Welcome to the Pleasanton PTA Council Special Needs Committee

The Pleasanton PTA Council Special Needs Committee (SNC) is made up of dedicated parent volunteers committed to making a difference in the lives of our special needs students and their families. Committee members include PUSD administrators from Special Education and PBIS as well as Parent Liaison. Our goal is to foster and maintain positive relationships between parents and PUSD, and spread awareness as well as acceptance of ALL abilities within our community. 

SNC sponsors free evening speaker events with well-known local authorities on topics such as learning and behavioral challenges, anxiety in children and teens, ADHD, understanding the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and 504 processes, and building blocks to a successful collaboration between parents and schools. We also sponsor the Ability Awareness Week program with participating schools throughout the district. Students learn about the challenges a child with special needs faces on a daily basis, and learn how to ACCEPT–UNDERSTAND–SUPPORT everyone and their differences.

SNC defines “special needs” as a term that applies to children who are gifted learners, any child with a learning or processing difference, physical disability, cognitive delay, speech & language delay, behavioral challenges, social or emotional difficulty, and those with food allergies.

Disclaimer:  PUSD or the PTA Council does not necessarily endorse or sponsor the content of any written or electronic material displayed or provided. This information is provided for your convenience. Parents/guardians are responsible for determining the potential merits of the information posted.

If you would like to provide feedback regarding these listings, please email Belle Musfeldt, Communications

Click on the Live Images & Flyers Posted Below

Updated 1-21-19


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NAA’s Personal Emergency Profile

National Autism Association


For more information, Click Here.

To download PDF, click anywhere on the form.

A school nurse emailed...

Does a child with a life threatening food allergy need a 504 Plan or a Medical 504 Plan?

Thirteen percent of students have food allergies. That's about two kids per class - not a small problem!

Concerns about episodic conditions such as allergies, anaphylaxis, asthma, epilepsy, do not have "one size fits all" solutions.

Does your school have an appropriate plan in place to meet your child's unique needs?

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate learn about the school's responsibility to provide your child with an education tailored to her unique needs. You'll find information, articles, and caselaw relating to episodic conditions.



To RSVP, click anywhere on the flyer.

Coffee with SNC Parents

A Mid-Year Update Presented by 

Student Services and Special Education



For information or to register, 
please send an email to Frances Denisco

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Regina Stoops was born and raised in a town called Normal, though her humor is anything but. Regina has her own unique perspective on what most might consider the mundane details of ordinary life: raising three boys, being married (or not), aging parents, health care, navigating the world of special education, mini-van motoring and the grocery store.

Regina has created a blog called NORMAL NOTES which is filled with humorous ramblings that are heartfelt, touching and insightful. To read her latest rambling, click the image below or the logo above to navigate to her site.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree
"the important things are friends and family and those who’ve been there over the years"

By Regina Stoops

Do You Have Concerns About ESY? 
Here’s an Opportunity for You to Provide Feedback and Suggestions
RSVP Required

Join us next week as the Special Needs Committee continues the ESY discussion wit
PUSD’s Heather Pereira (Coordinator of Extended Day Academic Intervention Programs) and Mary Jude Doerpinghaus (Director of Special Education.)


• Learn about all the updates and changes that are being implemented for ESY 2019
• Provide feedback and suggestions for ESY 
• Ask any questions that you may have about ESY


A brief presentation will be followed by an open forum.  
Parents are encouraged to come with their questions!    


January 23rd, 2019 
10:00-11:30 a.m.
4665 Bernal Avenue, Kottinger Room


Please RSVP at snc@pleasantonpta.org so that we may know how many people 
are planning to attend. We look forward to seeing you next week.

Rashmi Prasad
Chairperson Pleasanton PTA Special Needs Committee

Special Olympics for K-5 Basketball 
Tuesday, February 12
Please Check with Your Child’s Teacher if the Class is Participating

Registration is Available Now for the SELPA Resource & Transition Fair!

For more information or to register, 
click on the flyer.


SNC Needs Volunteers During

Abilities Awareness Week at Walnut Grove Elementary!


