What can an educator do for a student with 22q11.2DS?

Recommend medical referral

Genetic testing is recommended for all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

If there is a suspicion of 22q11.2DS in a student, or if you know a student who has been confirmed by a genetic test to have 22q11.2DS, please consult with family members and/or caregivers. Provide general information (for example, the address of this website (http://22q.ca) if necessary.

Students who are at least 17 years old and who have a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of 22q11.2DS can be referred to The Dalglish Family 22q Clinic to receive expert integrated care. If you have questions or concerns, please contact us.

To refer infants or children with 22q11.2DS, please contact the 22q Deletion Syndrome Clinic at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

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Become familiar with policies, needs of the student, and available resources

A list of policies and strategies relevant to special education is available in an Ontario Ministry of Education guide called Learning for All: A Guide to Effective Assessment and Instruction for All Students, Kindergarten to Grade 12. These policies and strategies help educators understand the rights of students with disabilities and work with them effectively.

Students with 22q11.2DS often have multiple medical conditions (which may include psychiatric conditions) along with learning needs. They often have various medical and specialist appointments that can take away from learning time. They may need support managing their academic work as well as personal health. In addition, their needs will also likely change over time, and careful monitoring is necessary.

The types and extent of challenges experienced by students who have 22q11.2DS vary greatly. As a result, these students may go through the education system differently. Some will benefit in specialized classrooms, where individualized instruction in areas of difficulties are addressed quickly. However, they should not be placed in specialized behavioural classrooms, unless necessary. It is important to note that the students' paths will also depend on the availability of special education resources in their local school board.

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Facilitate the establishment of a School Resource Team

A student’s special education support team (called the School Resource Team SRT in some school boards) can include (but are not limited to):

  • the principal or a designate teacher
  • special education resource teachers
  • child youth counsellors
  • occupational therapists
  • speech or language pathologists
  • social workers
  • nurses
  • current and previous teachers
  • parents
  • psychoeducational consultants
  • specialists for specific disabilities

A student is referred to the SRT when he/she experiences difficulties at school and requires additional support from the above-mentioned professionals. The SRT will meet and make recommendations such as (but are not limited to) instructional strategies, behavioural or social/emotional support, and the development of an individual education plan (IEP).

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Develop an Individual Education Plan

The IEP is a written plan that helps support a student’s learning and achievement. As described in the Ontario Ministry of Education guide Individual Education Plans: Standards for Development, Program Planning, and Implementation 2000, the IEP summarizes the following:

  • Reason for developing an IEP
  • Student profile
  • The student’s strengths and needs
  • The special education program (the student’s current level of achievement, goals, and expectations)
  • Special education strategies, accommodations, and resources
  • Assessment, evaluation, and reporting
  • Provincial assessments (including accomodations and exemptions)
  • Transition plan (for students aged 14 years or older)

Once the IEP is developed, the SRT team will try to help the students implement the plan in order to attain the goals. The IEP is reviewed at least once every reporting period and modified when necessary.

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Help the student choose a suitable education path

Some students with 22q11.2DS have very mild learning disabilities and may be able to go through high school at an applied or academic level.

Students who have significant learning challenges have access to specialised classrooms (e.g. Life Skills classes in the Halton District School Board) until they are 21 years old. They learn appropriate social skills and do a lot of hands-on learning in order to prepare them for activities of daily living. These include food preparation, baking, cleaning, etc.

Many schools offer co-operative education where students can earn high school credits by doing a work placement. Special partnerships between employers and schools also exist in certain regions. For example, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (in Bruce and Grey Counties, ON) lets Grade 12 students take part in an apprenticeship in the skilled trades while completing high school.

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