Welcome to West Valley Central School's Special Education Department
"Special Education" means individual instruction or additional services and programs to meet a child's learning needs. These services are provided at no cost to the parent and enable all children to be able to learn and have opportunities. Special education services have changed from many years ago. Whenever possible, children are educated in a regular classroom and only removed if they require additional supports such as resource room, speech therapy, counseling, occupational therapy, vision therapy, and physical therapy. If your child requires a specialized classroom, every attempt is made to allow that child opportunities to be with regular students in gym, art, music, library, computers, and lunch.
How Do I Know If My Child Needs Help?
Your child may show signs that he/she is struggling in school. They may not want to do homework, hide their report card, refuse to come to school, refuse to read, or may act anxious regarding learning. If you notice your child's behavior and/or attitude towards school has changed, talk to their teacher. There are many things classroom teachers can try to see if they can address any learning concerns within the classroom. The teacher can then monitor those strategies to see if they help your child.
Your child may also fail to make progress similar to his/her peers. Sometimes, a child appears to learn and may get acceptable grades, but are not learning fast enough or remembering enough to be able to build on that knowledge for the next year. Lack of progress can also be an indication that your child may have learning difficulties.
Other areas of difficulty may be talking, walking, writing, attention, vision, or memory. Talk to your child's teacher. They are the first stop on the road to helping your child.
What Do I Do If I Think My Child Has Difficulties?
Children can receive help through special education from ages 3-21. For ages 3-5, it is through the Committee on Preschool Special Education. Once your child is eligible for kindergarten, it is through the Committee on Special Education.
One way is to contact your child's teacher. They may be able to try some different methods in the classroom. The teacher may have a conference with you and that conference may involve other staff who support student needs such as the speech therapist, resource room teacher, or Director of Special Education. You have the option to refer your child for special education testing. That testing includes areas of learning, thinking, reading, writing, speaking, walking, and any other areas of concern. At the end of the testing, there will a team meeting with you to discuss what the testing showed and what your child may need for supports.
If your child is not yet in school or in preschool, you may contact the West Valley Special Education Department and testing can be done at home, at a clinic site, or in your child's daycare.
Special Education Team
Shawna Gugino, Director of Special Education, Chairperson, 504 Committee
942.3293 x 4149
Deborah Brown, Secretary
Ilene Simon, Speech Pathologist
Hannah McMahon, Speech Pathologist
Antonette Leonard, Psychologist
Krista Frank, Special Education Teacher
Pam Casey, Special Education Teacher
Julie Baren, Special Education Teacher
Kyle Woodin, Special Education Teacher
Dana Lembke, Special Education Teacher
Matthew LaBrake, Guidance/Counselor
Melissa Rhodus, Occupational Therapist
Claire Slavinski, Physical Therapist