Alberta’s government is investing $5 million to increase access to specialized supports and services to maintain an inclusive learning environment.
Many students with a low incidence disability require highly specialized and expensive technology and services throughout their schooling.
Alberta’s government has increased Low Incidence Supports and Services funding by more than $3 million in response to feedback from school authorities and education partners. This funding will allow school authorities to hire and train specialized professionals and provide equipment for students who are blind, deafblind, deaf, hard of hearing or have complex communications needs.
“We have heard from families and school divisions that more supports are needed in the classroom to help address and support class complexity. This funding is one of many steps we are taking to further strengthen our education system by making it a place where students are able to maximize their potential with minimal barriers.”
Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education
"We appreciate the additional funding from the Alberta government and know that it will go towards helping students who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, as well as our students with complex communications needs. We are proud of the services we provide in our schools to reduce barriers for students to access quality education."
Trisha Estabrooks, board chair, Edmonton Public Schools
“Education is a key predictor of future employment and quality of life in the blind and partially sighted community. This announcement shows this government listened to our students, parents and teachers for the visually impaired and they understand that investing directly in the education sector will make a meaningful difference, both now and in the future so our kids will thrive.”
Christall Beaudry, vice-president, Western Canada, CNIB Foundation
Students who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, deafblind, or those with complex communication needs, account for about one per cent of the total student population, which is approximately 7,500 students in Alberta.
To ensure that funds are directed where they are needed most, funding will be provided directly to public and separate school boards, public charter schools and francophone regional authorities that identified need for additional supports.
- The Education Act requires school authorities to identify students with low incidence disabilities and provide the necessary supports they need for their education.
- Low Incidence Supports and Services funding amounts for each school authority depend on the number of students who meet eligibility criteria and the locations of school authorities to ensure appropriate funding for rural and remote regions.
- Accessing necessary supports and services can be challenging in rural and remote regions because of the limited numbers of specialized professionals available.
- Examples of eligible expenses:
- Services provided by the student’s school-based learning team, which could include:
- teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing
- teachers of the blind or visually impaired
- educational audiologists
- sign language interpreters
- orientation and mobility specialists
- braille assistants
- augmentative and alternative communication specialists
- Providing assistive technology, materials and resources.
- Capacity building initiatives, such as professional development and training for staff to support students with low incidence disabilities.