Programs offer assistance to children with special needs

Many special needs children will benefit from the early intervention services or special education offered at various SCV school sites, said Michele Hill, secretary of the Santa Clarita Valley SELPA.
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As students in the Santa Clarita Valley prepare to return to school next month, school officials are encouraging parents and community members who know of a child who may have special needs to contact their local school district office.

Working in collaboration with all five school districts, the SCV Special Education Local Plan Area, or SELPA, provides services and coordination for families and students with disabilities  throughout the SCV from birth to age 21, including infants and children enrolled in parentally placed private schools.

Districts are actively seeking out all individuals with exceptional needs that would benefit from early intervention services or special education, according to Elizabeth Calzadillas, SCV SELPA secretary. 

In accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, special education programs are available to all eligible students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment at various school sites in the SCV.

Students with any of the following disabilities may be eligible for special education services: autism, hearing impaired including deafness, deaf-blindness, emotionally disturbed, speech and language impairment, intellectual disability, orthopedic impairment, multiple disabilities, specific learning disability, traumatic brain injury, other health impairment and visual impairment.

Children are expected to be assessed to determine their disability and its impact on school performance if referred to special education, which then determines their eligibility for special education services. 

Following assessments, parents, teachers and staff meet for individual education plan team meetings to determine eligibility, specific goals, placement and objectives, where parents are required to give permission for any special education services.

Parents who are concerned about their child’s development or have reason to believe they need special education due to a physical, mental, emotional, learning or speech problem are asked to contact either the SELPA office or local school district’s special education department.

For more information on SCV SELPA, visit santaclaritavalleyselpa.org or call 661-259-0033.

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