. An Individual Educational Plan (I.E.P.) is developed in consultation with School-Based Team members. Direct service may include: academic tutoring; assistance with language and speech development; assistance to the classroom teacher with integration; and liaison between student and vocational/academic agencies. Indirect/consultative service supports classroom teachers who have hearing impaired students in their classes, by providing special materials, assistance with technology, and through in-service workshops for teachers, students and parents. Continuing contact with parents, local service agencies and school administration is maintained.
While teachers are expected to design programs for students with special needs, educational assistants have a key role to play. Educational assistants perform many functions that may range from a student's personal care to assisting the teacher in planning, organizing, and implementing various programs and educational supports for students with special needs. In consultation with the teacher(s), educational assistants adapt and modify learning materials. They share relevant information with teachers to help facilitate students' learning. They may assist in collection of data to aid teachers' assessment and evaluation of students' progress. In cases where educational assistants perform health-related procedures, they are given child-specific training by qualified health professionals.
English Language Learners (ELL)
English as a Second Language (E.S.L.) support is intended to help students develop their overall English abilities which include: listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and representing. With diverse students, situations and teachers, service takes a variety of forms. Support may occur in-class, in small groups or various combinations of these contexts. ESL students benefit from additional support-especially support to develop academic and cultural language. Students who have a primary language other than English, and who are Canadian residents, qualify for ESL support. The provincial government funds this support for a maximum of five years. In Saanich, we recognize language fluency may take longer than five years to develop.
Homebound Education Support
The purpose of Homebound Education support is to enable students to continue their education program while absent from a District school for period(s) of ten consecutive days or longer during the school year due to illness or related medical reasons. Homebound Education service is intended to support the educational programs these students would receive if able to attend their home schools. The Homebound teacher acts as the agent of the student's classroom teacher. It is the responsibility of the classroom/subject teacher to direct the student's educational program. The Homebound teacher may consult and collaborate with community caregivers regarding the delivery of the program. The goal is to have students return, as soon as they are able, to their schools.
Learning Assistance/Integration Support
Learning assistance and Integration Support teachers help organize, maintain and integrate services in the school and as part of the School-Based Team, they provide the major link with support services available at the District level. Learning Assistance may include direct instruction, assessment, consultation and collaboration with parents, teachers and district staff. All students with identified Special Needs are assigned a Case Manager and in many cases this would be the Integration Support Teacher.
Occupational/Physical Therapy Support
Support services are contracted from the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) for school-based physiotherapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT). The cost for services is shared between the School District and VIHA. The occupational and physiotherapist may function as members of school-based teams. The therapists provide assessment, consultation, training for appropriate support personnel, home/school programs and in-service education. These services are determined by the child's therapist in consultation with caregivers and teachers once the referral is received. This service is provided for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Psychology Support Services
District Psychologists support students, school personnel and parents in enhancing academic, adaptive and social skills for students. The psychologist can provide psycho-educational assessments, behavior assessments, and may consult and collaborate with parents and school personnel. The psychologists are active members of the District Screening Committee, Adjudication Team; they attend District Student Review meetings and consult and collaborate with the School-Based Teams.
Speech/Language Support Services
Speech and Language support is school-based service provided by itinerant speech/language pathologists. The service is designed to provide diagnostic, consultation and remediation services to those students experiencing communication difficulties. Students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 are served; program delivery however, is mainly focused on elementary students. Direct intervention and collaborative consultation occurs at the elementary level. In middle and secondary schools, collaborative consultation may be carried out with students who have severe communication difficulties and may involve augmentative and alternative communication support. Providing primary assistance to students for whom English as a Second Language is not considered to be the responsibility of the speech/language pathologist.