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School Districts for kids with Autism in Tulsa Area
Hello, my family and I are looking to move to the Tulsa area before the end of the year. We have 2 kids on the spectrum 7 years high functioning autism and 5 years old PDDNOS. We have had an excellent experince her in Chandler AZ with the school programs and services. We are concerned that the move will be hard enough on them with out adding a lack of services. Can anyone recromend the best school districts for those programs?
We are pretty flexible at the moment. Looking for job opputunites in the Tulsa area, we are looking for more west of Tulsa but are open to what will be best for the boys.
If you are looking at Tulsa and west, you are probably going to see the following districts:
Tulsa, Jenks, Mounds, Sand Springs, Sapulpa
I have a stepson who moved up the spectrum from severe non-verbal autism at 3 to PDDNOS at 12 with the help of several clinics, hospitals and his great and stupendous mother and sister. In the time I've been around, he's really only had 2 minor autistic moments (and coped well just counting to himself).My main advice is that you make it a point to add educational activities at home. My wife would NOT accept that her son would never read nor speak (diagnosis at 3) and worked on this constantly. Our best gains in the children's education came when we worked on geography, math and writing at home that was completely unrelated to the classroom work. My wife worked with her son on reading early on so that he now reads well but we still have to work on his comprehension and retension on things he doesn't find interesting.
Sapulpa and Mounds: I have no idea what they offer and do not have any co-workers living in the area to ask. I would say Sapulpa has better resources as they are a larger city but Mounds may have a very small class size for special education, which would be good.
Sand Springs: This was the first district he was in. They were supportive but I can't say he got much of an education. He wound up being homeschooled by his mom and was in and out of institutions. I think his autism was too severe at this point to really get some of the basics in a classroom setting.
Jenks: I am not in the Jenks district but do have coworkers here. I am negative about the district and feel it is basically run for athletics and high classroom achievers with foo'ball being king. My impression for special education and LD students is that they aren't expected to do much and aren't integrated into Jenks schools as a whole. This may be unfair as the entire district is slammed with parents trying everywhich way to get their kids into the district, which has the best test scores in the state.
Tulsa: As with any big city school district, it depends on what specific schools your child attends. We live in Midtown and have been fairly happy with the schools. Our children are integrated in with the other students and attend the usual assemblies, active in afterschool activities, ect. I think our issues come in that both children are in at least one or two LD classes and we can't find all the time needed to go further with their education.
From a special ed professor in Oklahoma who suggested union , bixby, or jenks. My realtor had mentioned two of her clients with special needs moved to jenks for their services. I am still trying to figured out what services they provide fr school age child. Since I've never had school age services (son is 3 with PDD - started non communication at diagnosis at 2.5 and has come so far it's great. ). I haven't gotten that far but we are looking either jenks or owasso. I have heard nothing it positive things about jenks in reference to special needs. Yes focus on athletics but it also came highly recommended with services. I was going to call the Tulsa autism network for more specifics. If you get any info please share and ill do the same.
We were very unhappy with Union. When my wife looked into their special ed rooms, she saw too many children (over 20) in the same room with little supervision unless they were severely handicaped. It appeared to her they were swamped with low functioning students so much so that the high functioning students basically did busy work and really didn't learn much. She kept homeschooling her son that year even though they lived in the Union district.
Her daughter did not fare much better. She has a hearing loss and the Union teacher was completely uninterested in assisting her with an FM system or making sure her hearing aid was in. Given this was 4th grade, I would have thought she would at least be moderatly interested. We think she lost ground at Union as she was on grade level in Sand Springs and in the LD groups across the board when she got transferred to Tulsa for 5th grade. She is still in LD for reading but doing 7th grade math as a 6th grader. It didn't make sense to me at first but her reading comprehension is poor and that's really the only reason she's there.
Considering how much Union threw a FIT when the Tulsa World published the last proficiency reports for Tulsa area districts, I would say that Union is more concerned with image rather than teaching students. TPS elementary test results dip | Tulsa World TPS and all other area districts include all students in their proficiency percentiles. Union, for many years prior, excluded certain LD and special ed students from the numbers which resulted in higher scores. This year, Tulsa World, included total enrollment into the Union district numbers and they dropped more in line with BA, a much larger district, than Jenks, their arch rival.
As Union now has a high poverty area in it's district (31st to 51st along US 169), they need to get very real about what their education provides and allowed classroom behavior. Sticking their head in the sand will get them in the hole that TPS was in for a very long time. Considering they are between BA, the better half of TPS and Bixby to the south, it may take them a long time to get out of any hole they go in due to competition.
Fantastic insight. I really appreciate this as I'm considering other areas. Soyuz have any insight on the schools north of Tulsa? Collinsville, skiatook, sperry, claremore, etc? I really want to live in a non cookie cutter house with some yard. Thanks.
I can speak in generalities for Claremore, Collinsville and Owasso but don't know much about their special education programs.
Claremore: This is the home of Will Rogers. I do not know much of anything about it but there is Rogers State University, so there is a smaller college atmosphere here. I do not know of anyone who commutes to Tulsa for work from here but I'm sure there are.
Owasso: Probably the closest thing to Jenks on the north side of I-244. There has been a lot of chain store growth in this area in the past few years along with the cookie cutter suburban housing that can be found there. The school district is well run from what I have heard and test scores are more like Jenks than TPS. I will caution you that many people in Owasso work for American Airlines so your property values will be directly influenced by how many people take early retirement or are laid off. If AA is acquired by US Air, I would expect that Owasso will have a housing crash unless another aircraft maintenance/manufacturer relocates to Tulsa to take advantage of the empty hangers. Given that Boeing just closed it's Long Beach and Witchita offices and moved them to OKC, it is a possibility but it won't be Boeing.
Collinsville: I would consider this to be an ex-urb (sp?) of Tulsa. The people I know living in Collinsville grew up in the town but work in Tulsa I have heard the schools are ok but this is more rural Oklahoma. This is not a cookie cutter development and most of the business' here are local and small. The big box stores are in nearby Owasso so you won't drive 20-30 minutes for a Starbucks fix.
Thanks and sorry for the mistypes. Seems my ipad had issues that day. Owasso and jenks are our two top runners right now. Did your stepson have any private services? From what I'm finding most services are in Tulsa/Broken Arrow and moving in Jenks would be the better option (yet more expensive).
Thanks for the info about Owasso and AA. I was aware of that and we are hoping that we can use that to our advantage when looking to purchase next summer.
I'm not sure what you mean by private services. He did get PT, OT, and speech both with IEP and privately. He also had a regular psychologist and psychiatrist. I don't know if you have any tribal affiliation but if you do, your son might be able to get some services for free through a tribe.
Sorry for the delay.
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