Special Education Programs in WCCUSD
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Special Education Programs in WCCUSD
Our wonderful eight year old daughter has just been
diagnosed with Asperger's and ADHD. She is currently in a
public school in the West Contra Costa district and is doing
fine academically, but has been having trouble making
friends. I'm wondering if anyone has worked with West Contra
Costa school district to get disability accomodations, I
would love to hear any advice you would be willing to share.
Thanks so much!
I have worked as an advocate with several families of children with
Aspergers in WCUSD. Is your daughter already receiving special education or
504 services? If so, request a meeting in writing to discuss your concerns.
The link below contains phone numbers and emails for special education
personnel. If your daughter is not already receiving services, write to ask
for assessment for 504 and special education services and say that you would
like them to proceed simultaneously. The IEP process is long and onerous,
and possibly unnecessary if her needs can be met by a 504 plan. A 504 plan
provides modifications and accommodations that are needed for her to have an
opportunity perform at the same level as her peers, and may proceed more
quickly than special education assessment. It's not a substitute for special
education, however, if that is what she needs.
In addition to whatever recommendations you get from other parents, I
suggest you just call or email the program specialist for your area with
your specific questions and to find out whether any schools already have
social thinking programming (check out www.socialthinking.com too). The
beginning of the year is frantic, so you may need to follow an email or
faxed letter with a phone call. You can find the special education directory
We are looking into kindergarten options. Our son was diagnosed with high
functioning autism and has sensory processing issues. He is too advanced for a
special day class but needs help with social skills and is a bit
Academically, he is on target.
We live in Kensington and want him go to our local school (with his twin
sister and a
bunch of other neighborhood kids) but are getting mixed signals from the
district. We had always envisioned him going to Hilltop in a general ed class
support-- possibly a shared aide and OT and speech therapy on site.
My main question- are there any Kensington residents who send their special
kids to Hilltop? If so, how has it been? What about El Cerrito and Richmond
who live close by? I know that the school has an OT room and 2 speech therapy
rooms so it seems to me that they are structurally set up. The principal is a
special ed teacher so it would appear that there might be support from the
Any other Kensington residents in the same situation? We could ban together
show that there is a need for services and support at Hilltop. It just doesn't
any sense to me to send children with special needs away from their community
social structure. We think that children not only learn in the classroom but
relationships with kids on the block and after school playtimes.
My friends ended up leaving there and transfering to Madera and
ended up at Castro full inclusion, where they are happier.
The people who are trying to dissuade you from attending
there probably understand the school-staff-community dynamics and
know what might happen. Although the school does have speech and
OT rooms it doesn't mean the staff are trained to work with these
children whose needs are more intense. Also the staff don't have
the support or material on site (ie a Special Ed teacher or
things such as programs to make visual schedules). The admin
people actually might be trying to save him from all the negative
past experiences of other children with special needs. It is sad
to think that attending your neighborhood school may not be the
best place for your child but you also want to do what's best for
him. You also need to trust your gut instinct, if you feel like
the school doesn't have ALL the resources you need then you need
to look elsewhere or make sure they are in place and that the
staff know how it is to work and are willing to do it BEFORE you
child steps foot into the classroom. This is a lifelong process
that never gets easier, just changes as the kids grow. Best of
luck down a LONG road.
isn't it sad?
I am not a parent of a special needs kid, but I have two kids
at Hilltop, and my daughter's class, in particular, has special
needs kids in it, at least one with autism. I think both
teachers (at least the 1st and 2nd grade teachers I've had
experience with) and the principal are attentive to addressing
any special needs in the classroom-- as you mentioned, just
talk to Principal Sanders about it-- she is very responsive.
I do not have a special needs child at Hilltop, but my child attends Hilltop, has some
learning issues and has an IEP. Not really sure who you spoke to in the district and I
am not sure what you were expecting the district to tell you. They probably would
prefer that you sent your child somewhere else as it is less for them to deal with. By
law they cannot tell you that and they have to serve the needs of your child.
If you have not done so, please call Principal Judy Sanders and at the very least have
a phone conversation with her. I am sure you will find her to be a fine Hilltop
Ambassador, and I think you could get a clear idea of the services that will be
available to you. You can then decide whether you think this would work for your
You might also ask the BPN for some opinions on CASTRO, which although is not in
Kensington, has an excellent special needs program.
Overall, they have bent over backwards to address my child's needs. I think the
teachers so far have been exceptional. They have used every trick in the book,
every motivator, every alternative learning method available to make it work. I've
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