September 2021

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

Apple and books

Welcome to the 2021-22 school year! The past few weeks have been a flurry of activity and learning in our schools. We are excited to see so many students back in classrooms. I hope you all had a wonderful start to the year. We have been busy – working to create supports for students in special education within our new online school, supporting students and families as they move into our district, and working with all of our new teachers and paraeducators. I’m looking forward to hosting our first parent night next week, on Tuesday, September 28. Please join us from 7-8:30 p.m. to hear a review of the 2020-21 school year as well as our plans for this year. We’ll share updates on our efforts to support inclusion, address issues of disproportionality, and all of the new curriculum and professional learning planned for this year. This meeting will be held virtually via Zoom, in partnership with the Lake Washington PTSA.


Summer 2021 ESY and Recovery Services

We had a remarkable summer which saw us providing both extended school year and recovery services to hundreds of students in special education. We had literacy camps, math camps and social-emotional camps – all designed to remediate learning loss due to COVID. In addition to these learning camps, we provided preschool, speech and motor therapy services and consultation services. We gathered pre and post data on student learning and the outcomes were phenomenal. We’ll share a little more about these outcomes in our parent meeting next week. I am deeply grateful to all of the special education teachers, paraeducators, contractual staff, bus drivers, therapists and administrators who gave up part of their summer to provide these services to students.  And a huge thank you to all of the families who set aside family time, vacations and adjusted their lives in order to provide their children with this learning opportunity. 


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. 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. They are also providing the following opportunity for families:

A virtual series for parents and caregivers of loved ones with intellectual and developmental disabilities

The second Sunday of each month, 10-11:30 a.m. via Zoom

  • Sept. 12 - Special Education and Recovery Services
  • Oct. 10 - Supported Decision Making
  • Nov. 14 - How to Renew Guardianship
  • Dec. 12 - Overview of Housing Models

To join:

No RSVP is required to attend. Contact or 206-829-7046 for questions, language interpretation, or to request accommodations.

For more information and resources, visit their website:


Social Security

Did you know children younger than age 18 who have a disability or are blind and have limited income and resources may qualify for SSI if they meet certain requirements? Here’s how to apply.


Special Education State Design Team

OSPI is seeking partners to engage in important work on behalf of students with disabilities in the state of Washington. OSPI is still seeking volunteers to serve on a variety of committees. If you are interested in helping shape the work of special education in our state in the coming years, please join me and sign up


Featured articles!

BYU Graduate Writes, Stars in Film that Explores Disability

A film written by and starring a Brigham Young University graduate will make its way to a streaming service and potentially film festivals in the coming months. And it tells a story not often represented in film. Andrew Justvig, who was born with cerebral palsy, has long dreamed of making a career working for Disney. He wrote plays in his Master of Fine Arts program at UC-Riverside, but "I never set out to make a movie," Justvig said.

The opportunity to see an award-winning play he wrote, "The Anxiety of Laughing," filmed for a new streaming service, the Disability News Report, fell into his lap, Justvig said. The plan was to film a stage production of the play to be directed by one of Justvig's former professors at UC-Riverside, Robin Russin.

Read the full article


Google Launches Program to Hire More People with Autism

Google is teaming up with Stanford University in an effort to make its workforce more neurodiverse.

The technology giant said recently that it is launching a new program aimed at bringing more people with autism into its cloud workforce and supporting them better.

With Google Cloud’s Autism Career Program, the company said that it will work with experts from the Stanford Neurodiversity Project — part of the university’s medical school — to train as many as 500 Google Cloud managers and others who are integral in the hiring process to work more effectively with candidates who have autism.

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, September 28, 2021
Time: 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Location: Online via Zoom
Topic: Planning for 2021-22 School Year, presented by Executive Director of Special Services

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.

  • September 28, 2021
  • October 19, 2021
  • November 16, 2021
  • January 18, 2022
  • February 15, 2022 (Resource Fair)
  • March 15, 2022
  • April 19, 2022
  • May 17, 2022