The glossary provides some of the terms and phrases that are used in the K-12 Committee report and recommendations to assist with the language and context for use and application. It provides definitions of terms used throughout the different barriers to accessible education. For example, there are many specialized terms for technology barriers or curriculum barriers that need to be accessible to all readers of the document.

Attitudes in society that devalue and limit the potential of persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are assumed to be less worthy of respect and consideration, less able to contribute and take part, and of less value than other people. Ableism can be conscious or unconscious and is embedded in institutions, systems or the broader culture of a society.footnote 2

Ableism refers to discrimination towards persons with disabilities. It can be through actions as well as underlying beliefs and attitudes. Ableism involves systemic barriers as well as person-to-person interactions, stereotypes and negative attitudes that devalue and limit the potential of persons with disabilities.
Accessibility Standards
Accessibility standards are rules that persons and organizations have to follow to identify, remove and prevent barriersfootnote 3.
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) (Ontario)
A statute of Ontario. The purpose of the act is, in part, to develop, implement and enforce accessibility standards in order to remove barriers for Ontarians with disabilities on or before January 1, 2025. The act consists of standards in five areas: Customer Service, Employment, Transportation, Communication, and the Built Environment. The act came into force on June 4, 2005.
Accessibility Plan
An accessibility plan describes the actions an organization will take to prevent and remove barriers, and when it will do so. An accessibility plan creates a road map for an organization to increase accessibility. It puts into action an organization’s commitment to accessibility (refer to the statement of commitment), and its accessibility policiesfootnote 4.
Accessible Digital Format
Information that is provided in digital form that is accessible such as HTML and MS Word.
Accessible Technology
Technology designed with a wide range of users in mind having built-in customizable features allowing a user to individualize their experience and meet their needs. It can be used by all users. Incorporates the principles of universal design.
A qualitative and quantitative measure of the success or failure to implement of a specific course of action or recommendation for school boards, government ministry and related third parties.
Accountability Measures
Implementation plans must include clearly stated qualitative and quantitative performance metrics to measure of the success or failure to implement a specific course of action or recommendation for school boards, government ministry and related third parties (student transportation consortia for example).
Alternative (alternate) Format
A method of communication that takes into account a person’s disabilities. Examples include providing a text version of a website, or a large print version of a document for someone with a visual disability.footnote 2

footnote 5These are formats that present printed or electronic documents in different formats in order to ensure everyone has equal access to the information which is required under the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. Persons with disabilities often use adaptive/assistive technology that require an alternate/accessible format so the technology can access the information in a specific manner for the user. This can include people who:
  • are blind or have low vision
  • have an intellectual or other cognitive disability
  • cannot hold publications or turn pages because of a physical disability
  • have difficulties accessing information on the Internet
  • have difficulties watching or hearing video presentation
Antidiscrimination Education
An approach that seeks to eliminate from an educational system and its practices all forms of discrimination based on the prohibited grounds identified in the Ontario Human Rights Code and other factors. Anti-discrimination education seeks to identify and change educational policies, procedures, and practices that may unintentionally condone or foster discrimination, as well as the attitudes and behaviours that underlie and reinforce such policies and practices. It provides teachers and students with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to critically examine issues related to discrimination, power, and privilege. Antidiscrimination education promotes the removal of discriminatory biases and systemic barriers.
An active and consistent process of change to eliminate individual, institutional and systemic racism as well as the oppression and injustice racism causes.footnote 2
The process of gathering information that accurately reflects how well a student is achieving the curriculum expectations in a subject or course. The primary purpose of assessment is to improve student learning. Assessment for the purpose of improving student learning is seen as both “assessment for learning” and “assessment as learning”. Evaluation of student learning is based on assessment of learning that provides evidence of student achievement at strategic times throughout the grade/course, often at the end of a period of learningfootnote 6.

Assessment includes educator assessments and professional assessments completed by a variety of clinical, medical, and rehabilitation professionals.
Assessment as learning
The process of developing and supporting student metacognition. Students are actively engaged in this assessment process: that is, they monitor their own learning; use assessment feedback from teacher, self, and peers to determine next steps; and set individual learning goals. Assessment as learning requires students to have a clear understanding of the learning goals and success criteria. Assessment as learning focuses on the role of the student as the critical connector between assessment and learning.footnote 7
Assessment for learning
The ongoing process of gathering and interpreting evidence about student learning for the purpose of determining where students are in their learning, where they need to go, and how best to get there. The information gathered is used by teachers to provide feedback and adjust instruction and by students to focus their learning. Assessment for learning is a high-yield instructional strategy that takes place while the student is still learning and serves to promote learning.footnote 7
Assessment of learning
The process of collecting and interpreting evidence for the purpose of summarizing learning at a given point in time, to make judgements about the quality of student learning on the basis of established criteria, and to assign a value to represent that quality.footnote 7
Assistive device
Devices to help people – primarily persons with disabilities – to perform a task. Examples are a wheelchair, personal oxygen tank, assistive listening device, electronic device with adaptive technology, or visible emergency alarm.footnote 2
Assistive Technology or Adaptive Technology (AT)
Is any piece of technology that helps a student with or without a disability to increase or maintain his/her level of functioning. These often include laptops with specialized programs, like speech to text, text to speech, graphic organizers and word prediction software.footnote 8
Asynchronous Learning
Learning that is not delivered in real time. Asynchronous learning may involve students watching pre-recorded video lessons, completing assigned tasks, or contributing to online discussion boardsfootnote 9. Asynchronous Learning happens on your schedule. While your course of study, instructor or degree program will provide materials for reading, lectures for viewing, assignments for completing, and exams for evaluation, you have the ability to access and satisfy these requirements within a flexible time frame. Methods of asynchronous online learning include self-guided lesson modules, streaming video content, virtual libraries, posted lecture notes, and exchanges across discussion boards or social media platforms.
Attitudinal Barriers
Occur when people exhibit perceptions, behaviours or make assumptions about individuals with disabilities that are discriminatory.
The notion that a person is superior based on their ability to hear or to act like a person who hearsfootnote 2.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) refers to the various ways individuals who cannot speak may communicate their ideas. Individuals may use various combinations of alternate methods of communication such as displays with pictures, alphabet or words, gestures, sign language, computers, and electronic talking devices. AAC also refers to strategies used to assist people with writing when handwriting is not possible because of physical limitationsfootnote 10.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurological disorder that affects the way a person communicates and relates to the people and world around them. ASD can affect behaviour, social interactions, and one’s ability to communicate. ASD crosses all cultural, ethnic, geographic, and socioeconomic boundaries.

ASD is a spectrum disorder, which means that while all people on the spectrum will experience certain difficulties, the degree to which each person on the spectrum experiences these challenges will be different.

