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School registration Burbank (and autism special needs)

School registration Burbank (and autism special needs)

Old Apr 23rd 2013, 12:30 pm
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Default School registration Burbank (and autism special needs)

Hello BE!

I have just been offered a job in Burbank, CA (LA) so will be sorting out visas and aiming to arrive August. I'm panicking a little so I would be so grateful for any advice, reassurance or information.

I have spoken to the Burbank School District, who tell me that I should secure an address in Burbank and then approach them with details of my address and my 6yo son (Sonny) details and they will arrange school.

It seems like it will be frantic to get him placed like that and I'd prefer to set it all up before arriving, but it seems not to be the process?? On the other hand they do seem to know what they're doing and I guess this is a fairly regular process for them same as transfer-ins so hopefully it will be quite smooth(?!?). I'm a bit jittery so any advice would be appreciated !!

He has special needs (autism) - I think however that the IEP process will follow without too much issue after registration. He is in a dedicated special needs school here in UK for moderate needs which I have been very impressed with. I think however that the "programs" established at mainstream schools in Burbank would probably provide equivalent support and provision as US schools have a great reputation in that area...

Thank you so much in advance for any kind advice

Last edited by uk2burbank; Apr 23rd 2013 at 12:35 pm. Reason: specifying area
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Old Apr 23rd 2013, 1:03 pm
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Default Re: School registration Burbank (and autism special needs)

Originally Posted by uk2burbank View Post
It seems like it will be frantic to get him placed like that and I'd prefer to set it all up before arriving, but it seems not to be the process?
Yes. Generally, you must have a local address prior to school registration.


I think however that the "programs" established at mainstream schools in Burbank would probably provide equivalent support and provision as US schools have a great reputation in that area...
Most schools in the US are not equipped to handle autistic children. Schools are usually mandated to accept children who aren't mainstream... but that's not the same as having specialists available to help your son.

Good luck with the move... but I recommend more intense research.

Ian
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Old Apr 23rd 2013, 1:12 pm
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Default Re: School registration Burbank (and autism special needs)

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
Yes. Generally, you must have a local address prior to school registration.



Most schools in the US are not equipped to handle autistic children. Schools are usually mandated to accept children who aren't mainstream... but that's not the same as having specialists available to help your son.

Good luck with the move... but I recommend more intense research.

Ian
Why do you say that?

I actually worked in a program in my school district that had level two autistic children (moderate) I think our district does pretty good at adapting an education for them all, including all necessary specialists.

Autism has made school districts have to really hurry and change their programs. I can't speak for every school district, so don't know how they all do. You, as the parent, are in the driver's seat for what your child needs. California schools didn't used to do inclusion, but they may very well do that now. When you arrive and get settled, you'll probably be asked to come in and see a few different programs that are offered. Finding the correct program and then fine tuning it to your son's needs may take some time.
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Old Apr 23rd 2013, 2:32 pm
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Default Re: School registration Burbank (and autism special needs)

Responses much appreciated, really

I will definitely establish contact with school district as visa progresses and try to keep them appraised, but I guess really I should not seek to push them particularly for any registration or anything else before arriving as it is not the process (?)

One thing that has brought me some confidence in the provision for Special Needs in Burbank is from website here:
http://www.burbankusd.org/District/D...ology-Services
...there are listed several staff responsible for "Psychological Services", "Speech Pathology" and "Occupational Therapy" for the schools in Burbank, each responsible for 1, 2, or 3 schools (presumably depending on size of school) in Burbank.
In UK these are medical rather than educational disciplines/provisions, and no schools have named staff dedicated to these functions.

It's not extensive research but I found it very encouraging. I do have in mind that provision by any state system could only be considered poor-to-fair if compared to provision with unlimited resources.

