In a healthy and safe school context, each student must be seen as a learner able to progress and improve their skills and knowledge.
The learning of students with handicaps, social maladjustments or learning difficulties (SHSMLD) is improved in an environment where differences are accepted, significant relationships are emphasized and everyone is responsible for their well-being and that of others.
Students with HSMLD who attend a regular class, a specialized class or a specialized school, make up about 20% of the total school population, namely one in five students. The prevalence of some types of handicaps has declined in the past ten years (intellectual impairment, hearing impairment, visual impairment), whereas others have increased (language disorder, psychopathological disorders and pervasive development disorder).
School boards, through educational services and supplemental educational services, are responsible for organizing the services for these students.
In 1998, the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport set up, in all regions of Quebec, regional support services and expertise (RSSE) to help educational institutions during interventions with students with handicaps or difficulties.
These services aim to support school staff with regards to the organization and delivery of tailored services, to ensure the continuing professional training of staff and to carry out research and development activities.