Whether someone with ASD is affected mildly, severely, or somewhere in between, they might have difficulty verbalizing their thoughts, managing their anxiety, dealing with change, or participating in group activities. This can sometimes result in unintended conflicts with the community at large, lead to engagement with the mental health sector, as well as criminal and family justice systems. Without the proper supports, people on the spectrum can experience joblessness, homelessness, strain and stress. This can have a major impact on their quality of lifefootnote 11.
“Barrier” means anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability, including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or a practice; (“obstacle”)footnote 12.
A predisposition, prejudice or generalization about a group of persons based on personal characteristics or stereotypesfootnote 2.
Bilingual Education
Development of literacy in two languages entails linguistic and cognitive advantages for bilingual students.
Ensures a Bilingual Education for Deaf Students that promotes both American Sign Language (ASL) and English:
  • Language and Literacy Acquisition
  • Critical Thinking Skills and Meta-linguistic awareness and
  • Academic Success
  • Positive Self Image and Successful Social Interaction
  • Appreciation of ASL and Multi-Cultural Identities
  • A Learning Environment Appreciative of Diversity
  • American Sign Language is the first-language base for students. It is used as the language of dialogue, instruction and study. ASL is used to provide students with world knowledge that is a prerequisite for understanding English literacy.
  • First language proficiency creates teaching and learning experiences that increase the academic achievement of every student.
  • First language proficiency in ASL promotes second language (English) mastery.
  • English is a language of instruction and study.
  • ASL and multi-cultural heritage information are used in teaching.
The same goes for Deaf students who use Langue des signs Quebecoise and Frenchfootnote 13.
Built environment
The term built environment refers to the human-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from buildings and parks or green space to neighbourhoods and cities that can often include their supporting infrastructure, such as water supply, or energy networks. The built environment is a material, spatial and cultural product of human labor that combines physical elements and energy in forms for living, working and playing. It has been defined as “the human-made space in which people live, work, and recreate on a day-to-day basis”. The “built environment encompasses places and spaces created or modified by people including buildings, parks, and transportation systems”. In recent years, public health research has expanded the definition of "built environment" to include healthy food access, community gardens, “walkability", and “bikability”footnote 14.
Community of Practice
A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who share a common concern, a set of problems, or an interest in a topic and who come together to fulfill both individual and group goals.
Competing rights
Situations where parties to a dispute claim that the enjoyment of an individual or group’s human rights and freedoms, as protected by law, would interfere with another’s rights and freedomsfootnote 2.
Conversation Ready
As children begin establishing the building blocks for how to communicate with others, it’s important to equip them with conversational tools for what to communicate with others. Many kids will identify with the frozen feeling of being unsure what to say next, how to answer a question or how to continue a conversation. As a result, many educators are seeing the need to teach conversation skills to all students in a general education setting.

Over time, conversational cues and topics of conversation may become more natural for some students, but extra guidance and education can help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Disabilities and other social and emotional needs to find their footing fasterfootnote 15.
Conversion Ready: (AODA Significance)
Conversion Ready refers to digital information that can be easily converted into an accessible format which would provide individuals with an alternative means to access information and educational resources.

People interact, learn, and communicate in diverse ways. Learning opportunities are increased when flexible ways of engaging with learning materials are provided. Considering how people communicate is important for knowledge to be exchanged. Alternative formats take into account diverse ways of exchanging information.

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 legislates that educational institutions and their employees know how to produce accessible or conversion ready versions of textbooks and printed material. Educators, teachers, staff are to learn about accessible course delivery and instruction and be knowledgeable at interacting and communicating with persons with disabilities who may use alternate formatsfootnote 16.
Co-op Opportunity
The cooperative education program provides opportunities for all students in secondary school, including adult learners, to apply, refine, and extend, in the classroom and in the context of a community outside the school, the skills and knowledge outlined in the cooperative education curriculumfootnote 17.
The customs, beliefs, behaviours and/or achievements of a particular time and/or people; behaviour within a particular groupfootnote 2.
Cultural Competence
An ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures, particularly in human resources, non-profit organizations, and government agencies whose employees work with persons from different cultural/ethnic backgrounds. Cultural competence has four components:
  1. awareness of one's own cultural worldview
  2. attitude towards cultural differences
  3. knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews
Cross-cultural skills (developing cultural competence results in an ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across culturesfootnote 2.
Cultural Responsiveness
Culture goes much deeper than typical understandings of ethnicity, race and/or faith. It encompasses broad notions of similarity and difference and it is reflected in our students’ multiple social identities and their ways of knowing and of being in the world. In order to ensure that all students feel safe, welcomed and accepted, and inspired to succeed in a culture of high expectations for learning, schools and classrooms must be responsive to culture.

Gay (2000) and Villegas and Lucas (2002), use the terms “Culturally Responsive Teaching” or “Culturally Responsive Pedagogy” to describe teaching that recognizes all students learn differently and that these differences may be connected to background, language, family structure and social or cultural identity. Theorists and practitioners of culturally responsive pedagogy more than acknowledge the “cultural uniqueness” of each student; they intentionally nurture it in order to create and facilitate effective conditions for learning (Brown-Jeffy & Cooper, 2011). They see student diversity in terms of student strengths; they orient to it as presenting opportunities for enhancing learning rather than as challenges and/or deficits of the student or particular communityfootnote 18.
Diagnostic Assessment
Assessment that is used to identify a student’s needs and abilities and the student’s readiness to acquire the knowledge and skills outlined in the curriculum expectations. Diagnostic assessment usually takes place at the start of a school year, term, semester, or teaching unit. It is a key tool used by teachers in planning instruction and setting appropriate learning goals.
Differentiated Instruction (DI)

Tomlinson (2005), a leading expert in this field, defines differentiated instruction as a philosophy of teaching that is based on the premise that students learn best when their teachers accommodate the differences in their readiness levels, interests and learning profiles.

Hehir at Harvard defines Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for learning as a scientifically valid framework for guiding educational practice that: (A) provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged; and (B) reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains high achievement expectations for all students, including students with disabilities and students who are limited English proficient.

Differentiated Instruction is a process where educators vary the learning activities, content demands, and modes of assessment to meet the needs and support the growth of each child. DI provides different learning experiences in response to each student’s needs (Tomlinson, 1999). It is a method of teaching that attempts to adapt instruction to suit the differing interests, learning styles, and readiness to learn of individual students footnote 6.
Digital Literacy Technology
Although there are varying definitions digital literacy involves the capacity to navigate and adapt to a changing digital environment through access to and use of digital tools, understand how they work, and create digital tools and innovations. It includes 1) finding, consuming and evaluating digital content; 2) creating digital content; and 3) communicating or sharing it.
Dispute resolution
Is a term that refers to a number of processes that can be used to resolve a conflict, dispute or claim. Methods of dispute resolution include:
  • lawsuits (litigation)(judicial)
  • arbitration
  • collaborative law
  • mediation
  • conciliation
  • negotiation
  • facilitation
  • avoidance
Examples of alternative dispute resolution
Include negotiation, mediation and arbitration, all of which avoid the courtroom while attempting to resolve disputes between two parties.
  • The goal of mediation is for a neutral third party to help disputants come to a consensus on their own. Rather than imposing a solution, a professional mediator works with the conflicting sides to explore the interests underlying their positions.
  • Mediation can be effective at allowing parties to vent their feelings and fully explore their grievances.
  • Working with parties together and sometimes separately, mediators can try to help them hammer out a resolution that is sustainable, voluntary, and nonbinding.
  • In arbitration, a neutral third party serves as a judge who is responsible for resolving the dispute.
  • The arbitrator listens as each side argues its case and presents relevant evidence, then renders a binding decision.
  • The disputants can negotiate virtually any aspect of the arbitration process, including whether lawyers will be present at the time and which standards of evidence will be used.
  • Arbitrators hand down decisions that are usually confidential and that cannot be appealed.
  • Like mediation, arbitration tends to be much less expensive than litigation.
Dimensions of Diversity
The unique personal characteristics that distinguish us as individuals and groups. These include but are not limited to age, sex, gender, race, ethnicity, physical and intellectual ability, class, creed, religion, sexual orientation, educational background and expertisefootnote 2.
“Defining disability is a complex, evolving matter. The term “disability” covers a broad range and degree of conditions. A disability may have been present at birth, caused by an accident, or developed over time. Section 10 of the Code defines “disability” as:
  1. Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device.
  2. a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability
  3. a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language
  4. a mental disorder
  5. an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997
“Disability” should be interpreted in broad terms. It includes both present and past conditions, as well as a subjective component, namely, one based on perception of disability. It is the OHRC’s position that anticipated disabilities are also covered by the Code. This would apply where a person does not currently have a disability, but they are treated adversely because of a perception that they will eventually develop a disability, become a burden, pose a risk, and/or require accommodation. The focus should always be on the current abilities of a person and the situation’s current risks rather than on limitations or risks that may or may not arise in the future.