If anyone has any ideas where I could focus some research or get more information I'd be grateful (support groups to paid advocacy, anything)
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Old Apr 23rd 2013, 9:16 pm
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Default Re: School registration Burbank (and autism special needs)

Originally Posted by AmerLisa View Post
Why do you say that?
Why? Because most schools in the US aren't equipped to handle autistic children.

Ian
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Old Apr 23rd 2013, 10:47 pm
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Default Re: School registration Burbank (and autism special needs)

Originally Posted by uk2burbank View Post
Responses much appreciated, really

I will definitely establish contact with school district as visa progresses and try to keep them appraised, but I guess really I should not seek to push them particularly for any registration or anything else before arriving as it is not the process (?)

One thing that has brought me some confidence in the provision for Special Needs in Burbank is from website here:
http://www.burbankusd.org/District/D...ology-Services
...there are listed several staff responsible for "Psychological Services", "Speech Pathology" and "Occupational Therapy" for the schools in Burbank, each responsible for 1, 2, or 3 schools (presumably depending on size of school) in Burbank.
In UK these are medical rather than educational disciplines/provisions, and no schools have named staff dedicated to these functions.

It's not extensive research but I found it very encouraging. I do have in mind that provision by any state system could only be considered poor-to-fair if compared to provision with unlimited resources.

If anyone has any ideas where I could focus some research or get more information I'd be grateful (support groups to paid advocacy, anything)
Support staff (ie, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, etc) are the norm at schools. Unfortunately their time is being stretched much too thin and in my opinion children are not always best served. I would recommend, highly, that you secure outside therapy and hopefully that can be arranged through your health provider after you settled.

This is the Regional Center that serves your area (Burbank), perhaps start here with research and maybe even contacting someone to see if they can point you in the right direction.

http://www.lanterman.org/

Last edited by AmerLisa; Apr 23rd 2013 at 10:49 pm.
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Old Apr 23rd 2013, 10:48 pm
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Default Re: School registration Burbank (and autism special needs)

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
Why? Because most schools in the US aren't equipped to handle autistic children.

Ian
Based on what?
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Old Apr 23rd 2013, 11:55 pm
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Default Re: School registration Burbank (and autism special needs)

US "Special Needs" law is rather extensive and the process for determining your child's needs formalized in a number of laws and regulations. Ideally, the goal of every school is to place a child with special needs in a 'regular' classroom with their peers. If this is not possible due to more severe cases then special schools are setup to handle these students. 3 out of 5 children with special needs attends a 'regular' class. Approximately 10% of US students receive some form of assistance, from minor learning disabilities to more advanced cases.

You can learn more about US Special Needs law here:

http://www.gsgi.co.uk/articles/speci...he-us-overview
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special..._United_States
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Old Apr 24th 2013, 12:48 pm
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Default Re: School registration Burbank (and autism special needs)

Originally Posted by AmerLisa View Post
Based on what?
You can mainstream children up the wazoo - whether forced to by legislation or not - but that's not the same as the schools actually being equipped to handle them. School districts like to think they are... and on paper it sure looks that way, but don't kid yourself into thinking that is, in fact, the reality. If it was the reality, then school districts would be advertising 24/7 that they are well-equipped to handle special needs children - they have the programs, they have the space, they have the instructors, they have the specialists, they have the money, etc. The problem then, is that the district will see an increase in special needs kids (pulled from other areas), and then they'll soon find themselves unequipped to handle the numbers. And it's just too bad for the parents if they happen to live in an inner-city district.

Don't get me wrong - there are many good schools with adequate resources for autistic children, and I applaud the difficult work they do... but "many" isn't the same as "most".

While I no longer teach children, I've spent the last 30 years as an educator... the story doesn't change all that often.

