Julie Blinston is Exceptional Education (formerly Special Needs) Chair at SRVCPTA
Special Needs Committee meetings are held from 9:30 to 11:30 am on the fourth Wednesday of each month, except for November and December. They are held in Board Room A of the SRVUSD Offices at 699 Old Orchard Drive, Danville.
Parent Education Evening Speaker Series
The Parent Education Evening Speaker Series is held on the 3rd Wednesday evening of every month, September through April (except if noted otherwise), 7-9 pm at Iron Horse Middle School MPR, 12601 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon, CA, 94583. Many of our speakers address topics that are of interest and applicable to both families of children with special needs and families of children who may not be identified as having special needs. All are welcome to attend.
Tri-Valley Dyslexia Support Group
The SRV Council of PTAs Special Needs Committee is a co-sponsor of Decoding Dyslexia CA's Tri-Valley Dyslexia Support Group that meets virtually on the 2nd Thursday of each month, 7:00-8:30 pm (from September to May). For more information, contact email@example.com. To join the Decoding Dyslexia CA email list, go to the email signup page on their website.
ABILITIES AWARENESS PROGRAM IN ACTION
Mission: To create a more tolerant and empathetic learning environment for all students attending schools in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.
How we do it: Through interactive hands-on curriculum aimed at each age group students are allowed to feel the challenges and frustrations that they and others encounter during their school days. Experiencing these challenges both physically and emotionally highlights the coping mechanisms that one may create to get through an ordinary task. Acknowledging that all people have areas of expertise and areas of challenge helps create a safer social environment.
To learn more about the Abilities Awareness Program, please visit: http://www.srvusd.net/AbilityAwarenessProgram
Background on the PTA Special Needs Committee
The committee was formed in Fall 2002 to:
Provide information and support to parents and staff so they can help children with special needs succeed.
Help ALL children and adults understand and appreciate the challenges faced by children with special needs.
Work legislatively to secure and retain adequate laws and funding for children with special needs.
In 2002, the school district was faced with many parents unhappy with how their children's educational needs were being met, pending litigation, and a long list of compliance issues. The initial committee included seven parents with varying PTA experience, a school board member, and the school district's Assistant Director of Special Education. We knew that parents of children with special needs often feel disconnected from the schools and are craving information and support, and we hoped that this committee could help meet some of this need. We define “special needs” broadly - as applying to any child with learning or processing differences, physical disabilities, speech & language difficulties, social or emotional issues, etc., as well as gifted learners.
Eager to start making a difference, the new committee hosted a series of four educational evening programs. Each of the schools were encouraged to appoint a PTA special needs representative for the following year, and a handful did. The following year the committee hosted an evening program almost every month as well as a full-day Saturday conference. The committee's events consistently drew large audiences by providing information on a variety of topics to parents craving support as well as educators eager to learn.
The number of PTA special needs representatives has continued to grow and as a result we now have an active, collaborative committee. We host 5-6 evening programs a year and collaborate with PTA's Parent Education group to put on a full-day Saturday conference in February.
The school district has moved from being initially hesitant about our efforts to being fully supportive and appreciative. They now encourage teachers and staff to attend our programs, and provide facilities and support whenever asked. The high attendance at all of these programs, the appreciation from parents and staff members who attend them, and the resulting cooperation and collaboration that has positively changed how parents and educators view one another, prove that this program is helping children.
We look forward to another productive year of providing information and support through our evening programs and other events, and the networking and support opportunities that result from participating in these events.