January 28-February 1
1999 Harvest Rd, Pleasanton, CA 94566

The Special Needs Committee is excited to Celebrate All Abilities at Walnut Grove! We are looking for volunteers to walk students through hands-on activities that briefly simulate different abilities. Training and scripts will be provided. Please feel free to sign up for multiple slot times.

Thank you for helping make our week a success!

Important Notice: You must be cleared by the school district before you may volunteer. Please submit your volunteer clearance form to your child's school now (it can take several weeks before you are cleared to volunteer) so that you may volunteer for this event or the next Abilities Awareness Week event.

To Volunteer
Submit Your Volunteer Clearance Form Online 


To register, click anywhere on the flyer. 

Thursday, February 14
9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

PUSD District Offices
4665 Bernal Avenue 
Kottinger Room

The Livermore Special Needs Parent Group is made up of parents and guardians in the Livermore area whose children have various special needs. It was established by parents, for parents. Our group has monthly meetings on the 3rd Wednesday of each month (except for December, June, July, and August) from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Address and meeting topics listed below.

Livermore Valley Tennis Club
2000 Arroyo Road 
Livermore, CA 94550
2018-19 Meeting Topics
September 19 – Special Education 
(for parents whose child attends Livermore Unified)
October 17 – Behavior
November 14 – Depression 
January 16 – Screen Time
February 20 – IEP
March 20 – Alternative Therapies
April 17 – Transitions
May 15 – Summer Strategies

Decoding Dyslexia CA is pleased to partner with Learning Quest, the SLD Foundation, Mary Stuart Rodgers, and Burroughs Farms in hosting:

Assistive Technology for Dyslexia:  Nuts & Bolts
a virtual presentation with
Jamie Martin, AT Specialist with the New England Technology Center

Thursday, February 28, 2019, 3:30-5:00pm
at Sutter Health Education Conference Center
1700 McHenry Ave., Suite 60B, McHenry Village
Modesto, CA  95356

In recent years, there has been a rapid development of assistive technology (AT) that allows students with dyslexia to experience new educational heights and reach their academic potentials. The presentation will first explore the concept of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and how AT can help teachers create UDL classrooms. Next, it will examine the main categories of UDL that are helpful to students with dyslexia, including text to speech, dictation, word prediction, and electronic graphic organizers. Finally, there will be a discussion of common myths that are associated with AT for dyslexia and what can be done to dispel those myths. This overview presentation helps teachers and families level the playing field for kids who have difficulty reading and writing.

This virtual presentation will be facilitated by Jamie Martin who is an Assistive Technology Specialist at the New England Technology Center(NEAT) in Hartford, CT. He specializes in finding AT solutions for students and adults with dyslexia and other learning and attention issues. He regularly gives educational presentations, including ATIA(Assistive Technology Industry Association) and IDA(International Dyslexia Association). He is a consultant for the learning website,

You are invited to join us in Modesto and participate in this live webinar. There is no cost for this event, but seating is limited. Register at Eventbrite.com. The target audience is teachers, parents, students, administrators, and specialists.

This event is sponsored by Learning Quest, SLD Foundation, Mary Stuart Rogers, Decoding Dyslexia CA, Burroughs Family Farms.  For information contact Helen Katotakis at elenikato@aol.com.

Click Here to Register


E-Learning Library


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I’m an adult now, Mom and Dad. WHAT’S YOUR PLAN?


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Click Here to view this event online.


Roadmap to College Success: A Conference for Students with Learning Disabilities


To Reserve Seats, click anywhere on the flyer.

Click Here to view this event online.


PHP Adult Transition & Adult Services Fair

No RSVP Needed!

Click Here to view this event online.


Registration Deadline January 14!
To register online, click anywhere on the flyer.

Click Here for more information or to download PDF.


When:  Thursday, January 10, 2018, 7:00-8:30pm
Where: Bella Vista Elementary School Library
            1050 Trumpet Vine Ln, San Ramon, CA 94582
            (See map - may be hard to find on your GPS)
RSVP:  Sandra Wicks, ddcatrivalley@gmail.com

Your RSVP helps us plan, but is not required.  Thank you!

Future Meeting Dates & Topics:  

March 14th
We welcome suggestions for future meeting topics!

