Monday, February 28, 2011

Education and intellectual disability

It's interesting to see how divergent approaches are to teaching students with intellectual disability.

Here in Toronto, we've found the emphasis is on life skills -- even if the child is perfectly capable of doing academic work at their own level.

I'm told that most high school students with intellectual disabilities don't get high-school diplomas. I'm not sure if that's because they're directed into non-credit life-skills programs in Grade 9, before they're given a chance.

One of the students who did beat the odds is Ashif Jaffer. But the Toronto student with Down syndrome is now in danger of losing his first semester at York University. The university won't allow a teaching assistant to attend exams with him -- an accommodation he had at high school. See School denies access: student.

Meanwhile, U.S. dollars are being invested in college programs specifically for students with intellectual disabilities: College uses federal grant to encourage students with intellectual disabilities to attend college.


I wonder if high school kids in York Region are given a chance. That is a ways off for my daughter who is just in SK. I'm advocating for my daughter to attend Grade one at her homeschool at YRDSB. She is doing well in Kindergarten learning beside her peers although she is being taught literacy with a program geared for kids with Down Syndrome. The school has yet to set up the IPRC. They clearly understand I want her stay at school with her peers and brothers as well.