Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)

Working together for all children

Most learners are successful in the regular classroom; however, some learners have exceptional needs and may require special programs and services. A learner with exceptional needs is a student whose behaviour, communication, intellectual, physical or multiple exceptionalities are such that special education support is required.

A continuum of services ranges from the provision accommodations of modifications and supports within the regular classroom to those provided in self-contained, congregated settings. Approximately 13,000 students receive some form of special education assistance each year.

What is the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)?

The Special Education Advisory Committee was established to make recommendations to the Board about any matter related to the establishment and development of special education programs and services for students with exceptional needs. This is in accordance with the Education Act, Section 206, Subsection (2): “Every school board shall establish a Special Education Advisory Committee.”

SEAC is responsible to the district school board for examining, reviewing and making recommendations regarding the provision of special education programs and services.

Some areas of focus are philosophy and goals, policies and procedures, organizational structures, program delivery methods, services and facilities, funding, and the annual review of the Special Education Plan.

Representation

The Special Education Advisory Committee consists of representatives of up to 12 community associations, two trustees and the superintendent responsible for special education. Other administrative staff and a recording secretary are made available to the committee.

Members must be Canadian citizens; at least eighteen years of age; a resident in the area of jurisdiction of the board; and a public school elector. Employees of the district school board are not eligible to be members.

SEAC meetings

Members of the community are welcome to attend and observe SEAC meetings held throughout the year. Meetings are usually held on the second Wednesday of each month starting at 7:00 p.m. at the Education Centre, 51 Ardelt Avenue, Kitchener. Please call 519 570-0003, ext. 4235, to confirm meeting dates and times.

The SEAC includes the following associations:

  • Association for Bright Children of Ontario
    Works to increase the understanding and acceptance of bright and gifted children at home, at school and in the community, and encourages appropriate educational programs.
  • Autism Ontario  • Waterloo Region
    Dedicated to providing support, raising awareness and developing goals, to ensure a secure future for those with autism and pervasive developmental disorders.
  • Easter Seals Ontario
    Works to support children and youth with physical disabilities, by assisting families with the purchase of equipment, as well as providing summer camp opportunities.
  • FASD ONE (Ontario Network of Expertise)
    FASD ONE is an organization of volunteer FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) Experts who are dedicated to the prevention of FASD and to the diagnosis and effective support of individuals with FASD.
  • Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy
    A support group, affiliated with the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy, for parents that provides a service of communication, support, and advocacy through networking, presentations and workshops.
  • Parents for Children’s Mental Health • Waterloo Region • (519) 749-8740 ext. 212
    A parent-led organization helping families affected with children or youth mental health challenges by providing support, education and advocacy.
  • Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada
    Supporting families affected by Tourette Syndrome and its associated disorders through programs of education, self-help, advocacy and the promotion of research.
  • VIEWS Blind/Low Vision
    A group of parents affiliated with a provincial group called VIEWS whose children are CNIB clients. Dedicated to providing support and to enhance the children’s lives.
  • VOICE for Hearing Impaired Children
    Offers programs and services for families and professionals who support students with hearing loss. In addition to providing parent to parent mentoring, workshops, conferences and resource publications, including an IEP Guide for Parents, VOICE offers a professional development mentorship program in the auditory-verbal approach funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education.
  • Waterloo Regional Down Syndrome Society • (519) 896-4488
    Provides information, networking and support to families and friends of individuals with Down Syndrome and encourages change in community attitudes to improve the quality of life.

Non-Association Members:

  • Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region • 519 576 0540
    F&CS is the Children’s Aid Society for the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. The purpose of the agency is laid down by the Child and Family Services Act of Ontario which can be summarized as acting to protect children who are exposed to or at risk of the harms defined in Section 37(2) the Act, or acting to prevent circumstances which could lead to children being in need of protection. The agency strives to fulfil its purpose through an extensive range of services which include investigation and assessment, counselling, residential care, and adoption.
  • Carizon Family and Community Services
    Carizon provides a source of hope for our community. When children, youth, adults, couples or families face life’s challenges Carizon programs and services provide the care and compassion to help them achieve wellness. Carizon specializes in children’s mental health, youth engagement and development, family violence services, individual and family counselling, parental support and education, credit counselling, workplace resilience, settlement support and community wellness.
  • Waterloo Region Family Network
    The Network is a not-for-profit, family-driven resource centre dedicated to providing the support, knowledge and assistance families need in order to make informed decisions. The Network assists all families of children (all ages) with special needs, regardless of diagnosis or lack thereof.

The Special Education Advisory Committee is committed to:

  • the most enabling environment for all exceptional pupils;
  • a range of placement options in response to student needs, in consultation with parents;
  • the provision of resource staff to support the development and delivery of high quality programs for exceptional students;
  • collaborative planning among special education resource staff, regular staff, students and families; and
  • providing parents with the information they need to make appropriate choices.

For further information

  • SEAC member associations are available to provide specific information, advice and assistance to parents/guardians whose children may require additional support.