Thursday, September 11, 2014

Who speaks for SPED families?

Over the past 4 years there has been a small group of parents intrenched at SPS controlling the dialog with SPS SPED administration. They sit on the SEACC group and SpEd PTSA. They are fierce advocates for their agenda which is AUTISM and other pervasive issues.

They write position papers on:

Use of restraints. 
Discipline and Disproportionality in Special Education 
First Class Citizenship for Students with Disabilities

Link to SPED PTSA website  

 Link to SEACC website          

They pick their own noble causes, but again there is a common theme to the work...AUTISM.

Autistic students deserve FAPE just like every student, but there needs to be balanced representation  with the district.

48% of SPED students have SLD  issues effecting academic achievement, but SLD students are never discussed at SEACC.  This is because parents of SLD students that do take the time to attend quickly realize they are out numbered and their concerns are usually dismissed. 

Yes there are a FEW SPED students with AUTISM and SLD in the hi functioning side.

We hear the usual "you think you have it bad" lame argument or " at least your kid gets text books" is another common line to dismiss parents concerns.

It's important for parents to let the district know that SEACC and SpEd ptsa doesn't speak for every student or family.

It might be worth revisiting  joining the SpEd ptsa with the new president having promised to work on issues effecting SLD students.  



  1. Why does the Seattle school system seem to ignore the issues of students suffering with dyslexia? We have been trying to get help for two years, but nothing happens. Does the school have any programs that work for kids with dyslexia?

    I've spoken with other parents in the same situation and we need to get the same attention that the autistic students get.
    I've heard of the district spending around 80 million per year on autism is this true?


  2. Parent,

    It's hard to figure out how much money is spent on pervasive issues like autism due to lack of transparency in the accounting SPS uses, or lack of accounting I should say. As far as services, NO they do not have any programs or services for dyslexia or any SLD.

    In 2004 teachers where ordered to toss out their phonics base curriculum used for dyslexic students. Your best approach in dealing with SPS is to make the IEP team PROVE they can help and not harm you child. Be patient and persistent in keep the responsibility on the school. SPS has no creditability with special education and the tide is turning for dyslexic students. Autistic advocates are well entrenched in SPS and will fight any threat to the SPED resources but dont be intimidated or feel guilty for asking for services you child deserves them as much as others.

    SPED is 100% focused on pervasive issues and they do the best they can with using most of the SPED funds. Dealing with dyslexia SPS simply pushes all the students into studies skills class, resource rooms and learning labs and hope the untrained general education teachers pick up the pieces.

    I'm working hard to stop this practice.

  3. Good Fight, as a parent of a student with "pervasive issues" I can tell you that SPS is not 100% focused on these issues except possibly to gate keep services. Building staff have little or no training. Central Office staff gate-keep and usually have nothing to offer except a telephone # to a voice mailbox that is full.

    It is an uphill climb for most parents of students with pervasive issues. It is an uphill climb for all of us. I ask you not to pit disability against disability. The common denominators are the most important things in keeping up the good fight.


  4. Maybe "more" focused is a better description. Pervasive is really hard to figure out because SPS spends close to $80,000,000 on pervasive services in and out of SPS. SPS currently pays $907,000 per school year for 14 students to attend NWSOIL and another student cost the district $126,000 per year. Many parents would be happy to have their child receiving services at a school that specializes in disabilities with a proven track record. The problem is a small group of parents have fought against this and demand that each school take on all pervasive students at the local school. This approach is ridiculous and costly, yielding dissatisfaction with many parents. An IA cost between $45,000 to $65,000 per student with a few students having two IAs. There are several students who's total cost for k-12 is upwards of $3,000,000 and these students are basically stuck at a third grade level. Many of the most expensive cases are more due to medical reasons that learning disabilities and it's not right for the school system to have to take on the cost when medicare or private medical insurance should be paying for the treatments these children need.

    Teachers are not medical providers or psychiatrist so they should not have to deal with these types of problems, but if fact these issues are forced on them with the inclusion model, which I don't think works for anyone.