October 2019

Message from the Special Services Director – Dr. Shannon Hitch

Dr. Shannon Hitch

Welcome to October! Washington State recognizes October as Disability History month. Disability history is our shared history. It is an exploration of the similarities and differences amongst us. It tells a story of discrimination, isolation and social struggles in addition to triumphs and accomplishments. At the heart of disability history is the question of equity and inclusion – who belongs within our schools and communities, and the efforts made to exclude those that are different. 

It wasn’t until the 1960’s that we began to see the formation of organizations meant to support those with disabilities. In 1962, President Kennedy created the first panel on intellectual disability. In 1973, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act became law. In 1975, IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) came into law, meant to ensure that students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education. Finally, in 1990, we see the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, guaranteeing those with disabilities had equal rights. It took almost 30 years and unceasing effort by disability advocates to pass laws that ensure equal rights and to fight to have those laws enacted. 

By understanding this history, we begin to see the importance of inclusion. I’m proud to say that we have eliminated all self-contained programs in our preschools as we have moved into a full inclusion model within early learning. We now have elementary schools that are a part of a pilot process to learn about inclusionary practices and secondary schools embracing co-teaching models. In addition, we are planning for how we can bring Universal Design for Learning and Unified Schools to Lake Washington (stay tuned). Disability history is important for all of us to understand because how we treat those with special needs is a reflection on our values. If we truly value equity, inclusion and public education, then we must remember how far we have come….and how far we have yet to go.

If you want to learn more about how disability history is a part of our national history, I recommend the following website: www.disabilitymuseum.org.

Dr. Shannon Hitch
Director – Special Services


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!


Featured Articles

Principal Sparks Chain Reaction of Kindness by Joining Lonely Girl with Cerebral Palsy at Recess

Second grade student, Lucy Taylor, was having difficulty making friends on the playground. Principal Thompson at Barth Elementary School in Romulus, Michigan heard the report and took action. Thompson sat with Lucy during recess and eventually rallied a group of students to share in their playtime. 

Principal Thompson’s kindness sparked the creation of the “Bubble Club” for other children struggling to make friends. Lucy has taken it a step further by sending “Bubble Squad” invitations to peers of whom she thinks may benefit from being a part of this squad. 

To read the full article, click here.


Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Inspires Others on the Autism Spectrum

Greta Thunberg, 16-year old activist, chastised world leaders at the United Nation’s Climate Summit. Greta is a force to be reckoned with. She inspires others by being passionate about her causes and being open about having Asperger’s. She said that “being different is not an illness”, it is her “superpower."

To read the full article, click here.


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 here 
  • 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!

PTSA SNG Meetings and Child Care Support

Our monthly PTSA SNG meeting (see schedule below) is a great time to network with other parents, learn more about resources in our community, and learn more about strategies and supports for students with disabilities. We offer student care during these meetings, to assist you in being able to access this wonderful opportunity to meet with parents. Please RSVP each month, by emailing specialservices@lwsd.org. For our October meeting, please RSVP by/before October 10. In your email, please include your child’s name(s), age(s) and any significant behavior notes so we can ensure we have enough staff to cover all the students. Please use the email subject line: Childcare at PTSA meeting. The Special Services Director and Associate Directors, participate in a meet and greet before each meeting at 6:30 p.m. We look forward to seeing you all there. 


Upcoming LWPTSA Council Special Needs Group Meetings:

Date: 10/15/2019
Time: 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Location: LWSD Resource Center – Board Room (1st Floor)
                 16250 NE 74th St
                 Redmond, WA 98052
Topic: On October 15 we will honor Disability History and screen a documentary directed by a teen making disability history. We will watch the 30-minute documentary and then have a facilitated conversation about it. The documentary is called Unspoken. Click here for the event flyer. More information here: www.unspokendoc.com.


Save the Date: Mark your calendar for the 2019-20 PTSA Special Needs Group Meetings:

*All meetings are 7:00-8:30pm

Networking Time: 6:30-7:00 – Parent networking and opportunity to meet Director of Special Services, Dr. Shannon Hitch and Associate Directors. 

  • Tuesday, 10/15/2019
  • Tuesday, 11/19/2019
  • No Meeting in December 2019
  • Tuesday, 1/21/2020
  • Tuesday, 2/25/2020 (Resource Fair)
  • Tuesday, 3/17/2020
  • Tuesday, 4/21/2020
  • Tuesday, 5/19/2020
  • No Meeting in June 2020