*The RCSD partnerships across the province are being eliminated by the provincial government as of September 1, 2020. As a result, the information on this page will no longer be valid. The website is being maintained for one year to allow partners to continue to access the resources*
Roles and Responsibilities
NOTE: For a description of the specific roles of the Low Incidence Consultants, please click on the appropriate tab in the website:
In general the Low Incidence Consultants provide a specialized expertise to school staff to help the school program effectively for children in the Low Incidence population. The consultants are a part of the child’s team helping to develop a individual plan to support the child’s learning. They help to build the capacity of school staff, parents and other service providers.
Role of the Parents/Family/Guardian
Parents (or legal guardians) are the legal decision makers for their children and must give consent for service provision. As such, they are an integral part of any discussion around needs and service options. Parents are encouraged to be knowledgeable about and active participants in any service being provided to their child.
- The primary point of contact between school and parent is the teacher.
- If parents have concerns about their child’s functioning in school, they would discuss them with their child’s teacher.
- Parents will typically be invited by the school to planning meetings, case conferences or visits by the Low Incidence consultant to discuss their child’s educational needs and supports available.
- Teacher and parent discuss needs and challenges, as well as support options available.
- AB Education resource materials: Role of Parents; My Child’s Learning: A Parent Resource
Role of the Specialty Teacher
The Specialty Teacher is typically the liaison between Low Incidence consultants, school staff and, frequently, parents. The Specialty Teacher supports collaborative initiatives, helps inform Low Incidence Consultants about curriculum, and supports the transition of students from year to year. The specialty teacher should be aware of the strategies and recommendations of the consultants in order to support the classroom teacher.
- work collaboratively with the Low Incidence Consultants to provide strategies, resources and tools to classroom teachers (read and store consultation notes and reports);
- ensure the referral forms are complete (including appropriate vision or hearing information/diagnoses), and clearly identify services requested (i.e. referral for Low Incidence services;)
- receive training (as appropriate) from the Consultants to support teachers with trouble-shooting and monitoring assistive technology equipment;
- act as a link from one year’s teacher(s) to the next helping to transfer the programming recommendations and equipment expertise over the span of years the child is in the school;
- coordinate invitations for parents to attend when the Low Incidence Consultant(s) visit(s) the school;
- function as school contact for Coordinated Intake Social Workers (i.e. will receive a Report Back Letter or Unable to Contact Parent Letter);
- may participate in case conferences or other meetings involving the low incidence consultants.
Role of the Teacher
The teacher is in the best position to evaluate the learning needs of their students and determine if they require additional supports at school.
- The primary point of contact between school and parents is the teacher.
- Teachers are responsible to ensure parents are aware of the school based services provided to their child.
- School staff complete the referral form and ensure it is forwarded to Coordinated Intake in a timely manner.
- Teachers collaborate with the Low Incidence Consultants to
- identify modifications/adaptations/accommodations needed in the classroom environment,
- modify or adapt materials and activities to make them accessible by the student to enhance learning,
- identify equipment or resources that would be beneficial for the student,
- include such skills as self-advocacy, independence, compensatory or access, social interaction etc. in the student’s programming.
- Teachers monitor student progress reporting back to the Low Incidence Consultant.
Role of the Coordinated Intake Social Worker
Social Workers on the Children’s Rehabilitation Services, Coordinated Intake team are employed by Alberta Health Services. Each school division has an assigned Social Worker from this team. The Social Workers receive referrals and ensure that each one is responded to with a timely first contact attempt. The intake process collects the information that sets the therapists/consultants and school team up for successful intervention with the child/youth and family. Coordinated Intake is directly involved with referrals for the following services shared among the CA RCSD partners: OT, PT, SLP as well as Nurse Coordinators, Vision Consultant, Hearing Consultant and Educational Audiology.
Within Coordinated Intake, the Social Worker connects with Parents/Guardians to discuss the referral received, gathers input regarding the family’s specific concerns and perceptions, connects the family with needed supports and identifies possible barriers to service. Once complete, the Social Worker will forward the intake package to the appropriate service provider.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF INTAKE? The Social Workers are available to respond more promptly to new referrals as they are at their desks rather than out and about in schools. The Social Workers can answer initial questions, clarify needs and typically will ask questions that others on the team will not have asked. Examples of information gathering could include:
- Clarifying guardianship and consent issues. Caregivers and family units present in varying ways and our teams need to know who is able to make decisions for a child, who will be able to partner with us and how we can best get in contact with the people we will need to.
- Gathering the family’s unique perspective as to how the needs identified by the school are impacting the child, both at school and in other environments.
- Discussion of any barriers that might impact a families’ ability to access services. Social Workers can discuss possible options and alternatives and provide the team with a heads up regarding these identified needs. This can include information about language barriers.
- Discussion of any concerns a parent may have for their child that have not yet been identified by the school. This may lead to out of school supports or connection with other agencies through referrals made by Social Work.
- Coordination of service for children who have multiple needs and multiple service providers with the goal of reducing confusion for the family and the team.
- Discussion of items the family identifies as relevant to them regarding culture, language or identity.
- Identification of any relevant medical history which might impact service.
- An opportunity to confirm demographic information including child’s legal name, best contact times and phone number for the parent.
Finally the Social Worker discusses the need and purpose of information sharing between the therapy team and the school to best meet the child’s needs. The Social Worker ensures that the family is comfortable with that information sharing plan. This initial step prepares the parent for the team approach that will be utilized by Children’s Rehabilitation Services and the school. This step is different than the initial consent given by the parent for the referral or for specific treatment.
WHAT DO WE GAIN?
- Increased Support: Parents, schools and therapists are well supported and provided with accurate information, connection to other services and barrier identification.
- Reduced Paperwork: In the past, parents and schools alike have had to complete lengthy referral forms, which can present as a barrier to service in itself. This step eliminates the large paper packages and allows for a more in depth conversation with parents prior to service.
- Freed up Time for Direct Therapist Consultation and Treatment: Completing the initial intake with a family is an important step that at times requires multiple contact attempts and clarification of complex situations. Having a Social Worker involved adds a level of skill and background training that is unique to their role. The therapists’ skills are best used working with the children/youth (and the adults who support them) rather than gathering information and coordinating service with parents.
- Reduced Initial Contact Waiting Time for Parents: The Coordinated Intake process has actually reduced the time that a parent waits for an initial contact, as the Social Workers are more readily available to respond to calls and answer initial questions.
- Increased Equity: The Coordinated Intake process works toward increased equity across the region.
Role of the School Division Service Coordinator
Each school division has assigned staff member(s) to support schools and teaching staff in their school division.
The role of the school division service coordinator is to:
- provide support and direction to school staff regarding the RCSD model,
- act as the liaison between the CA RCSD Leadership and school staff,
- connect with the AHS Area Lead as appropriate, and
- attend core school team meetings as needed.