Special Education Designations

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There are specific Ministry criteria and documentation requirements that must be met for a child to be designated as a student with "special needs."
According to the BC Ministry of Education:
"Students with special needs have a disability of an intellectual, physical, sensory, emotional, or behavioural nature, or have a learning disability or have exceptional gifts or talents as defined in the Manual of Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines, Section E."  (Special Education Services, A Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines, p. 1.)


The purpose of a "special needs" ministry designation is not to label a student, but rather to ensure that additional resources and support arrangements are made available to meet the student's needs. The specific requirements are outlined in Special Education Services: Category Checklists -2010 and can be found on the Ministry of Education website in the Special Education Services Manual. Please refer to these Ministry resources for specific descriptions of each category as well as examples of diagnoses:
Students with a significant level of additional needs and requiring Tier 3 support, are assessed and receive a ministry designation based on the following BC Ministry of Education, Special Needs categories as follows:​
Ministry of Education Designations List
Categories A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H are commonly referred to as "low incidence" categories because there is a relatively "low incidence" of students in these categories. Categories K, P, Q and R are referred to as "high Incidence" categories. It is important to recognize that a medical or educational diagnosis, does not in itself, determine the designation.
The funding provided by the Ministry is allocated to the school district, which is in turn, distributed to schools. SD48 allocates these supplemental funds to schools based on the functional needs of the students and their ministry designations. This funding is to be used to provide specialized supplemental services to enable students with diverse learning needs to access educational programs. This may come in the form of specialized teachers, programs, resources and/or certified educational assistants. Ministry funding is not attached to specific students. 
MOE Special Needs