Special Education Support
The term “special education” means specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. At no cost to parents, Special Education provides additional services, support, programs, specialized placements or environments to ensure that all students’ educational needs are met. Support and services are provided in the least restrictive environment and the special Education curriculum addresses the Texas Essential Knowledge and skills (TEKS) mandated by the state for all students in Texas. An Admission, Review and Dismissal Committee (ARDC) or (ARD) individualizes the specific curriculum objectives, instructional accommodations, mastery level and location of services for each student based on the impact of the student's disability on his/her ability to progress in the state curriculum.
What is Special Education?
The term “special education” means specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. At no cost to parents, Special Education provides additional services, support, programs, specialized placements or environments to ensure that all students’ educational needs are met.
Support and services are provided in the least restrictive environment and the special Education curriculum addresses the Texas Essential Knowledge and skills (TEKS) mandated by the state for all students in Texas. An Admission, Review and Dismissal Committee (ARDC) or (ARD) individualizes the specific curriculum objectives, instructional accommodations, mastery level and location of services for each student based on the impact of the student's disability on his/her ability to progress in the state curriculum.
Click on any of the following topics to be linked directly to more information on the topic.
- Parent Rights Documents
- Referral and Identification
- Resources and Useful Links
- Qualifying Disabilities
- Special Education Tools for Teachers
- Special Education Transition Services
- Special Education Transition Toolbox
The success of every child is important to University of Texas – University Charter School. When students are unable to master the skills and concepts of the grade level curriculum within the classroom setting, teachers or parents may refer the student to the campus support team. This team is available on every campus and includes teachers, administrators, and other professionals as needed to address concerns regarding the educational performance of an individual student. The purpose of this team is to identify the possible causes of the student’s failure, develop interventions to address the problem and to collect data on the results of the intervention.
Prior to referral for an evaluation for Special Education services, the campus staff will implement a variety of instructional supports through the General Education program to help the student. If the student fails to respond to this additional assistance then a referral to other programs may be appropriate. (I.e. Special Education, Dyslexia services, §504)
Parents may make a request for an evaluation for eligibility for Special Education at any time. It is recommended that parents work with the campus support team to determine the best approach to take with their child. Contact your child’s teacher, counselor or principal for information about this resource.
A student who has been determined by a licensed physician to have a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance including impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g. poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc.) and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations, fractures, burns etc. that cause contractures).
Other Health Impairment
A student who has been determined by a licensed physician to have limited strength, vitality or alertness, due to chronic or acute health problems such as a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, or diabetes that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
A student that has been determined to have a serious hearing loss even after corrective medical treatment or use of amplification adversely affects a child’s educational performance. This determination shall have been made by an ontological examination performed by an otologist, or, with documentation that an otologist is not reasonably available, by a licensed medical doctor. An audiological evaluation by a certified audiologist shall also be conducted. This evaluation shall include a description of the implications of the hearing loss for the student’s hearing in a variety of circumstances with or without recommended amplification.
A student who has a visual impairment is one who:
- Has been determined by a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist to have no vision or to have a serious visual loss after correction adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The visual loss should be stated in exact measures of visual field and corrected visual acuity at distance and near in each eye. The report should also include prognosis whenever possible. If exact measures cannot be obtained, the eye specialist must so state and give best estimates.
- Has been determined by the following assessments to have a need for special services:
- A functional vision evaluation by a professional certified in the education of students with visual impairments or a certified orientation and mobility instructor. The evaluation must include the performance of tasks in a variety of environments requiring the use of both near and distance vision and recommendations concerning the need for a clinical low vision evaluation and an orientation and mobility evaluation.
- A learning media assessment by a professional certified in the education of students with visual impairments. The assessment must include recommendations concerning which specific visual, tactual, and/or auditory learning media are appropriate for the student and whether or not there is a need for ongoing assessment in this area.
- Is functionally blind if, based on the preceding assessments, the student will use tactual media (which includes Braille) as a primary tool for learning to be able to communicate in both reading and writing at the same level of proficiency as other students of comparable ability.
A student who has a combination of severe hearing and visual losses after best correction and is determined to be eligible as auditory impaired and as visually impaired according to the specific eligibility criteria for each of these disabilities. If an eligible student with a visual impairment has a suspected hearing loss that cannot be demonstrated conclusively, and if a speech/language evaluation performed by a certified speech and hearing therapist, certified speech and language therapist, or licensed speech language pathologist indicates there is no speech at an age when speech would normally be expected, the student may be eligible for services as deaf-blind.