Ian
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Old Apr 24th 2013, 1:25 pm
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Default Re: School registration Burbank (and autism special needs)

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
You can mainstream children up the wazoo - whether forced to by legislation or not - but that's not the same as the schools actually being equipped to handle them. School districts like to think they are... and on paper it sure looks that way, but don't kid yourself into thinking that is, in fact, the reality. If it was the reality, then school districts would be advertising 24/7 that they are well-equipped to handle special needs children - they have the programs, they have the space, they have the instructors, they have the specialists, they have the money, etc. The problem then, is that the district will see an increase in special needs kids (pulled from other areas), and then they'll soon find themselves unequipped to handle the numbers. And it's just too bad for the parents if they happen to live in an inner-city district.

Don't get me wrong - there are many good schools with adequate resources for autistic children, and I applaud the difficult work they do... but "many" isn't the same as "most".

While I no longer teach children, I've spent the last 30 years as an educator... the story doesn't change all that often.

Ian
What age level did you teach? I didn't know you were an educator, Ian.

At any rate, schools, whether it be for the gen ed population or special needs are struggling. Yes, some do it better than others, there is no denying that. I was working with a second grade teacher yesterday, who is Canadian. She has taught school in Canada and here. When I first met her, she was the music teacher at this school, not quite sure how she ended up teaching second grade. Anyway, she was lamenting yesterday about how she could have big discussions and center learning around recycling with her Canadian students, but not here. Yesterday she was having a discussion with her second graders on caterpillars, it progressed to pollution, etc and she had to reign them in, because in this world it's all about teaching them to take the test.

Anyway, sorry to the op for hijacking.
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Old Apr 24th 2013, 11:32 pm
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Default Re: School registration Burbank (and autism special needs)

Originally Posted by AmerLisa View Post
What age level did you teach?
I taught high school, and after 10 years transferred to an adult education facility to work with adults trying to graduate from high school. After another 7 years, I moved to adult education at the college level... and, 4 years ago, to adult graduate students at the college level.


I didn't know you were an educator, Ian.
I've spent the majority of my adult life (since 1983) as a teacher and educator in some form or another.

Ian
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Old Apr 25th 2013, 3:04 am
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Default Re: School registration Burbank (and autism special needs)

Hi UKtoburbank

I live in Las Vegas and my DD has special needs (not autism).

Firstly, the US is just like the UK, in that the quality of support varies massively from school to school, state to state.

I would advise you firstly to look at the state regulations on support for your child. Then I would research areas that you may want to live. This will give you a list of schools your child may attend. As explained you can't get a school place until you have a house, usually having to show the tenant agreement.

Email the schools even if thats 20 or so, find the information direct from the schools. You will get a feel for how the school cares about special needs just from their reply.

Things to consider, budget cuts aren't like the UK, they are making a HUGE impact on schools. My DS is in classes of 40+, my DD has lost individual learning from a special needs class to always being in a normal class with 8 other special needs kids and one teaching assistant. (9 special needs in one class)

You will find in the end where you live will be decided on the school you want to attend.

My friends son has autism and he is the same age as you child and she is more that happy with the school he attends and from my experience of the UK, he is probably getting more help here that the UK.

Also, here in Las Vegas none of the private schools would even consider taking my child, just in case you may of been considering it.

I hate to say this and it is only my experience, but no mainstream school can provide the same help for a child as a dedicated special needs school. This is the US and the UK, my kids spent 6 years in the UK school system. Mainstream schools have teachers that don't even understand most special needs, my DDs teacher didn't even know what dyspraxia was (one of my DDs conditions). Also, the schools here are VERY test driven, my DD is doing her CRTs at the moment (like stats, but schools are obsessed with them). The Headteacher tried to find a way for my DD not to do them, so it wouldn't show up on his stats, because she will do so poorly in them.

But as I said, you could have a completely different experience, it shouldnt be that way, but the Head of a school is the one with the control, so how much they care/or not care about helping special needs will effect the resources at that school.

Just a reminder as well to start the vaccinations for school as well while your in the UK. Most schools won't let your child start unless you have had all the vaccinations that state requires. My kids had to have 8! more even though they had all the UK ones.

