At SelfDesign Learning Community, we provide services for all learners who need additional support to maximize their learning opportunities. Our learning consultants, who are all BC certified educators, work with learners, families and SelfDesign’s Family Services team to identify and support each learner’s individual needs.
This includes providing specific services to support learners who have been, in accordance with BC Ministry of Education guidelines, professionally diagnosed with low incidence needs or who may or may not have been diagnosed with high incidence needs. SelfDesign learners with special needs have access to Support Services specialists who can help them achieve their learning goals, as outlined in their Individual Education Plans (IEPs).
“SelfDesign Support Services has been shown to be very effective at helping learners and families who need additional supports to achieve their learning goals,” says SelfDesign Principal of Educational Programs Nikki Kenyon. “Our Support Services team includes more than 60 educators with training ranging from advanced university degrees in special education to certifications in specific learning techniques.”
In addition, we contract 1,500–2,000 support providers each year to support our learners through both IEPs and our Learning Resources Services.
The role of support providers at SelfDesign
“These support providers are an integral part of the support services we offer learners,” says Support Education Services Lead Corinne Metcalfe.
These contractors include support education assistants – para-professionals such as educational assistants, behaviour interventionists and academic tutors – who often work routinely and consistently with a learner on a weekly or near-weekly basis. They also include professional support providers – licenced professionals, such as art, music or occupational therapists, counselling psychologists, speech-language pathologists, and other specialists – who offer consultations and assessments and, in many cases, interact with learners and families occasionally or periodically.
“All of our support providers are contracted through Support Services to assist learners through the learners’ IEP Support and Resource Plans,” Corinne says. The plans guide the support provided to each individual learner. “Every single goal on a IEP must be accounted for and connected to the services of the support provider.”
Learners who do not have IEPs but need additional assistance in meeting their learning goals are able to access the assistance of support providers through the school’s Learning Resources Services, says Educational Program Lead Janice Green.
Each learner enrolled in SelfDesign Learning Community works with a learning consultant throughout the year. This regular, consistent contact – and the trust that results from that – means the educators are well placed to identify when a learner or family is struggling to stay engaged with their learning program.
The learning consultant can advise and arrange for additional support, based on the family’s specific circumstances and needs. Members of SelfDesign’s Family Services collaborate with the educators to find and provide those supports and may recommend specific services provided by our approved support education assistants and professional support providers.
How SelfDesign selects and assigns support providers
A rigorous intake process for support providers helps to ensure learners’ and families’ safety. SelfDesign carefully screens each contractor before they work with our learners, in accordance with BC Ministry of Education guidelines.
“No learner can begin working with a support provider until all the intake documentation is submitted and verified,” Janice says. “This includes criminal record checks, resumés, certifications and licences, and WorkSafe BC insurance.”
That said, Janice says if a family “has had an amazing, beneficial connection with a support provider outside of SelfDesign, they can connect with their learning consultant to initiate the process to bring that support provider onto the team.”
Once brought on board, the support provider’s information is added to SelfDesign’s Approved Support Provider List. Search filters allow families to search the list for support providers according to, for example, service, profession, geographic location, availability, and grade preference.
“Relationships are key,” Janice says. “We strive for connections between learners, support providers and families that are meaningful and a positive fit.”
Learn more about our approach to support services
Learn more about how SelfDesign Family Services supports learners and families