February 2019

Message from the Special Services Director – Dr. Shannon Hitch

Welcome to 2019! As I’m writing this today, I am looking outside at the beautiful snow. I was starting to feel overwhelmed that we are already in February (so much to do!) but then Mother Nature reminded me that we are still deep in winter. I thought about complaining about the snow and ice but then remembered that my oldest child is attending college in the mid-west. When he is experiencing -40 degrees, it puts our weather in perspective.   

This month, I would like to introduce you to some of our team within Special Services. First, we have Associate Directors who support our learning communities. They provide training and support for staff, work collaboratively with principals and district leadership, and support families and students. I’m lucky to have a remarkable team with extensive experience and knowledge in special education. The Associate Directors for each learning community are:

  • Stacey McCrath – Eastlake Learning Community
  • Debbie Wagner – Lake Washington Learning Community
  • Paul Vine – Juanita Learning Community
  • Jan Bakken – Redmond Learning Community

Each of these leaders has worked as special education teachers within a variety of programs and grade levels. They have all been special education administrators in other districts and some have worked as building principals. Most importantly, each of them is an advocate for children with special needs.   

If you are a parent or guardian who needs help with your child’s program, services or needs, we recommend starting with your child’s teacher and building principal. Your child’s team is your first level of support. If additional guidance or support is needed, our Associate Directors are the people who can help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We are here to support both you and your student.

Wishing you the best as the new year begins~

Support for Families

If you are looking for support, further knowledge on how to help your student, or are new to the special services programs and want to learn more about what to expect at all ages, we have got an incredible resource for you. Informing Families, Building Trust is full of invaluable information that will lay out how to navigate through multiple systems, provide helpful resources for grandparents or siblings of children with special needs, as well as sharing some emergency preparedness tips. This website is definitely one to explore! 

The Arc of King County’s Housing Stability Program – Accepting New Clients

This program provides individualized support for people with developmental disabilities and their families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to navigate and access needed resources to achieve stable housing. We work with folks to:

  • Identify potential housing resources such as Section 8 Vouchers and public or private low income housing units. 
  • Connect with public benefits such as food stamps, utilities assistance, etc. 
  • Identify and access additional sources of income such as social security benefits or paid employment. 
  • Complete the eligibility determination process for the Developmental Disabilities Administration. 
  • Understand their rights and communicate effectively with landlords. 
  • Connect with legal support related to evictions. 
  • Connect with programs that offer rental assistance and other financial support, including the Best Starts for Kids Youth & Family Homelessness Prevention Program.

The Arc’s services are free to families. The only requirements are that someone in the household have a developmental disability and that they live in King County. 

To connect with this support, contact The Arc at Ask@arcofkingcounty.org or 206-829-7053. 

Transit Instruction

Looking for ways for a family member, student, or neighbor with disabilities to gain experience with public transportation. Did you know free training is available to individuals with disabilities and senior citizens through King County Metro? Instructors provide training to participants while traveling until they feel comfortable and capable of safe independent travel. To learn more about this program and how to request training, visit King County Metros website. Also, check out the flyer on this program, here.

Featured Articles!

Joyful Gift for Classmate
An Arizona student recently made a classmate’s day with a simple thoughtful gift: a toy cement truck. Matthew Sabetta, a student with a rare genetic condition called Williams syndrome, which includes missing 26-27 genes, was joyfully surprised by receiving the kind and thoughtful gift from his friend. To read the full article and watch the video, click here.

Restaurants Creating Jobs for people With Special Needs
Looking for a great place to eat while on vacation? Looking to make an impact on the special needs community? There are many restaurants around the United States that are creating jobs and hiring staff with special needs. If you are traveling to California, Texas, Missouri, Colorado, North or South Carolina, or Virginia, make sure to stop by these restaurants to support that staff and programs that have been created. 

Family Events Happening in our Area in March

The Seattle Aquarium is hosting their annual, Dream Night event soon. There are two dates to choose from: March 2 or March 16 – 6:30-9:00 p.m. This is a free event for chronically ill and disabled adults and children and their families for an evening of exploration and discovery. Space is limited, so register early. 

Resources for Parents of Students With Disabilities: 

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to take a look at the Special Needs Resource Flier, created by the Lake Washington PTSA (LWPTSA) Council Special Needs Group/Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) and the Special Services Department. You can also pick up a hard copy at your child’s school, and/or from your child’s 504 or Special Education Case Manager at your annual review meeting. 

NEW! – Special Services Newsletter – Available in Multiple Languages! 

If you, or someone you know, would like to read our Special Services Newsletter in a different language, this is now possible!  

  • Follow the link for access to all of our newsletters 
  • Select the month and year that you would like to read (Ex: December 2018, November 2018, etc.)
  • In the top left-hand corner of the web page, there is a small globe icon/drop down
  • Click on the drop down and select the language that you would like to have the newsletter translated to

Happy Reading! 

Upcoming LWPTSA Council Special Needs Group Meetings:

Date: 2/26/2019
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: LWSD Resource Center – Board Room (1st Floor)
                 16250 NE 74th St
                 Redmond, WA 98052
Topic: COMMUNITY RESOURCE FAIR Come talk to vendors offering after school, summer, and other recreational activities or services to children with special needs and their families. Children welcome. Click here for more info.

Save the Date: Mark your calendar for the 2018-19 PTSA Special Needs Group Meetings:

  • 3/19/2019
  • 4/16/2019
  • 5/21/2019
  • No Meeting in June