The Special Equipment Amount (SEA) provides funding to school boards to assist with the costs of equipment essential to support students with special education needs. This equipment is to provide students with accommodations that are directly required and essential for one or more of the following: attending school, accessing the Ontario curriculum, accessing a Board determined alternative program and/or course. Personalized equipment may be required for some students with special needs. In these instances, the school Principal in collaboration with special education staff and the appropriate Student Services staff (i.e. Speech Pathologist, Psychologist, Physical or Occupational Therapist) determine the type of equipment that will best meet the student’s needs and ensures that the required documentation supports the claim as follows:
- an assessment from an appropriately qualified professional which states the disability that the device will help accommodate for and that the particular device is essential in order for the student to benefit from instruction;
- a completed SEA Claim form signed by Student Services staff and Principal;
- a copy of the student’s IEP; and
- comparative samples of work (where appropriate).
A Parent’s Guide to Special Education Funding for Assistive Technology and Equipment for Students with Special Education Needs outlines the benefits of assistive technology as well as provides examples of eligible expenses. This document provides information to parents/guardians regarding SEA funding and processes.
A regional budget for Special Equipment Amount (SEA) purchases is established for personalized equipment expenditures. All personalized equipment meeting the SEA requirements is ordered through Student Services in accordance with the Ministry of Education submission timelines. YRDSB seeks efficiencies for all SEA equipment purchases through bulk purchases as well as Board licenses in order to decrease costs.
Equipment purchased with SEA funding is a set of physical assets belonging to the Board. The Board has a responsibility to protect, maintain and manage the equipment, ensuring that it is functioning properly. SEA equipment is to be replaced as required when the needs of the student changes or when the equipment wears out through use. When a student for whom equipment purchased with SEA funding moves to a new school board or school authority, the equipment is expected to move with the student unless the new school board determines that it is not practical to move the equipment.