We are a group of parents and educators coming together once a month to offer support, share ideas and resources, and empower each other as we experience the successes and challenges of raising/teaching a child with dyslexia.
This group is intended to be a safe place where we can together on a regular basis and freely share what we (and our kids) are going through with others who understand, or who may have overcome a similar challenge and can offer insight or experience.
This group is parent-moderated and free. The San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs’ Special Needs Committee is partnering with us to host this group.

The Complete List of Free Things and Grants for Kids with Special Needs


The Special Needs Committee would like to thank our Vintage Hills School Representative Sara Walls for her time, effort and creativity to make Ability Awareness Week a success. As a result of her efforts, Vintage Hills students have had the chance to experience hands-on activities simulating various challenges, participate in group discussions, and most importantly, to have the opportunity to ask any questions that they may have.

An additional big thank you to Noreen Senner, Cary Fukada, Libby Werba and Rashmi Prasad for their leadership throughout the week.

The  goal of Ability Awareness Week is to make students more aware and more empathetic about the diverse range of student abilities in our schools. The program would not be possible without dedicated volunteers so THANK YOU for helping Vintage Hills “Celebrate All Abilities.”


2018-19 SELPA CAC Meetings

Open to the Public

PUSD District Offices

4665 Bernal Avenue, Bldg 400

6:00-7:30 p.m.

March 4 - Bernal Room

April 22 - Kottinger Room 

The Special Needs Committee would like to thank our School Representative, Stephanie Rauscher, for all of her amazing work at Donlon Elementary School. Stephanie has organized Abilities Awareness Week at Donlon for the past four years. As a result of all her efforts, Donlon students have had the chance to experience hands-on activities simulating various challenges, engage in adapted PE classes, participate in class discussions, and most importantly, they have the opportunity to ask any questions that they may have.

Stephanie has volunteered countless hours to bring The Abilities Awareness Program to Donlon. She's done a great job updating the program each year to ensure that it continues to be fun and engaging for the students while still focusing on our message to Accept–Support–Understand everyone regardless of their differences. 

On behalf of the entire Special Needs Committee, thank you, Stephanie!

The Battle Fatigue of 

Special Needs Parenting

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https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AJJfpV6klMuE3mbdYWnjqyT7i0U_8tRZ/view?usp=sharingTo download the flyer in pdf, click anywhere 
on the document image.

SNC Receives PUSD Champion of Change Award

SNC executive team in the bottom row from left to right: Rashmi Prasad-Chair, Belle Musfeldt-Communications, Michele Plunge-Events, 
Regina Stoop-Ability Awareness
Cary Fucada-Treasurer, Linda Fazzio-Membership 

An Update from The 
Director of Special Education

To download the full document, click on the document image below.



SNC needs your help! We still have some positions open for the school representatives listed below. We'd love to have you, so come and join us and make a difference in the lives of our special needs families!

School Representative


Hearst Elementary

Mohr Elementary

Harvest Park Middle

Village High


If you wish to be a representative for your school, please complete the Membership Form or contact Linda Fazzio if you have questions.

The Key to Improving How IEP Teams Support Children’s

Social and Emotional Needs

by Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.

Click on the image to be directed to the article.


 For more press releases from California SCDD, 
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There’s a Big Difference Between “Bad   Behavior” and “Sensory Overload”






PUSD Facilitated 
Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Training for District Staff

Two half-day IEP Facilitated Stakeholder Trainings were offered on Tuesday, August 21st. The Kottinger training room was filled both sessions with teachers, administrators, district leaders, psychologist, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and other support staff. Dr. Joyce Little, from www.Key2Ed.com  presented on the rationale and process of a Facilitated IEP; how to be an effective participant and team member; how to set a meeting up for success from the onset; roles and responsibilities of all team members; preventative measures; effective communication strategies; as well as, pre-and post-meeting success strategies. A survey is being conducted of attendees for more specific feedback; however, initial responses from many staff leaving the training were positive with some staff seeking additional more in-depth training.





