Up-date on Students with ADHD in the British Columbia Education System

  CADDAC encourages BC residents who are concerned about this issue to contact their MLA. 

Up-coming proposed changes to the special education funding model in BC, away from a model of designation to a prevalence based, inclusion, model may benefit students with ADHD or cause continued inequities.  Much will depend on the recognition of these vulnerable students’ needs moving forward.

Background

In the fall of 2016 the new BC Special Education Guidelines draft was shared with CADDAC.  We were encouraged to see that ADHD was to be added under the category of Learning Disabilities. CADDAC was then informed in the spring of 2017 that students with ADHD were to be recognized in a stand-alone category. Either option was acceptable to CADDAC. Although these categories would not be tied to additional funding, it would at least be a step forward in recognizing  that these students have a disability, causing impairments, resulting in serious learning risks.

However, with the change in government everything was put on hold. During a meeting with Minister Fleming on December 4th 2017 CADDAC, as reported in a previous blog, was assured by the Minister that the Ministry was not considering changes to these guidelines and that ADHD would not be removed as a category.

Current Situation

After an e-mail exchange requesting clarification on changes to the funding model at the end of 2018 a meeting occurred on January the 30th with Kim Horn, the Executive Director, Sector Resourcing & Service Delivery of the Ministry of Education. During this meeting CADDAC learned that due to the proposed changes to a prevalence funding model, the fate of all designation categories and the new Special Education Guidelines is unknown. Unfortunately the move away from the use of designation categories and these guidelines could also mean that the clear message that ADHD was a disorder that warranted additional supports and resources for students to be able to meet their potential as learners might be lost, again leaving these student’s needs unrecognized and under serviced.

Since students with ADHD were inadequately recognized and serviced in past funding and designation models, extra care must be taken during this transition to ensure that these students be better understood and recognised as students with special learning needs.

CADDAC shared our concerns during the call and were invited to submit a paper outlining our concerns and recommendation to the Implementation Coordination Committee of the K12 Funding Review Committee.

Access CADDAC’s submission Here

CADDAC’s ASK to the Ministry of BC Education

CADDAC requests that in the process of moving forward with the prevalence based funding model and the inclusion system of special education the BC Ministry of Education ensure that students with ADHD will receive equitable access to education by:

  1. Officially stating that students with ADHD are to be recognized as students with a disability resulting in learning and self-regulation impairments and by providing examples of diverse ways these students can express these special learning needs.
  2. Providing and encouraging education for educators on ADHD learning and self-regulation impairments, appropriate classroom accommodations and teaching strategies.
  3. Ensuring that sufficient funding for additional resources is provided to support an inclusive classroom model.
  4. Holding boards accountable for providing additional resources to classrooms with a heavy load of special needs learners.
  5. Truly holding boards accountable for meeting these students’ needs.
  6. Holding boards accountable that the funding they receive for special education is actually spent on special education.

Summary

With the implementation of changes to the funding and education system the BC the Ministry of Education is in a position to put policies in place that will ensure that students with ADHD receive equitable access to education and have the right to reach their academic potential.

If you have questions or would like to discuss any of these issues or suggestions please contact Heidi Bernhardt at heidi.bernhardt@caddac.ca.

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