Although sections 10(a) to (e) of the Code set out various types of conditions, it is clear that they are merely illustrative and not exhaustive. It is also a principle of human rights law that the Code be given a broad, purposive and contextual interpretation to advance the goal of eliminating discrimination.

A disability may be the result of combinations of impairments and environmental barriers, such as attitudinal barriers, inaccessible information, an inaccessible built environment or other barriers that affect people’s full participation in society”footnote 19.
  • The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 uses the Ontario Human Rights Code definition of “disability” as identified belowfootnote 12.
“Discrimination is not defined in the Code but usually includes the following elements:
  • not individually assessing the unique merits, capacities and circumstances of a person
  • instead, making stereotypical assumptions based on a person’s presumed traits
  • having the impact of excluding persons, denying benefits or imposing burdens.
Many people wrongly think that discrimination does not exist if the impact was not intended, or if there were other factors that could explain a particular situation. In fact, discrimination often takes place without any intent to do harm. And in most cases, there are overlaps between discrimination and other legitimate factors.”footnote 20
Revised version approved by the OHRC: Policy on accessible education for students with disabilities (March 2018)
Note: In the Ontario Human Rights Code, “discrimination” is a legal term that is defined by extensive case law. This is not an attempt to capture what that case law says.
Discriminatory Bias
A perception or act based on a personal perspective as opposed to a neutral or objective perspective, which sees or judges an individual or situation through that positive or negative lens. This serves as a barrier to fair, inclusive and respectful treatment of people and limits our students’ prospects for learning, growing, and fully contributing to society.
Distance Education Programs
Means programs to provide courses of study online, through correspondence, or by other means that do not require the physical attendance by the student at a schoolfootnote 21.
Distance Learning
A method of study where teachers and students do not meet in a classroom but use the Internet, e-mail, mail, etc., to have classes. Distance learning, also called distance education, e-learning, and online learning, form of education in which the main elements include physical separation of teachers and students during instruction and the use of various technologies to facilitate student-teacher and student-student communication. Distance learning traditionally has focused on non-traditional students, such as full-time workers, military personnel, and non-residents or individuals in remote regions who are unable to attend classroom lectures. However, distance learning has become an established part of the educational world, with trends pointing to ongoing growth.
The presence of a wide range of human qualities and attributes within a group, organization or society. The dimensions of diversity include, but are not limited to, ancestry, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, language, physical and intellectual ability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.
Duty to accommodate
Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, people identified by Code grounds are entitled to the same opportunities and benefits as everybody else.

In some cases, they may need special arrangements or “accommodations” to take part equally in the social areas the Code covers, such as employment, housing and education. Employers, housing providers, education providers and other parties responsible under the Code have a legal obligation to accommodate Code-identified needs, unless they can prove it would cause them undue hardship. Undue hardship is based on cost, outside sources of funding and health and safety factorsfootnote 2.

Note: In the Ontario Human Rights Code terms “duty to accommodate” and “undue hardship” are legal terms that are defined by case law. This is not an attempt to capture what that case law says.
Elementary and Secondary School Educators
Under the Education Act, school principals are responsible for referring exceptional students to a committee for identification and placement, for preparing an individual education plan for each exceptional student, and for communicating board policies and procedures to staff, students and parents. Teachers are responsible for participating in the accommodation process, assessing students’ progress, and communicating with parents. All education providers are required to investigate accommodation solutions and grant accommodation requests in a timely manner.
Emergency preparedness
The knowledge, capacities and organizational systems developed by governments, response and recovery organizations, communities and individuals effectively to anticipate, respond to, and recover from the impacts of likely, imminent, emerging, or current emergenciesfootnote 22.
An event or threat that produces or has the potential to produce a range of consequences that require urgent, coordinated actionfootnote 22.
Emergency response plan (ERP)
A document describing how an agency or organization will manage its response to emergencies. An ERP describes the objectives, policies and concept of operations (CONOPS) for the response, as well as the structure, authorities and responsibilities to make that response systematic, coordinated and effective. For example: a national whole-of- government ERP can be a synthesis of ministry-specific ERPs, and can detail the resources, capacities, and capabilities that each ministry will employ in its response. A whole-of-society ERP also includes contributions from the private sectorfootnote 22.
Emerging Technologies
“There is no commonly agreed definition of emerging technologies but what this term potentially covers is vast and of course will change over time. For the purpose of this report* emerging technologies are technologies that are relatively new fast developing with the potential to deliver a considerable impact on individuals in society in the next five to 10 years. We focused on emerging technologies that are readily available to consumers many emerging technologies highlighted in this report rely on artificial and intelligence.”footnote 23
Just or characterized by fairness or equity. Equitable treatment can at times differ from same treatmentfootnote 2.
Equitable Funding Barriers
Currently there is considerable funding in education for content that is not accessible to all students. Textbooks and learning management platforms often are not usable by students with disabilities. Additional funding is required to procure and train on assistive technologies to access curriculum. The cost of assistive technology devices and training can be particularly high with respect to low incidence disabilities. Ongoing technical and training support from qualified personnel for staff and students is essential, but places additional stressors on budgets.
Equitable Training Barriers
Occur when technology is deployed without adequate and appropriate student and staff instruction by qualified experts in the use and application of the technology. Obstacles exist when there is little or no measurement of the effectiveness of the training on student outcomes and overcoming the learning barriers the technology was designed to address. For example, a student is provided with text to speech technology to provide access to digital text but is not instructed on the strategies required to increase comprehension of the text and no data is periodically collected on student outcomes following the implementation of the technology. This can lead to underutilization of the assistive technology without an understanding of why and identifying solutions.
A condition or state of fair, inclusive and respectful treatment of all people. A condition or state of fair, inclusive, and respectful treatment of all people. Equity does not mean that people are treated the same without regard for individual differences.
Sharing a distinctive cultural and historical tradition often associated with race, place of origin, ancestry or creed.footnote 2
The process of judging the quality of student learning on the basis of established criteria and assigning a value to represent that quality. Evaluation is based on assessments of learning that provide data on student achievement at strategic times throughout the grade/subject/course, often at the end of a period of learning.
Evidence-based and evidence-informed
Evidence-based programs use a defined curriculum or set of services that, when implemented with fidelity as a whole, has been validated by some form of scientific evidence. Evidence-based practices and programs may be described as "supported" or "well-supported", depending on the strength of the research design.

