Special Education Coding

Understanding the Diagnosis

If the assessment identifies a diagnosis, then it is important that you understand the diagnosis. The first step is to review the assessment report with the professional who assessed your child.

Learning Disability Diagnosis

If your child is diagnosed with a Learning Disability, your first step is to review the psycho-educational assessment report closely with the educational psychologist and then the school. The report explains the diagnosis and any related challenges or conditions. It provides a detailed description of your child’s learning profile, including strengths and weaknesses. The recommendations in the report describe strategies to support your child at school and home, which is helpful information for both teachers and parents. Be sure to ask questions if you are unclear about anything in the report.

ADHD Diagnosis

Physicians are often involved in diagnosing ADHD because it is considered a medical condition that can be treated with medication prescribed by physicians.

ADHD may also be diagnosed within the context of a psycho-educational assessment. People may decide to have a psycho-educational assessment to get a full learning profile and to determine if there are other learning difficulties that occur along with ADHD. It is common for individuals to have both a Learning Disability and ADHD.

If you choose to have a medical assessment by a physician and a psycho-educational assessment by an educational psychologists, then you will want to review the report with both professionals.

When a Student is Assigned a Code

Once parents have shared a child’s diagnosis with the school, the school district is required to inform Alberta Education of that diagnosis.  Alberta Education sets regulations that school districts must follow to support diverse learners, including students with Learning Disabilities and ADHD. In order to access these supports, a code is assigned to your child based on the diagnosis.

Alberta Education – Special Education Coding:  A child diagnosed with a Learning Disability or ADHD may receive a Special Education Code 54, 58 or 59. This means that the child is eligible for an Individual Program Plan or a Learning Support Plan. These plans are a collaborative effort between a child’s teachers and parents, and are designed to target a child’s specific learning needs at school.

Code 54 = Learning Disability

Learning Disabilities refer to disorders which may affect how people take in information, organize information, remember information, and how they understand information.

Different types of Learning Disabilities include:
-Oral language (e.g., listening, speaking, understanding);
-Reading (e.g. decoding, phonetic knowledge, word recognition, comprehension);
-Written language (e.g., spelling, written expression);
-Mathematics (e.g., computation, problem solving).

Code 58 = Physical or Medical Disability

Students who are diagnosed with ADHD may be identified in this category because ADHD is a medical condition.

Code 59 = Multiple Disability

Students who have more than one diagnosis would qualify for this code. For example, if a student has both an LD and ADHD  they may be identified in this category.

Code 42/44 = Severe

This code is for a more severe diagnosis that impacts a student’s learning to a greater degree. Some examples might be: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or a severe behavior condition such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) or Conduct Disorder (CD)

Alberta Education Documents
Listed below are links to Alberta Education documents that you may want to review if your child has received a diagnosis such as a Learning Disability and qualifies for individual program planning.

Alberta Education Documents

Alberta Education supports students, parents, teachers, and administrators from Early Childhood Services (ECS) through Grade 12.

Alberta Government – Standards for Special Education. The Standards for Special Education help ensure the education system meets the needs of all learners and that all learners have access to high quality education. Special Education requirements apply to Grades 1 to 12 in all public and separate school boards, excluding charter schools.

Unlocking Potential: Key Components of Programming for Students with Learning Disabilities