If Your Child has Medical Conditions or Special Needs

When you are registering your children at a school, please also let school staff know of any medical conditions, allergies or special needs they might have and the best way to support the child, and address those needs.

Special needs can include additional social-emotional, physical, developmental, or learning needs. Please bring along any medical reports or other records that might help schools understand those needs, and meet the needs of the student.

If your children need to take medication during the school day, please ask your children’s doctor to complete a form with this information. Please bring the form to the school office.

Vision and Hearing Health

Vision and hearing problems can make it harder for students to learn and socialize. Many students do not even know they have a vision or a hearing problem. Vision and hearing may also change as children grow. That is why regular medical check-ups are so important.

The following strategies can help maintain your children’s vision and hearing health and lead to more success at school:

  • Taking your children to an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist by age three to have his or her eyes checked. It is recommended that children should have their eyes checked every two to three years. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) pays for annual visits for children and young people under 20 years of age. For students in Junior Kindergarten (JK) the government will cover the cost of an eye examination by a doctor and the cost of eyeglasses.
  • Encouraging your children to wear glasses if they need them. If your children are reluctant to wear them, talk to the teacher about it; together you might help your children feel more comfortable.
  • Taking your children to a doctor to have your children’s hearing checked.

Dental Care for Children

The Healthy Smiles Program offers free dental care for eligible low-income children. The program covers preventive, routine, emergency and essential care dental services. You can apply for this program by mail or online. Once you are registered, you will be given a Healthy Smiles card that your child will need to show at each dental appointment.


Children in Ontario must be immunized against specified diseases in order to attend school. Your doctor will give you a card listing what immunizations your children have received. Please take the card to school to make sure their records are up to date. The school maintains an immunization record for each student.

If your children have not received all of their immunizations or if the school record is incomplete, a letter will be sent to you from the Public Health Department with this information.

Choosing not to have your children immunized

Parents can opt out of immunization for different reasons. Please contact your local public health unit or school board for immunization exemption forms that must be completed and submitted to the school.

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This article is an excerpt from the Newcomers' Guide to Elementary School.

Last updated: July 26, 2016 4006114