Evidence-informed practices use the best available research and practice knowledge to guide program design and implementation. This informed practice allows for innovation while incorporating the lessons learned from the existing research literature. Ideally, evidence-based and evidence-informed programs and practices should be responsive to families' cultural backgrounds, community values, and individual preferences.
Exclusion is used in this document to mean Refusal to Admit [Education Act, s. 265 (m)] and also includes formal or informal requests for the student to attend school for less than the full school day, or one or more full school days, except where the absence from school has been requested by the parent/guardian.
Executive functioning
Executive function and self-regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully.
Experiential Learning
Today's students need learning that goes beyond the classroom. School-work programs expand students' learning by helping them:
  • understand more about the industries they may want to pursue in the future
  • get exposed to career options in industries they may not have known about or even considered
  • develop essential workplace skills
  • see how their in-class learning can be applied in the workplace
  • make more informed decisions about their education and career path so they make a successful transition into the job market (Ontario Ministry of Education).
In experiential learning opportunities, students work in partnership with communities or community organizations to support community-identified priorities. These opportunities allow students to learn from community expertise, enhance their knowledge, and develop their social and civic responsibility. These opportunities typically involve engagement with community, non-profit, and / or public organizations. Co-curricular community-engaged learning consists of a structured learning experience that takes place outside of a course, in partnership with community for the purpose of supporting priorities identified by the community, enhancing students’ knowledge, and sense of social and civic responsibility. It occurs in non-profit, community and/or public organizations.
Financial literacy
Financial literacy means having the knowledge and skills to make responsible economic and financial decisions with confidence. This can apply to everyday decisions, like buying groceries to bigger investments, like paying for tuition or buying a car. Financial literacy builds students' understanding of personal finances, the local and global economy and the results of their choices as consumers so that they can make informed financial decisions throughout their lives.
First Nations
A term that is used to describe Aboriginal peoples in Canada that are not Métis or Inuit. Also, a general term to describe a community or communities that have similar identifiers (such as, land – reserve; culture, language, traditions, history). There are 634 First Nations in Canada that speak 60 distinct languagesfootnote 24.
Formative assessment
Assessment that takes place during instruction in order to provide direction for improvement for individual students and for adjustment to instructional programs for individual students and for a whole class. The information gathered is used for the specific purpose of helping students improve while they are still gaining knowledge and practising skills.
Full Captioned Videos
Captions are text versions of the audio content, synchronized with the video. They are essential for ensuring your video is accessible to students, employees, and members of the public who are deaf or hard of hearing. They also help non-native English speakers to understand the video, make it possible to search for content within the video, help all students learn the spelling of technical terms spoken in the video, and make it possible to generate an interactive transcript where users can click anywhere in the transcript to watch the video where that text is spoken. (University of Washington) Quality and visibility of captions are vital for success of Deaf and hard of hearing students in the classroom. All videos regardless of the platform they are on, should have a captioned option.

Gender identity
A person’s conscious sense of maleness and/or femaleness. This sense of self is separate and distinct from one’s biological sexfootnote 2.
Under the Education Act, the Ministry of Education is responsible for setting out a process for identifying and accommodating disability-related needs in the publicly funded elementary and secondary school systems. The ministry must ensure that all exceptional pupils can access special education programs and services without payment of fees. The ministry is responsible for funding levels and structures, legislating procedures, and creating appeal and monitoring mechanisms. The ministry of Colleges and Universities is responsible for providing similar educational services at the postsecondary level. Both ministries are also required, to complete an annual accessibility plan that addresses the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to persons with disabilities.
Hate Activity
Comments or actions against a person or group motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, marital status, family status, sexual orientation or any other similar factor. Examples are hate crime, hate propaganda, advocating genocide, telephone electronic communication promoting hate, and publicly displaying hate in notices, signs, symbols and emblemsfootnote 2.
Engaging in a course of comments or actions that are known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome. It can involve words or actions that are known or should be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, demeaning or unwelcome. Harassment under the Ontario Human Rights Code is based on the prohibited/protected grounds (see definition)footnote 2.
Historical Disadvantage
Disadvantage resulting from historic patterns of institutionalized and other forms of systemic discrimination, sometimes legalized social, political, cultural, ethnic, religious and economic discrimination, as well as discrimination in employment. This also includes under-representation experienced by disadvantaged groups such as women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, LGBT persons and racialized peoplefootnote 2.
Human Rights Code (the “Code”) (Ontario)
A provincial law that gives everyone equal rights and opportunities without discrimination in the specific areas of good, services and facilities, accommodation/housing, contracts, membership in vocational associations and trade unions and employment. The Code’s goal is to prevent discrimination and harassment and outlines the inalienable rights of all members of the human family. The Code was one of the first laws of its kind in Canada and is in accord with the United Nations’ International Declaration of Human Rights. Before 1962, various laws dealt with different kinds of discrimination. The Code brought them together into one law and added new protections. See Prohibited/Protected Grounds.
Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC)
Regulation 181/98 requires that all school boards set up an Identification, Placement and Review Committee. An Identification, Placement, and Review Committee is composed of at least three persons, one of whom must be a principal or supervisory officer of the board.

Role of the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee
  • decide whether or not the student should be identified as exceptional
  • identify the areas of the student’s exceptionality, according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education
  • decide an appropriate placement for the student
  • review the identification and placement at least once in each school year
Who is identified as an exceptional pupil?
The Education Act defines an exceptional pupil as “a pupil whose behavioural, communicational, intellectual, physical or multiple exceptionalities are such that he or she is considered to need placement in a special education program....” Students are identified according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education.

Categories and Definitions of Exceptionalities:
The following terms when used are from the Ministry of Education resource cited below. School Boards may have further criteria for determination of exceptionality.

