Special Needs

Parent groups are vitally important partners in the education of our students with special needs.  Use this page to find out more resources, contacts and information for parents of special needs students.
To be added to the Lake Washington PTSA Special Needs Group email distribution list, please contact ChairpersonApril Miller. This list is a phenomenal resource for local contacts, information, meeting reminders and summaries, as well as access to files on our LWSD PTSA Special Needs Group Yahoo! web site. This list is not shared with anyone.
Wrightslaw Newsletter, the special ed advocate newsletter - Click here to Subscribe
Do you have unresolved issues with your school district?  
The Arc of King County is offering a limited number of legal consultations for families with children with developmental disabilities, who have unresolved special education issues. Christy Ibrahim, Attorney and Stacy Gillett, Special Education Legal Advocate, have generously offered to provide consultation to families over the next few months. 
Because we have limited appointments, our priority will go to:
  • Children with developmental disabilities living in King County who are clients of the Division of Developmental Disabilities. 
  • Families for whom some advocacy has already been attempted yet the issue(s) remain unresolved.
  • Non-priority groups could receive an appointment if openings are available. 
If you know of families with an interest in receiving an appointment, please email or mail Cathy Murahashi  or Cathy Lacefield
Please include a brief summary about the child and family, name of school district, and as many specifics about the special education issue that you know (i.e. placement, inclusion, eligibility, services such as O.T, P.T, SLP, ESY, discipline, transition, behavior support, eligibility, evaluation). Include information about any remedies that already may have been attempted.  Tell us the child's disability or diagnosis, and any specifics about the family's situation.  This summary might include whether an interpreter may be needed, whether this is a single parent family, and if the family's resources are limited in any other way (low income, parent with disability, difficulty obtaining other needed services or resources, etc). Let us know which of the times below might work for the family. 

Resources & Links:
The ARC of King County serves children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. Developmental Disabilities, including Down Syndrome, Autism, Mental Retardation, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, and other similar conditions, occur prior to the age of 18 and are expected to last for life. Find out more about the resources that are available by visiting: www.arcofkingcounty.org
 LWSD Special Needs Parent Groups

Alicia Robinson: Audubon PTSA Special Needs liaison for 2016-17 school year
Alicia has had a student at Audubon since her eldest child started kindergarten in 2009, and is currently the parent of a 4th grader. Alicia is the liaison between the Audubon community and staff regarding any general concerns having to do with Special Education and 504 services, and is the liaison between the Audubon PTSA and the LWSD SN PTSA. If you have a child who is struggling but has not yet had any formal evaluations, please feel free to discuss those concerns with her so that she can point you in the right direction for help, and explain the system to you. If you just need to talk to someone who understands, or you’re not sure what you need but you know something isn’t working for your kiddo, that’s okay too! Her email address is: alicia.robinson@scriban.com

Research project: Children with Cerebral Palsy
We want to know how the physical activity of children with walking problems or cerebral palsy relates to what they do in their day to day lives.


We are looking for children who:

  • Have walking problems that started before age 2
  • Have any type of cerebral palsy or primary problem that is a developmental movement disorder
  • May have hemiplegia, diplegia, walking quadriplegia, ataxia, spastic, mixed tone, athetoid, or dyskinetic
  • Ages 2 years to less than 10 years
  • Able to do some functional walking with or without help (walkers, gait trainers)
  • Project requires a one time visit to Seattle Children’s Hospital of about 2 hours.
  • Children and/or parents will complete surveys.
  • The child will be tested for their gross motor and walking skills like a physical therapy visit.
  • The child will be given an ankle monitor to wear for 7-10 days.
  • They will return the monitor by mail with a questionnaire about what they did the last week.
  • Families will receive a print out of their child’s walking activity
  • The family will receive $40 for their time and effort
  • Families will also receive mileage for the visit to SCH.

Kristie Bjornson, PhD, PT
Ph: 206-884-2066,
Pediatrics, Developmental Medicine
Seattle Children’s Research Institute



Research Study Opportunity
The Sandbox Learning Company is looking for children with developmental disabilities ages 7-15 to participate in a study titled, Daily Living and Community Skills Video Game for Children with Developmental Disabilities. The grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSSRS) National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).
The purpose of the study is to create and evaluate a video game for children with developmental disabilities to learn daily living and community skills. Your child will play the video game in your home. The Principal Investigator (P.I.) will evaluate skill acquisition in the home and the community.
Requirements for inclusion:
  1. Age 7-15.
  2. An IQ in the moderate to severe range based on school records or a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from an outside physician or psychologist using DSM-IV criteria. Diagnosis of ASD also verified by the Childhood Autism Rating Scales (CARS) as administered by the P.I. or Research Consultant.
  3. Receptive understanding of 95% or greater of the vocabulary in the script based on parent report checklist. This checklist will contain all of the game content words (i.e. nouns and verbs). Parents will check off all words their child comprehends in daily routines
  4. Functional goals such as purchasing, dressing, or preparing food included in their individualized education plan (IEP).
  5. Receptively identify numbers and words included in the game for their key skills.
  6. Possess fine motor skills to complete motor movements required for the skills.
  7. Independently complete 50% or less of the task analysis steps required to complete 18 of the skills in the game based on the P.I.’s evaluation of these skills with your child.
  8. Competently uses the mouse, Touch Window, or other device to move the curser.
  9. Standard scores below 70 on the Vineland Adaptive Scales Parent or Teacher Interview Version Daily Living Section. The parent or teacher survey version will be administered.
  10. Lives in the Seattle/Tacoma area.
Child participants will receive gift certificates totaling $100 to a store of their choice, and they will have the opportunity to learn daily living and community skills. You will receive $200 per month for ensuring they play the game, contacting the P.I. to evaluate their progress, and providing feedback about the system at the end of the study.
You will be responsible for making sure your child plays the game each weekday. The study will take approximately 10 minutes per weekday for 16 weeks. The timeframe is dependent on skill acquisition so the number of weeks could vary slightly.
For more information please contact Amy Maguire, Principal Investigator (800) 704-7815 ext. 5.