A student who has been determined to be functioning two or more standard deviations below the mean on individually administered scales of verbal ability, and either performance or nonverbal ability, and who concurrently exhibits deficits in adaptive behavior.
A student exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s performance:
- An inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors;
- An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
- Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances
- A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
- A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
A student with an emotional disturbance is one who has been determined to meet the criteria as defined in 34 CFR 300.7(b)(9). The team’s written report of evaluation shall include specific recommendations for behavior management.
A student with a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations. This includes:
A student with a learning disability is one who has been determined by a multidisciplinary assessment team to meet the criteria as defined in 34 CFR,§300.7(b)(10), and in whom the team has determined whether a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability exists in accordance with the provisions in 34CFR, §§300.540-300.543.
A severe discrepancy exists when the student’s assessed intellectual ability is above the mentally retarded range, but the student’s assessed educational achievement in areas specified in 34CFR, §300.541, is more than one standard deviation below the student’s intellectual ability.
If the multidisciplinary assessment team cannot establish the existence of a severe discrepancy in accordance with paragraph (2) of this subsection because of the lack of appropriate assessment instruments, or if the student does not meet the criteria in paragraph (2) of this subsection but the team believes a severe discrepancy exists, the team must document in its written report the areas identified under paragraph (2) of this subsection and the basis for determining that the student has a severe discrepancy. The report shall include a statement of the degree of the discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement.
A student who has been determined by a certified speech and hearing therapist, certified speech and language therapist, or licensed speech language pathologist to meet the criteria as defined in 34 CFR, §300.7(b)(11) as having a disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment that adversely affects the child’s educational performance.
A student with multiple disabilities is one who has a combination of disabilities included in this section and who meets all of the following conditions:
- The student’s disability is expected to continue indefinitely. The disabilities severely impaired performance in two or more of the following areas:
- psycho-motor skills
- self-care skills
- social and emotional development
- Students who have more than one of the disabilities defined in this section but who do not meet the criteria in paragraph one of this subsection shall not be classified or reported as having multiple disabilities.
Non Categorical Disability
A student age 3-5 experiencing developmental delays as defined by the State and as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in one or more of the following areas and who needs special education and related services.
- physical development
- cognitive development
- communication development
- social or emotional development
- adaptive development
A student with evidences the criteria for autism as stated in 34 CFR, §300.7(b)(1) including significantly affected verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. The term does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has a serious emotional disturbance. Students with pervasive developmental disorders are included under this category. The team’s written report of evaluation shall include specific recommendations for behavior management.
Traumatic Brain Injury
A student with traumatic brain injury is one who has been determined by a licensed physician to have an injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in total or partial functional disability and/or psychosocial impairment or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or brain injuries induced by birth trauma.
Assessment to determine educational need is performed by district personnel qualified to assess those areas identified in 34 CFR, §300.7(b)(12), that are suspected to adversely affect the student’s educational performance.
You can access the most recent Parent Rights (Procedural Safeguards) Document and A Guide to the ARD Process from the Texas Education Agency at the following link:
Parent Right Documents
Esped is a web-based program that allows authorized teachers and staff to create individualized educational plans (goals and objectives) for students who receive special education services. Teachers and staff must have a log in and password to enter this program.
Transition services mean a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability that:
- Is designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the student with a disability to facilitate the student’s movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment); continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;
- Is based on the individual student’s needs, taking into account the student’s strengths, preferences, and interests; and
- Includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.
OSCAR – Internet based assessment developed by the Texas Workforce Commission Career Development Resources. Features built in ONet database information, labor market information, and inventories. This assessment is also linked to job search activities in Texas.
- Learn More Career Resource Center – Indiana’s career exploration inventories for K-12.
Citibank College Search - A website that allows you to search and compare colleges based on traits that you specify.
Independent Living Assessments:
Ansell-Casey Life Skills Assessment – Broad assessment based on an individual’s developmental age.
College Admissions: See Post-secondary Education/Training
TEXAS SPECIFIC RESOURCES
- Texas 211 – Database for finding any and every kind of social service help in TX.
- Children’s Educational Opportunities Foundation – Website that provides information regarding educational opportunities in the Austin area. Information can be found regarding charter schools, public schools, private schools and homeschooling.