  • Behavioural Exceptionality: A learning disorder characterized by specific behaviour problems over such a period of time, and to such a marked degree, and of such a nature, as to adversely affect educational performance and that may be accompanied by one or more of the following:
    1. an inability to build or to maintain interpersonal relationships
    2. excessive fears or anxieties
    3. a tendency to compulsive reaction
    4. an inability to learn that cannot be traced to intellectual, sensory, or other health factors, or any combination thereof
  • Autism: A severe learning disorder that is characterized by:
    1. disturbances in rate of educational development; ability to relate to the environment; mobility; perception, speech, and language;
    2. lack of the representational symbolic behaviour that precedes language.
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing: An impairment characterized by deficits in language and speech development because of a diminished or non-existent auditory response to sound.
  • Language Impairment: A learning disorder characterized by an impairment in comprehension and/or the use of verbal communication or the written or other symbol system of communication, which may be associated with neurological, psychological, physical, or sensory factors, and which may:
    1. involve one or more of the forms, content, and function of language in communication; and
    2. include one or more of: language delay; dysfluency; voice and articulation development, which may or may not be organically or functionally based.
  • Speech Impairment: A disorder in language formulation that may be associated with neurological, psychological, physical, or sensory factors; that involves perceptual motor aspects of transmitting oral messages; and that may be characterized by impairment in articulation, rhythm, and stress.
  • Learning Disability: One of a number of neurodevelopmental disorders that persistently and significantly has an impact on the ability to learn and use academic and other skills and that:
    1. Affects the ability to perceive or process verbal or non-verbal information in an effective and accurate manner in students who have assessed intellectual abilities that are at least in the average range.
    2. Results in (a) academic underachievement that is inconsistent with the intellectual abilities of the student (which are at least in the average range), and/or (b) academic achievement that can be maintained by the student only with extremely high levels of effort and/or with additional support.
    3. Results in difficulties in the development and use of skills in one or more of the following areas: reading, writing, mathematics, and work habits and learning skills.
    4. May typically be associated with difficulties in one or more cognitive processes, such as phonological processing; memory and attention; processing speed; perceptual-motor processing; visual-spatial processing; executive functions (for example, self-regulation of behaviour and emotions, planning, organizing of thoughts and activities, prioritizing, decision making).
    5. May be associated with difficulties in social interaction (for example, difficulty in understanding social norms or the point of view of others); with various other conditions or disorders, diagnosed or undiagnosed; or with other exceptionalities.
    6. Is not the result of a lack of acuity in hearing and/or vision that has not been corrected; intellectual disabilities; socio-economic factors; cultural differences; lack of proficiency in the language of instruction; lack of motivation or effort; gaps in school attendance or inadequate opportunity to benefit from instruction.
  • Giftedness: An unusually advanced degree of general intellectual ability that requires differentiated learning experiences of a depth and breadth beyond those normally provided in the regular school program to satisfy the level of educational potential indicated.
  • Mild Intellectual Disability: A learning disorder characterized by:
    1. an ability to profit educationally within a regular class with the aid of considerable curriculum modification and support services
    2. an inability to profit educationally within a regular class because of slow intellectual development
    3. a potential for academic learning, independent social adjustment, and economic self-support
  • Developmental Disability: A severe learning disorder characterized by:
    1. an inability to profit from a special education program for students with mild intellectual disabilities because of slow intellectual development
    2. an ability to profit from a special education program that is designed to accommodate slow intellectual development
    3. a limited potential for academic learning, independent social adjustment, and economic self-support
  • Physical Disability: A condition of such severe physical limitation or deficiency as to require special assistance in learning situations to provide the opportunity for educational achievement equivalent to that of students without exceptionalities who are of the same age or development level.
  • Blind and Low Vision: A condition of partial or total impairment of sight or vision that even with correction affects educational performance adversely.
  • Multiple Exceptionalities: A combination of learning or other disorders, impairments, or physical disabilities that is of such a nature as to require, for educational achievement, the services of one or more teachers holding qualifications in special education and the provision of support services appropriate for such disorders, impairments, or disabilities.
IPRC Placement
What will the they consider in making its placement decision?
Before the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee can consider placing the student in a special education class, it must consider whether placement in a regular class with appropriate special education services will:
  • meet the student’s needs
  • be consistent with parental preferences
  • If, after considering all of the information presented to it, the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee is satisfied that placement in a regular class will meet the student’s needs and that such a decision is consistent with parental preferences, the committee will decide in favour of placement in a regular class with appropriate special education services.
  • If the committee decides that the student should be placed in a special education class, it must state the reasons for that decision in its written statement of decision.
The following is additional Ministry of Education information regarding placements:
  • A regular class with indirect support: the student is placed in a regular class for the entire day, and the teacher receives specialized consultative services.
  • A regular class with resource assistance: the student is placed in the regular class for most or all of the day and receives specialized instruction, individually or in a small group, within the regular classroom from a qualified special education teacher.
  • A regular class with withdrawal assistance: the student is placed in the regular class and receives instruction outside of the classroom for less than 50 per cent of the school day, from a qualified special education teacher.
  • A special education class with partial integration: the student is placed by the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee in a special education class where the student-teacher ratio conforms to the standards in O. Reg. 298, section 31, for at least 50 per cent of the school day, but is integrated with a regular class for at least one instructional period daily.
  • A special education class full time: the student is placed by the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee in a special education class, where the student-teacher ratio conforms to the standards in O. Reg. 298, section 31 for the entire school day.
Other options exist to meet the student's needs, and parents and school board staff are encouraged to explore them. For example, they may need to consider applying for admission to:
  • provincial school for students who are deaf, blind, or deafblind, or a demonstration school for students who have severe learning disabilities or a facility that provides the necessary care or treatment appropriate to the student's condition.
  • applications to provincial schools and demonstration schools are coordinated and submitted by the school board. Applications to care and treatment facilities are made by the parents directly to the facility, although school board staff may be able to assist the parents in gathering useful information.
A physical, sensory, intellectual, learning or medical condition, including mental illness, that limits functioning and/or requires accommodation. Impairment may be apparent to others or hidden, inherited, self-inflicted or acquired, and may exist alone or in combination with other impairments. Impairment can affect anyone (whatever their gender, sex, race, culture, age, religion, creed, etc.)footnote 2
Recommendations of the Education Accessibility Standards Development Committee approved by government are acted on (within set timelines) by those responsible parties — school boards, ministries. The government establishes working committees to develop PPMs to ensure consistent understanding of the requirements of the recommendations across school boards, while introducing compliance measures.
Appreciating and using our unique differences – strengths, talents, weaknesses and frailties – in a way that shows respect for the individual and ultimately creates a dynamic multi-dimensional organizationfootnote 2.
Inclusive Design
Taking into account differences among individuals and groups when designing something, to avoid creating barriers. Inclusive design can apply to systems, facilities, programs, policies, services, education, etc.footnote 2.
Inclusive Education
Education that is based on the principles of acceptance and inclusion of all students. Students see themselves reflected in their curriculum, their physical surroundings, and the broader environment, in which diversity is honoured and all individuals are respectedfootnote 25.
Generally used in the international context, refers to peoples who are original to a particular land or territory. This term is very similar to “Aboriginal” and has a positive connotationfootnote 2.
Individualized Education Plan
A plan called an individual education plan containing specific objective and an outline of special education services that meet the needs of the exceptional pupil. The Individual Education Plan must be developed for a student, in consultation with the parent. It must include:
  • specific educational expectations
  • an outline of the special education program and services that will be received
  • a statement about the methods by which the student’s progress will be reviewed
  • for students 14 years and older (except those identified as exceptional solely on the basis of giftedness), a plan for transition to appropriate postsecondary school activities, such as work, further education, and community living
The Individual Education Plan must be completed within 30 days after the student has been placed in the program, and the principal must ensure that the parent receives a copy of itfootnote 26.
Information and Communication Barriers
Occur when information is not provided in an accessible digital format and/or when information and communication are inaccessible to students with a wide range of disabilities such as; physical, intellectual, vision, hearing, communication, learning, mental health issues or students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. These barriers relate to both the sending and receiving of information.
Intersectionality is the study of how various forms of oppression, discrimination, domination and other social processes intersect and influence each other. For example, students in schools can belong to more than one marginalized group. A student may identify as being culturally different from his or her classmates, belong to a different socio-economic group, and may also identify as gay. This student’s experience would be different than someone who is of a similar cultural and socio-economic group as the majority of the class, but who also identifies as gay. Though these two students have an identity in common, their experiences in and around the classroom would likely be quite different because of their unique outlooks, as well as their unique social and cultural circumstances. They may not benefit from the same types of supports and would likely need educators and administration in schools to support and nurture their needs differently. An intersectional education lens takes various social, historical and political processes into consideration in order to best understand how to support the wide range of experiences of diverse studentsfootnote 27.
In-service training is designed to develop the skills of people who are already working in a particular profession like education.
Job-embedded professional development (JEPD)
Job-embedded professional development refers to teacher learning that is grounded in day-to-day teaching practice and is designed to enhance teachers' content-specific instructional practices with the intent of improving student learning.footnote 37 Effective professional learning for today’s teachers should include the following features:
  • It must be grounded in inquiry and reflection, be participant-driven, and focus on improving planning and instruction.
  • It must be collaborative, involving the sharing of knowledge and focusing on communities of practice rather than on individual teachers.
  • It must be ongoing, intensive and supported by modeling, coaching and the collective solving of specific problems so that teachers can implement their new learning and sustain changes in practice.
  • It must be connected to and derived from teachers’ work with students – teaching, assessing, observing and reflecting on the processes of learning and development (Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat, Job-embedded professional learning).
Multi-disciplinary Team Model
A multidisciplinary team is composed of members from more than one discipline so that the team can offer a greater breadth of services to the student. Team members work independently and interact formally. Multidisciplinary teams may be thought of as requiring everyone to “do his or her own thing” with little or no awareness of other disciplines’ work. There is often power dynamics involved in terms of a hierarchy of discipline importance.
Multi-literacy is the ability to identify, interpret, create and communicate meaning across a variety of visual, oral, corporal, musical and alphabetical forms of communication. Beyond a linguistic notion of literacy, multi-literacy involves an awareness of the social, economic and wider cultural factors that frame communication.
Online learning
Is education that takes place over the Internet. It is often referred to as “e- learning” among other terms. However, online learning is just one type of “distance learning” – the umbrella term for any learning that takes place across distance and not in a traditional classroom.
To promote success in school and life, it is essential for Ontario schools to provide opportunities and support for all students to plan their individual pathways through school and for each to make a successful transition to his or her initial postsecondary destination. Schools that adopt “pathways thinking” enhance every student’s outlook for success by:
  • supporting students in identifying their personal interests, strengths, needs, and aspirations and in using this knowledge of themselves to inform their choices of programs and learning opportunities
  • providing a range of diverse and engaging learning opportunities, courses, and programs, both in and outside the classroom, that meet the interests, strengths, needs, and aspirations of the students and honour all postsecondary destinations – apprenticeship training, college, community living, university and the workplace
A term to describe the science of teaching, learning and evaluation. Refers to curriculum, methods, assessment, instruction, teacher/learner relationships and classroom structures. A broad field that is expanding in its definitions and scope (such as, critical pedagogy; pedagogy of the oppressed)footnote 28.
A person-centred approach is where the person is placed at the centre of the service and treated as a person first. The focus is on the person and what they can do, not their condition or disability. Support should focus on achieving the person's aspirations and be tailored to their needs and unique circumstances.
Person-Directed Planning
Person-directed planning provides the opportunity for a person to explore resources in their community, try new activities, gain new experiences, and make informed decisions based on those experiences. From this, custom, or person-directed supports are built around each person’s desired goals and outcomes. Person-directed planning engages individuals who have a disability in identifying their work, volunteer, leisure and recreational interests and goals.
A document designed to identify, at various levels, responsibility for a range of activities aimed at meeting specific objectives and at implementing accompanying strategies and tacticsfootnote 22.
Policy/Program Memoranda (PPM)
Numbered policy directives are issued to district school boards and school authorities to outline the Ministry of Education's expectations regarding the implementation of ministry policies and programsfootnote 29.
Postsecondary Institutions
These institutions must ensure that their facilities and services are accessible, that appropriate, effective and dignified accommodation processes are in place, and that students who require accommodations because of their disabilities are accommodated to the point of undue hardship. Under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, they are also required to complete an accessibility plan. Educators at the postsecondary level are responsible for participating in the accommodation process (including the provision of specific accommodations), being knowledgeable about and sensitive to disability issues, and maintaining student confidentiality.
Access to privileges such as information/knowledge, connections, experience and expertise, resources and decision-making that enhance a person’s chances of getting what they need to live a comfortable, safe, productive and profitable lifefootnote 2.
Unearned power, benefits, advantages, access and/or opportunities that exist for members of the dominant group(s) in society. Can also refer to the relative privilege of one group compared to anotherfootnote 2.
Professional Learning
Focused, ongoing learning for every educator “in context”, to link new conceptions of instructional practice with assessment of student learningfootnote 30.
Prohibited/Protected Grounds
The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination or harassment based on these personal characteristics. The specific protected grounds include: age, ancestry, citizenship, colour, creed, disability, ethnic origin, family status, gender identity and gender expression (recently added to the Code), marital status, place of origin, race, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, receipt of public assistance (in housing) and record of offences (in employment)footnote 2.
Program Options
Accommodations, Modified Expectations, and Alternative Expectations When planning the student's program, the team should identify which of the following options best suits the student's needs in each subject, course or skill area in which the student will receive instruction:
  • no accommodations or modifications
  • accommodations only
  • modified expectations (with or without accommodations)
  • alternative expectations/programs (with or without accommodations)
The following are the Ministry of Education’s current definitions of the following terms.