Last edited by Homeiswheretheheartis; Apr 25th 2013 at 3:23 am.
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Old Apr 26th 2013, 12:58 pm
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Default Re: School registration Burbank (and autism special needs)

Originally Posted by AmerLisa View Post
Support staff (ie, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, etc) are the norm at schools. Unfortunately their time is being stretched much too thin and in my opinion children are not always best served. I would recommend, highly, that you secure outside therapy and hopefully that can be arranged through your health provider after you settled.

This is the Regional Center that serves your area (Burbank), perhaps start here with research and maybe even contacting someone to see if they can point you in the right direction.

http://www.lanterman.org/
Thank you AmerLisa, I was hoping to find a "centre", much appreciated.

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
US "Special Needs" law is rather extensive and the process for determining your child's needs formalized in a number of laws and regulations. Ideally, the goal of every school is to place a child with special needs in a 'regular' classroom with their peers. If this is not possible due to more severe cases then special schools are setup to handle these students. 3 out of 5 children with special needs attends a 'regular' class. Approximately 10% of US students receive some form of assistance, from minor learning disabilities to more advanced cases.

You can learn more about US Special Needs law here:

http://www.gsgi.co.uk/articles/speci...he-us-overview
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special..._United_States
Thank you penguinsix, I will be sure to study up.

Originally Posted by Homeiswheretheheartis View Post
Hi UKtoburbank

I live in Las Vegas and my DD has special needs (not autism).
Firstly, the US is just like the UK, in that the quality of support varies massively from school to school, state to state. Things to consider, budget cuts aren't like the UK, they are making a HUGE impact on schools. My DS is in classes of 40+, my DD has lost individual learning from a special needs class to always being in a normal class with 8 other special needs kids and one teaching assistant. (9 special needs in one class)
OMG 40+ kids and 9 special needs! I'm sorry to hear about that, doesn;t sound brilliant

Originally Posted by Homeiswheretheheartis View Post
I would advise you firstly to look at the state regulations on support for your child. Then I would research areas that you may want to live. This will give you a list of schools your child may attend. As explained you can't get a school place until you have a house, usually having to show the tenant agreement.
Email the schools even if thats 20 or so, find the information direct from the schools. You will get a feel for how the school cares about special needs just from their reply. You will find in the end where you live will be decided on the school you want to attend.
Thank you Homeiswheretheheartis this is good advice, I will do some emailing.

Originally Posted by Homeiswheretheheartis View Post
My friends son has autism and he is the same age as you child and she is more that happy with the school he attends and from my experience of the UK, he is probably getting more help here that the UK.

I hate to say this and it is only my experience, but no mainstream school can provide the same help for a child as a dedicated special needs school. This is the US and the UK, my kids spent 6 years in the UK school system. Mainstream schools have teachers that don't even understand most special needs, my DDs teacher didn't even know what dyspraxia was (one of my DDs conditions). Also, the schools here are VERY test driven, my DD is doing her CRTs at the moment (like stats, but schools are obsessed with them). The Headteacher tried to find a way for my DD not to do them, so it wouldn't show up on his stats, because she will do so poorly in them.
Hmm I'm glad to hear that potentially support is better than in UK, the point that you (and ian-mstsm) make about dedicated special needs schools is my major concern - he is in dedicated school here and I cannot say I have any complaints whatsoever.

Originally Posted by Homeiswheretheheartis View Post
Just a reminder as well to start the vaccinations for school as well while your in the UK. Most schools won't let your child start unless you have had all the vaccinations that state requires. My kids had to have 8! more even though they had all the UK ones.
Good advice, thanks.

I'd like to thank you all for posting, I'm very grateful and any further advice greatly appreciated. It's a bit of a risk for us as a family to move but a good opportunity and one that I'd regret if I did not take it. The weather alone is a big factor - we've had awful winter and been cooped up indoors for 6 months and it's not good for us or particularly for Sonny, so I believe this will be a major improvement to his lifestyle....
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