Exciting news! The City of Pleasanton is considering building an inclusive playground. Conversations have just started and the city is seeking direct input from the community members whose families would benefit from an inclusive playground. Please let the City know how an inclusive playground can benefit all families by emailing the following individuals at the Parks and Recreation Commission:

Heidi Murphy

Terry Snyder


Email The Hanger

A Welcome Back Letter from the Director of Special Education




'Every child deserves the chance to achieve literacy and become fully educated. Competence must be presumed. Whenever possible, autistic children should be included in regular classes and not, as DJ has put it, in "segregated classes of easy lessons."'

“Deej is the best film on autism I’ve ever seen. So much of DJ’s experience resonates deeply with me; it feels authentic from start to finish. Deej is an important film for anyone who wants to understand autistic lives.”
Brent White

Brent White
Adult Transition Program Director,
Ala Costa Centers, Berkeley, CA



To become an SNC member, click anywhere on the flyer!

To download Flyer:     English

A Warm Welcome to Our
New Special Ed Director!

June 12, 2018

Dear Site Administrators, Special Education Teachers, Instructional Assistants and SPED support staff,

During the Board meeting tonight, Mary Jude Doerpinghaus, was approved to serve as our Director of Special Education.  Please join me in welcoming Ms. Doerpinghaus to PUSD, the Special Education department and to the Leadership team.

Ms. Doerpinghaus joins us from the San Carlos School District where she is currently serving as the Interim Superintendent.  Over the last 10 years in San Carlos, she also served as the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Director of Student and Educational Services, Director of Special Education, and Coordinator of Special Education.  In the Palo Alto Unified School District, Ms. Doerpinghaus served as a speech-language pathologist for approximately 11 years.  I anticipate that Ms. Doerpinghaus will officially join the district on July 1. 

I want to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to our Interim Director, Doris Kwok, and our Acting Assistant Director, Emily Knaggs.  Ms. Kwok and Ms. Knaggs have both provided exceptional leadership to the special education department during this year of transitions.  Many thanks to both of these outstanding educators.  

Please feel free to forward this email to your student’s parents/guardians, so they are informed of our personnel changes.  I will also ask Patrick Gannon to send out a communication to our Pleasanton community regarding the appointment of Mary Jude Doerpinghaus.

I hope you enjoy your summer break! 

Ed Diolazo
Assistant Superintendent 
Student Support Services
Pleasanton Unified School District

Ryan's Poem

Just because I have Autism, please don’t stereotype me.

I have Autism and that makes me different.

It does not make me stupid.

It does not make me weird.

Because I have Autism, I have Superpowers.

I can memorize TV and movie lines.

I can remember lots of things like the name of every kid at my Middle School.

I have great eyesight.

I can tell the difference between a Cessna and Beechcraft airplane 
when they are high in the sky. 

I can also tell the difference just by hearing the engine.

Autism makes it hard for me to keep track of things like homework.

It makes it hard for me to talk to other kids and 
sometimes I don’t know what to say.

I am a regular guy who wants to make friends.

I am just a regular guy who has Autism.


To learn more, click anywhere on the program flyer.


Contact the Special Needs Committee:

      SNC Events      

Please check back often as we will be adding new events when they are confirmed!

August 20
General Meeting
Kottinger Room

September 5
Welcome Back Families of Students with IEPs and 504 Plans

September 13
General Meeting
Bernal Room

September 24-28
Donlon Elementary
Ability Awareness Week

October 3 (New!)
IEPs and 504s–The Basics and Beyond

October 11
General Meeting
District Board Room

November 5-9
Vintage Hills Elementary
Ability Awareness Week

November  8   7 
(New Date & Time!)
General Meeting
9:30-11:30 a.m.
Kottinger Room

December 5 (New!)
SNC FREE Parent Event
Sibling Panel

December 13
General Meeting
Kottinger Room

January 10
General Meeting
Kottinger Room

January 23 (New!)
Do You Have Concerns About ESY? Seeking Parent Feedback & Suggestions

January 28-February 1
Walnut Grove Elementary
Ability Awareness Week

February 14
General Meeting
Kottinger Room

March 14
General Meeting
Kottinger Room

April 9 (Tuesday)
General Meeting
Kottinger Room

May 9
General Meeting
Bernal Room

Join SNC!


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