A subject or course in which the student requires neither accommodations nor modified or alternative expectations is not included in the Individual Education Plan.

It is essential that the teacher(s) responsible for providing direct instruction to the student be the primary decision maker(s) in the process of determining the student's programming needs and identifying the appropriate option with respect to each of the relevant subjects, courses and programs.

All subjects or courses in which the student requires accommodations and/or modified expectations and all alternative programs must be listed in the Individual Education Plan. Each should be identified as “Accommodated only” (AC), “Modified” (MOD) or “Alternative” (ALT).

Accommodated only
The term accommodations refer to the special teaching and assessment strategies, human supports, and/or individualized equipment required by students with special education needs to enable them to learn and demonstrate learning. The provision of accommodations in no way alters the curriculum expectations for the grade level or course. The accommodations, which are likely to apply to all of the student's subjects or courses, must be described in the designated section of the Individual Education Plan form. (See section 5.1 for types of accommodations.)

Accommodated only (AC) is the term used on the Individual Education Plan form to identify a subject or course from the Ontario curriculum in which the student requires accommodations alone in order to work towards achieving the regular grade-level expectations. Because the student is working on regular grade-level or regular course curriculum expectations, without modifications, there is no need to include information on current level of achievement, annual program goals, or learning expectations. In other words, the Special Education Program section of the Individual Education Plan template does not need to be completed when the student requires accommodations alone.

Modifications are changes made in the grade-level expectations for a subject or course in order to meet a student's learning needs. These changes may involve developing expectations that reflect knowledge and skills required in the curriculum for a different grade level and/or increasing or decreasing the number and/or complexity of the regular grade-level curriculum expectations.

Modified (MOD) is the term used on the Individual Education Plan form to identify a subject or course from the Ontario curriculum in which the student requires modified expectations – expectations that differ in some way from the regular grade-level expectations. (See section 4.3 for more information on how to document modified curriculum expectations in the Individual Education Plan). Students may also require certain accommodations to help them achieve the learning expectations in subjects or courses with modified expectations.