DISABILITY SPECIFIC RESOURCES
- SERI Mental Retardation Resources – Website provides numerous links to sites of interest for professionals, family members and others interested in working with individuals with mental retardation.
- Texas Autism Advocacy – Link to a Texas non-profit organization that provides information and resource related to Autism.
- Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support (OASIS) – Terrific resource for individuals with AS, their families and professionals.
- The ARC of Texas - A nonprofit, volunteer organization in Texas committed to creating opportunities for people with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities to be included in their communities and to make the choices which affect their lives. The Arc supports families,advances public policies, provides training programs, and builds a statewide network of advocates.
Emotional Disturbances/Behavioral Disorders:
Transition to Independence Process – Website with transition planning resources dedicated for individuals with disabilities related to emotional disturbances and/or behavioral disorders.
Note: Be sure to check the “State Specific Resources” section for guardianship information for individuals residing outside of Texas. Guardianship procedures and legality vary from state to state.
- Texas Guardianship Association – Texas non-profit organization dedicated to providing education and options regarding guardianship in Texas.
- National Guardianship Association – This is a simple website that is a good place to start for base knowledge related to guardianship.
College Board – Website that assists individuals with information regarding planning, finding, applying and paying for college. Website includes information regarding ACT and SAT testing, including sample tests and preparation tools.
Texas Work Prep – This is a website built to manage the delivery of search content and resources and to facilitate “anytime, anywhere” access to learning more about getting, and keeping the job of your choice. Texas Work Prep contains three online courses (Job Hunter’s Guide, Succeed at Work and Your Next Job). Each web course is designed to help job seekers master an effective job search process.
- Texas 211 – Database for finding any and every kind of social service help in TX.
- USA 211 – Search for help using keywords throughout the USA.
- State Offices of Vocational Rehabilitation - This site provides direct contact information for vocational rehabilitation
in each state.
- Points of Light – Bountiful resource for everything you want to know about volunteering.
- Hands On Central Texas
- Lists over 600 volunteer opportunities
- Create your own profile and be notified when a match is found.
- Texas 211 - This searchable database is the state’s central point for information and communication for people needing or wanting to give help.
- USA 211 – Search for help using keywords throughout the USA.
CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION
- Career Clusters - Career Clusters — a career-focused strategy for Career Technical Education that supports workforce preparation, economic development and educational reform.
- Achieve Texas - Education initiative designed to prepare all students for a lifetime of success by preparing them for secondary and post-secondary opportunities, career preparation and advancement, meaningful work and active citizenship.
- Career Information Hot line – Call 1-800-822-PLAN for FREE information on careers, colleges and universities, labor market statistics, and counselor packets.
- Vocational Information Clearinghouse – The site contains a plethora of information to support instruction in your classrooms!
Children’s Educational Opportunities Foundation – Website that provides information regarding educational opportunities in the Austin area. Information can be found regarding charter schools, public schools, private schools and homeschooling.
- Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Special Education Process summarizes all the state and federal requirements for special education. You may review district policies relating to special education by entering UT-UCS county district number 227-806 on the main page. The district’s policies are listed at the top each related page.
- Legal Framework Resource Center provides a variety of information pertaining to special education.
- Texas Parent to Parent is a nonprofit organization that was created by parents for families of children with disabilities, chronic illness and other special needs throughout the state of Texas. Texas Parent to Parent offers families a place to access information and resources, a one-on-one match with a trained Supporting Parent Volunteer, someone to call or email when you just need to hear a friendly voice, a bit of encouragement, or help figuring out the next step in your journey of raising a child with a disability or special need.
- Council for Exceptional Children is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted.
- Center for Applied Special Technology is a nonprofit organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals, especially those with disabilities, through the research and development of innovative, technology-based educational resources and strategies.
- Special Education Resources on the Internet is a collection of Internet accessible information resources of interest to those involved in the fields related to Special
- Texas Education Agency website for Special Education provides specific information on Special Education in Texas.
- Education. This collection exists in order to make on-line Special Education resources more easily and readily available in one location.
- Intervention Central is a website featuring free student intervention ideas.
|Mandy Flores MA, LSSP, NCSP||Lead Special Education Coordinator (E-mail)|
|Autumn Leal-Shopp MA, LSSP, NCSP||Lead Special Education Coordinator (E-mail)|
|Jerri Oreson||Sr Admin Asst/ Webmaster (E-mail)|
|Mark Davis||Behavioral Specialist (E-mail)|
|Joan Hegarty Givens||Behavioral Specialist (E-mail)|