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School Health Support Services

School Health Support Services The School Health Support Services program provides health services in school for students who require medical and/or rehabilitative assistance to enable them to attend school, participate in school routines and receive instruction. The program serves students in public schools and private schools, as well as students receiving home instruction. 

Access to education for those who need it most

Many students with complex health problems and disabilities would not be able to attend school without the health supports we provide. A large number of the students that we serve have developmental delays or other challenges that do not affect their ability to attend school, but may affect their ability to fully benefit from educational routines. 

We provide School Health Support Services on a priority-needs basis. Children with complex needs who need assistance in order to safely attend school are the top priority. When we assess students, we determine how urgently they need services, in order to provide assistance to those who need it most, first.

What services are included in the program?

Through the School Health Support Services program, your Care Coordinator arranges in-school access to a wide range of professional health-care services, including:

  • Nursing
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Diet and nutrition counseling
  • Information and referral services
  • Coordination of services

In addition to delivering care in schools, visiting professionals will also provide health-related education, teaching and consultation services to school staff and parents in the school setting.

Students attending private schools or receiving home instruction may also be provided with personal support services. In the public school system, these services are funded through school boards. 

Is my child eligible?

Any child or youth is eligible to receive care through the School Health Support Services program if he or she:

  • Has a valid Ontario Health Card.
  • Is a registered as a student at a school as defined under the Education Act
  • Has assessed needs for nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech language pathology or dietetic services and requires those services to be able to attend school, receive instruction and participate in school routines.
  • Would experience a significant disruption in his or her attendance, instruction or participation without support of the program.  

Students attending private schools or receiving home instruction are eligible for personal support services, if he or she needs assistance with personal hygiene activities or routine activities of living in order for them to receive instruction. 

The program is funded by Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care through the Local Health Integration Network, and governed by joint agreements and service guidelines shared among the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Special Needs Strategy 

In 2014, the Ontario government launched the Special Needs Strategy in response to feedback received from families to improve the timeliness, effectiveness and coordination of the services that children and youth with special needs require to fully participate at home, at school, in the community and to achieve goals for adulthood. 

A key initiative of the Special Needs Strategy is the delivery of integrated rehabilitation services, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology, for children and youth from birth to school exit. Partners in local communities are developing family-centred models of care and seeking feedback from key stakeholders. Implementation of the new service delivery model is expected to begin as early as Fall 2018. 

We will continue to work together so that the changes do not cause disruption for you and your family, so that there is no reduction in rehabilitation service capacity, and so that you are kept informed and supported during the transition to the new service delivery model.  

Your care coordinator is available to respond to any questions you may have regarding your child's care plan. Access to education for those who need it most

Many students with complex health problems and disabilities would not be able to attend school without the health supports that we provide. A large number of the students that we serve have developmental delays or other challenges that do not affect their ability to attend school, but may affect their ability to fully benefit from educational routines. 

We provide School Health Support Services on a priority-needs basis. Children with complex needs who need assistance in order to safely attend school are the top priority. When we assess students, we determine how urgently they need services, in order to provide assistance to those who need it most, first.