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Supporting students with disabilities

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Alberta’s government is investing $5 million for the 2023-24 school year to support students with low incidence disabilities.

Low incidence disabilities affect approximately 7,500 students in Alberta, or about one per cent of the total student population, and include students who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, deafblind, or those with complex communication needs.

Low Incidence Supports and Services (LISS) funding allows school authorities to hire and train specialized professionals and provide equipment and educational resources, offsetting the high cost of the specialized technology and services some students require to fully access their education.

“With this funding, schools will be able to hire more specialists to help students with low incidence disabilities. Alberta’s united conservative government firmly believes in protecting and supporting our vulnerable students. As a result of this funding, schools will be able to cover the costs of services and equipment that is needed to help those who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, deafblind or with other complex communication needs.” 

Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Education

In recognizing the diverse needs of the Alberta student body, and 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 identify need for additional supports. Funding for each school authority will 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.

“The Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) is thankful for Alberta Education’s continued support of students with unique learning needs. The ability for CCSD to provide specialized staff and resources for these students makes a significant impact on their learning and helps them realize their full potential.” 

Bryan Szumlas, chief superintendent, Calgary Catholic School District

Quick facts

  • The Education Act requires school authorities to identify students with low incidence disabilities and provide the necessary supports they need for their education.
  • LISS funding comes in addition to the annual Specialized Learning Support grant provided to all school authorities, which helps to meet the different learning needs of children in their schools.
  • 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
      • occupational therapists
      • augmentative and alternative communication specialists
      • speech language pathologists
      • psychologists
    • Assistive technology, resources, materials and environmental modifications to meet student-specific educational access needs.
    • Professional development, training, workshops and conferences that align with training needs for the specialized staff who directly support students with low incidence disabilities.

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