For each secondary school course with modified expectations, it is important to indicate clearly in the Individual Education Plan the extent to which the expectations have been modified. Depending on the extent of the modification, the principal will determine whether achievement of the modified expectations constitutes successful completion of the course and will decide whether the student is eligible to receive a credit for the coursefootnote 30. The principal's decision must be communicated to the parents and the student.

Alternative expectations are developed to help students acquire knowledge and skills that are not represented in the Ontario curriculum. They either are not derived from a provincial curriculum policy document or are modified so extensively that the Ontario curriculum expectations no longer form the basis of the student's educational program. Because they are not part of a subject or course outlined in the provincial curriculum documents, alternative expectations are considered to constitute alternative programs or alternative courses.

The skill areas in which alternative expectations and programs are often appropriate include gross motor skills, perceptual motor skills, and life skills. Examples of alternative programs include speech remediation, social skill programs, orientation/mobility training, and personal care programs. For the vast majority of students, these programs would be given in addition to modified or regular grade-level expectations from the Ontario curriculum. Alternative programs are provided in both the elementary and the secondary school panels.

Alternative courses, which are available at the secondary school level, are non–credit courses. The course expectations in an alternative course are individualized for the student and generally focus on preparing the student for daily living. School boards must use the “K” course codes and titles found in the ministry's Course Code listings to identify alternative courses. Examples of alternative courses include Transit Training and Community Exploration (KCC), Culinary Skills (KHI), and Money Management and Personal Banking (KBB). (See section 4.3 for more information on how to document alternative expectations in the Individual Education Plan). Alternative (ALT) is the term used to identify an alternative program or an alternative course on the Individual Education Plan form.
The process by which societies construct races as real, different and unequal in ways that matter and affect economic, political and social lifefootnote 2.
A belief that one group is superior or inferior to others. Racism can be openly displayed in racial jokes, slurs or hate crimes. It can also be more deeply rooted in attitudes, values and stereotypical beliefs. In some cases, people don’t even realize they have these beliefs. Instead, they are assumptions that have evolved over time and have become part of systems and institutionsfootnote 2.
Remote Learning
Learning that occurs when classes are taught at a distance and when students and educators are not in a conventional classroom setting. Remote learning takes place in times of extended interruption to in-person learning – for example, as a result of a pandemic or natural disaster. Classes can be synchronous or asynchronous and can be taught online through a Learning Management System (LMS) or by using videoconferencing tools. In some cases, they may be delivered through emails, print materials, broadcast media, or telephone callsfootnote 9.
Requirements for Accessibility Committees
In order to get a broad perspective of existing barriers to accessibility within their organization, organizations could seek feedback from employees, clients, customers and persons with disabilitiesfootnote 31.
Risk Assessment
The process of determining those risks to be prioritized for risk management by a combination of risk identification, risk analysis, and evaluation of risk level. A risk assessment includes a review of the technical characteristics of hazards, analysis of exposures and vulnerability, and evaluation of the effectiveness of existing coping capacitiesfootnote 22.
Risk Management
Coordinated activities to direct and control risk in order to minimize potential harm. These activities include risk assessments, implementing risk treatment or response measures, and evaluation, monitoring, and reviewfootnote 22.
From the Latin resilire: “to bounce back” refers to the capacity to return to good mental health after challenging and difficult situations.

Teachers provide an environment that enriches young lives. In this environment, students gain the ability to deal with unforeseen challenges with a positive attitude. They are able to work through the challenges and are strengthened because of those difficult situations. Resilience research suggests teachers have an indispensable role to play in generating an environment where every student who enters their classroom can develop the ability to triumph over challengefootnote 32.
School Boards
School boards are required to develop and maintain a special education plan outlining programs and services, to establish a Special Education Advisory Committee, and to participate in a board’s annual review of its special education plan, annual budget and financial statements. Under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, they are also required to complete an accessibility plan.

For purposes of the Education Accessibility Standards Development Committee`s recommendations, school boards will be classified as large, medium and small, depending on the number of students served. Large boards will have a student population over 50,000, medium boards 20,000 to 50,000 and small boards under 20,000 students.
School bus provider (operators)
The school bus providers are usually third-party companies or organizations, which are contracted by school boards and consortia to provide transportation services for students with disabilitiesfootnote 33.
A term used to describe how an individual name or appoints themselves. Typically refers to the group that we believe we belong to (such as, Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Louis Riel Métis, Inuk, Cree, Oji-Cree, Haida, Stolo, Dene, MicMac, Native)footnote 34.
Children's ability to self-regulate – to set limits for themselves and manage their own emotions, attention, and behaviour – allows them to develop the emotional well-being and the habits of mind, such as persistence and curiosity, that are essential for early learning and that set the stage for lifelong learning.
Service Animal (as per Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, Customer Service Standard)
(4) For the purposes of this Part, an animal is a service animal for a person with a disability if,
  1. The animal can be readily identified as one that is being used by the person for reasons relating to the person’s disability, as a result of visual indicators such as the vest or harness worn by the animal
  2. Or the person provides documentation from one of the following regulated health professionals confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability:
    1. A member of the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario
    2. A member of the College of Chiropractors of Ontario
    3. A member of the College of Nurses of Ontario
    4. A member of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario
    5. A member of the College of Optometrists of Ontario
    6. A member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
    7. A member of the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario
    8. A member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario
    9. A member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists and Registered Mental Health Therapists of Ontario. O. Reg. 165/16, s. 16
Special Education Program
As defined in the Education Act, “an educational program for an exceptional pupil that is based on and modified by the results of continuous assessment and evaluation, and that includes a plan containing specific objective and an outline of educational services that meet the needs of the exceptional pupil”.

A special education program is defined in the Education Act as an educational program that:
  • is based on and modified by the results of continuous assessment and evaluation; and includes a plan (called an Individual Education Plan) containing specific objectives and an outline of special education services that meet the needs of the exceptional pupil
Special Education Services
As defined in the Education Act, “facilities and resources, including support personnel and equipment, necessary for developing and implementing a special education program”.
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.
Incorrect assumption based on things like race, colour, ethnic origin, place of origin, religion, etc. Stereotyping typically involves attributing the same characteristics to all members of a group regardless of their individual differences. It is often based on misconceptions, incomplete information and/or false generalizationsfootnote 2.
Student Self-Assessment
The process by which a student, with the ongoing support of the teacher, learns to recognize, describe, and apply success criteria related to particular learning goals and then use the information to monitor his or her own progress towards achieving the learning goals, make adjustments in learning approaches, and set individual goals for learning.
Students with Disabilities
The Ontario Human Rights Code guarantees the right to equal treatment in education, without discrimination on the ground of disability, as part of the protection for equal treatment in services. Education providers have a duty to accommodate students with disabilities up to the point of undue hardship. Students with disabilities are not always being provided with appropriate accommodation, and, in some cases, are falling victim to disputes between the various parties responsible for accommodation. The accommodation process is a shared responsibility. Each party has a duty to co-operatively engage in the process, share information, and canvass potential accommodation solutions. In this regard each party has a specific role to play.
Summative Assessment
Evaluation that occurs at the end of important segments of student learning. It is used to summarize and communicate what students know and can do with respect to curriculum expectations.
Synchronous Learning
Learning that happens in real time. Synchronous learning involves using text, video, or voice communication in a way that enables educators and other members of the school- or board-based team to instruct and connect with students in real time. Synchronous learning supports the well-being and academic achievement of all students, including students with special education needs, by providing educators and students with an interactive and engaging way to learn. It helps teachers provide immediate feedback to students and enables students to interact with one another (From PPM 164: Requirements for Remote Learning).

