“The Ministry of Education has declared that students with ADHD/ADD and other neurological disorders that may impede or affect learning, are now entitled to specialized support and education at school. Ontario has been one of the few provinces in Canada lagging behind in the recognition of ADHD/ADD as requiring additional support.”

The memorandum explains that “the determining factor for the provision of special education programs or services is not any specific diagnosed or undiagnosed medical condition, but rather the needs of individual students based on the individual assessment of strengths and needs.”

It continues to identify that kids with ADD/ADHD may have specific learning needs including (but are not limited to) attention/focus, organization, processing speed, working memory, executive functioning weaknesses, mathematical processes and skills, and expressive and receptive language. A student who presents with such learning needs can be identified within the Communication (learning disability) exceptionality category, regardless of whether the medical criteria for a Learning Disability are met.

I applaud the Ministry of Education for recognizing that children who repeatedly struggle to attend, get started on a task or activity, shout out comments or answers, have difficulty remembering something while performing an activity on this memory (i.e. remember their times tables while doing times table math activity) or don’t know what to do after directions are given are in need of support. More importantly, these kids have amazing strengths that are sometimes overshadowed by their behaviour.

Do you know of a child that would benefit from this kind of support? How do you see this directive being supported in your school?