October 2021

Message from the Special Services Executive Director – Dr. Shannon Hitch

One out of five disability history & pride project

One Out of Five Disability History and Pride Project

October is the month we acknowledge disability history and celebrate disability pride.  As such, rather than sharing my own message, I’d like give space to the words of disability visibility advocate, Alice Wong.

“There is so much that able-bodied people could learn from the wisdom that often comes from disability.  But space needs to be made.  Hands need to reach out.  People need to be lifted up.

The story of disabled success has never been a story about one solitary disabled person overcoming limitations – despite the fact that’s the narrative we so often read in the media. The narrative trajectory of a disabled person’s life is necessarily webbed. We are often only as strong as our friends and family make us, only as strong as our community, only as strong as the resources and privileges we have…"

This may feel true for every era, but I believe I am living in a time where disabled people are more visible than ever before.  And yet while representation is exciting and important, it is not enough.  I want and expect more.  We all should expect more.  We all deserve more.

Learn more about One Out of Five: Washington’s Disability History and Pride Project.


The Importance of Our Words

Language is never neutral and, just like culture, has a fluid nature that is always shifting and evolving. The words that we use to talk about people matters. It influences how we perceive and treat people. One of our goals as educators, parents, and colleagues is to empower all learners. To do this, we need to use our language with intentionality and set an example for others to do the same.

In 1984 the first guidelines about using People First Language were published by the Centers for Independent Living. The intention of People First Language is to acknowledge a person’s humanity before their disability.  For example, when using People First Language we would refer to a person with intellectual disabilities rather than an intellectually disabled person.  This type of language demonstrates respect for the individual.

Since 1984, much has changed. Some people now prefer using Identity first language. For example, many self-advocates prefer to be called Autistic adults rather than adults with Autism.  Our goal should be to use language that aligns with an individual’s preference. To understand the language a person prefers, we must engage and listen to people. Relationships are key to building inclusive communities. Listening and learning from all members of the community is an essential part of building those relationships.

For more information and tips about using intentional language please refer to the Haring Center IPP Demonstration Site.


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 an incredible resource for you. The Arc of King County’s website is a great resource for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. They provide direct support, both formally and informally, to any family impacted by disability. 

For more information and resources, visit their website: www.arcofkingcounty.org.


Family fun opportunity

The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) provides sensory friendly experiences for students and families.

  • Saturday, December 4, 2021  |  8:00 –10:00 a.m.
  • Saturday March 26, 2022  |  8:00 –10:00 a.m.
  • Thursday, May 12, 2022  |  6:00 –8:00 p.m.


Featured articles!

No labor shortage at cafe staffed by workers with intellectual disabilities

In retrospect, February 2020 was the worst possible time to open a restaurant. The pandemic shut everything down less than a month later, and more than a few establishments never reopened.

But No Limits Café in Middletown is still standing. That’s a big deal, because it’s the first New Jersey eatery to be staffed almost entirely by adults with intellectual disabilities.

Read the full article.


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
  • 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 Education Group Meetings

Date: Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. (6:30 - 7 p.m. parent connection; 7 - 8:30 p.m. meeting)
Location: Virtual - Join Zoom meeting

Save the Date: Mark your calendar for the 2021-22 PTSA Special Education Group Meetings

All meetings are 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. and held on the 3rd Tuesday of the month. There will be no meeting in December.

  • October 19, 2021
  • November 16, 2021
  • January 18, 2022
  • February 15, 2022 (Resource Fair)
  • March 15, 2022
  • April 19, 2022
  • May 17, 2022