Synchronous learning is the kind of learning that happens in real time. This means that you, your classmates, and your instructor interact in a specific virtual place, through a specific online medium, at a specific time. In other words, it’s not exactly anywhere, anyhow, anytime. Methods of synchronous online learning include video conferencing, teleconferencing, live chatting, and live-streaming lectures.
Systemic Barrier
A barrier embedded in the social or administrative structures of an organization, including the physical accessibility of an organization, organizational policies, practices and decision-making processes, or the culture of an organization. These may appear neutral on the surface but exclude members of groups protected by the Human Rights Codefootnote 2.
Systemic Discrimination
Patterns of behaviour, policies or practices that are part of the social or administrative structures of an organization, and which create or perpetuate a position of relative disadvantage for groups identified under the Human Rights Codefootnote 2.
Systemic Organizational Barriers
Occur when policies, procedures, or practices may unintentionally and unfairly discriminate against persons with disabilities and prevent full participation. For example, a lack of Universal Design for Learning and accessibility collaboration between curriculum, information and communications technologies (ICT), Special Education and SEA departments may result in procurement and deployment of technology, digital materials, learning platforms and professional learning initiatives that do not support accessibility. Systemic barriers also occur when the Ministry of Education, a school board, school or a teacher have in place policies, rules, procedures or practices that block students with disabilities from using assistive/adaptive technology or support services. For example, an iPhone cannot be procured as an adaptive aid due to a rule that cell phones are not an approved device, or a rule, practice or firewall exists that only allows certain approved apps to be installed on an iPad or another piece of digital technology. Rules that require standardization of what apps may be present on a computer or tablet can impede students with disabilities from being able to use apps that are designed for them, or that best facilitate their learning activities. Further, if Administrator privileges are required to change and save settings on a device or to add or update software on the device, the ability to independently customize the device for individual needs to restrict timely access to learning.
Technology and Technical Barriers
Occur when a device or technological platform is not accessible in its intended use and cannot be used with an assistive device. Barriers also occur when equipment, technical infrastructure, and technical assistance is insufficient to meet the needs of the students and staff and therefore impede student learning.
Transdisciplinary Team Model
A transdisciplinary approach yields different results than interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approaches because it requires each team member to become sufficiently familiar with the concepts and approaches of his and her colleagues as to blur the disciplinary bounds and enable the team to focus on the problem as part of a broader phenomenon. As this happens, discipline authorization fades in importance and the problem and its context guide an appropriately broader and deeper analysis.
Means a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability, designed within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the student with a disability to facilitate the student's movement from school to post-school activities, including, but not limited to, postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. The coordinated set of activities must be based on the student's strengths, preferences and interests.
Transition Plan
Transition plan, as part of the student's Individual Education Plan, must include the following components:
  • specific goals for the student's transition
  • the actions required, now and in the future, to achieve the stated goals
  • the person or agency responsible for or involved in completing or providing assistance in the completion of each of the identified actions
  • timelines for the implementation of each of the identified actions
Transition Planning
Transition planning involves looking ahead and planning for the future. While students are in school, they can prepare for the opportunities and experiences of being an adult. Transition planning is part of your Individual Education Plan. Transition planning involves the student, family, local service community workers, teachers and other staff supporting students transitioning.
Transitions Facilitator/Navigator
The role of the Transition Facilitator/Navigator is to work with students and their families in collaboration with school board staff, and community agencies to explore pathways, and develop transition plans. This position will support students accessing special education support services in all schools across the school board, in a central board position.
Transitions Hub
The Transitions Hub would create a “community of practice (CoP)” that unites and integrates all of the separate transition facilitator/navigators and programs. This Hub would come together to share knowledge of various demographics and best practices to support student’s transitions throughout their educational pathway.
Transportation Consortium
A transportation consortium is an organization formed by school boards operating in the same geographical area. Consortia are responsible for administering policies, planning and procuring bus services, awarding and managing contracts with transportation providers and auditing their performance for contract compliancefootnote 35.
Undue Hardship: OHRC
Organizations covered by the Code have a duty to accommodate to the point of undue hardship. Accommodation need not be provided if it causes undue or excessive hardship. However, some degree of hardship is acceptable.
The Code rescribes only three considerations when assessing whether an accommodation would cause undue hardship:
  • cost
  • outside sources of funding, if any
  • health and safety requirements, if any.
To claim the undue hardship defence, the organization responsible for making the accommodation has the onus of proof. It is not up to the person with a disability to prove that the accommodation can be accomplished without undue hardship.
Universal Design for Learning
A teaching approach that focuses on using teaching strategies or pedagogical materials designed to meet special needs to enhance learning for all students, regardless of age, skills, or situation. It is an educational framework based on research in the learning sciences, including cognitive neuroscience, that guides the development of flexible learning environments and learning spaces that can accommodate individual learning differences.
Virtual Education
Refers to instruction in a learning environment where teacher and student are separated by time or space, or both, and the teacher provides course content through course management applications, multimedia resources, the Internet, videoconferencing, etc. Students receive the content and communicate with the teacher via the same technologies.
Virtual Instruction
Is a method of teaching that is taught either entirely online or when elements of face-to-face courses are taught online through learning management systems and other educational tools and platforms. Virtual instruction also includes digitally transmitting course materials to student
Virtual Learning
Defined as learning that can functionally and effectively occur in the absence of traditional classroom environmentsfootnote 36.
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
Refers to a system that offers educators digitally based solutions aimed at creating interactive, active learning environments. VLEs can help educators create, store and disseminate content, plan courses and lessons and foster communication between student and educator. Virtual learning environments are often part of an education institution’s wider LMS.
VLE in Educational Technology
Is a Web-based platform for the digital aspects of courses of study, usually within educational institutions. They present resources, activities and interactions within a course structure and provide for the different stages of assessment. VLEs also usually report on participation; and have some level of integration with other institutional systems.
Well-being is a positive sense of self, spirit and belonging that we feel when our cognitive, emotional, social and physical needs are being met. It is supported through equity and respect for our diverse identities and strengths. Well-being in early years and school settings is about helping children and students become resilient, so that they can make positive and healthy choices to support learning and achievement both now and in the future.

Cognitive: The development of abilities and skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and the ability to be flexible and innovative.
Emotional: This involves learning about experiencing emotions, and understanding how to recognize, manage and cope with them.
Social: The development of self-awareness, including the sense of belonging, collaboration, relationships with others, and communication skills.
Physical: The development of the body, impacted by physical activity, sleep patterns, healthy eating, and healthy life choices.
Resources: School Mental Health Ontario; Ontario Coalition for Children and Youth Mental Health.
Notes: The following is an excerpt from the Ontario Human Rights Code regarding responsibilities related to accessibility for students with disabilities.