Special Needs Education in Oakland and beyond

I have an 18-month-old daughter with a rare genetic syndrome, global delays, and severe special needs (both intellectual and physical disabilities). We are getting Regional Center in-home therapy now but I am looking ahead to the transition to OUSD. To be honest, I'm dreading it. I'm just getting started and could be wrong — but based on what I've seen so far, the schools don't seem set up to fully accommodate a child with severe disabilities. 

Does anyone have a sense of the full spectrum of daycare/preschool and elementary options — public, charter, and private? I am looking for innovative options like Hope Technology in Redwood City, where both my (typical) son and daughter could go. Or we would be willing to move to a neighboring district with better public options. My son is currently in K. 

Parent Replies

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OUSD accommodates kids with severe disabilities either in self-contained classrooms scattered across the district (though often not at the most in-demand schools due to space) or in nonpublic schools paid for by the District. The Regional Center may be able to give you a sense of where your daughter's needs fall on this spectrum and what you might expect if you enter OUSD. If your son is happy in K, I'd probably wait at least until your daughter is three and the handoff happens to see how that goes. We know several families who've been pretty happy with the OUSD preschool program for moderate/severe needs, though experiences in elementary have varied. But after the IEP for preschool is set up, you should have a much clearer sense of what your options will be for elementary and beyond (and if it is determined that the OUSD preschool can't meet your daughter's needs, you'll have a better sense of next steps). Hopefully someone with firsthand experience with the process will weigh in too.