The YRDSB owns the building and pays two teachers, part of the salaries of some teaching assistants as well as incidental and maintenance costs. Annual education is $7,000; The school is ending professional fundraising and families should be involved in fundraisers. YRDSB is ending the partnership, it says, to “decouple the relationship with Giant Steps to allow all students equal access to special school assistance.” Limitations: Check if you live in the Unionville High School Visiting Area in www.yrdsb.edu.on.ca then select “Schools” from the “Secondary” menu, then “School Boundaries” for the Unionville area or by providing the orientation centre at 905-479-2787, Ext. 259 or the York Region District School Board 416-969-8131. Her daughter has been a student there for three years. The school was a “bright light in a dark valley,” he says, adding that the therapies she receives have “helped her become more interactive and functional.” Her daughter, who is non-verbal, now sits silently for a long time and points to the images to indicate what she wants instead of crying. “You can`t compare it to a special class inside a typical school,” says Repetski. “The whole place is designed to help autistic children.” In a report presented to administrators at a meeting on October 20, YRDSB staff stated that, at the opening of Giant Steps, schools were not equipped to assist students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder; Now, according to the report, the Board of Directors has more than 3,000 students with ASD: “Students enrolled in the Giant Steps program do not have the highest needs, which are represented by all students with the ASD on the school board. YRDSB successfully meets the needs of students with much higher needs, and staff are confident that the needs of students enrolled in Giant Steps will be successfully met as part of our special educational program offering. “We believe in public education,” he says. “But we also believe that public education must be adaptable to achieve the best results for students.” Private schools that offer similar therapy and programming options can cost between $40,000 and $70,000, he notes, adding that Giant Steps parents are “working” parents and can take them to education through the Ontario Autism program. The school has set up a committee to review its future options.
Repetski says he has seen no evidence that school management can offer his daughter the same combination of direct therapy and academics. The report states that “YRDSB does not provide therapeutic services to students; it provides educational services. While the Board of Directors is said to employ specialists and paraprofits, “it is to support and guide teaching staff to support student learning; YRDSB does not offer direct therapy in its schools. Students outside Giant Steps receive third-party therapeutic services that are not funded by YRDSB. Paola Migliozzi`s eldest son, now 20, visited Giant Steps from kindergarten to Grade 3. After working with language pathologists, therapists and teachers, he joined his local school for Grade 4. The decision is “devastating,” says Mr. Seow, a member of the Giant Steps Board of Directors. “I actually cry a lot of times to think about what a great program it is. It should be available for many more children. Instead, there is no point in expanding it or making it accessible to others.No tags for this post.