Special Programs & Services News

January 2021

Message from the Team:

Happy New Year LISD families!


We hope that you had a relaxing and safe holiday season. Our team is excited to have students back, both in-person and virtually, for the Spring semester! We know there are great things to come in 2021!

Each year in January, LISD celebrates School Board Appreciation Month. In our district we are fortunate to be led by a School Board that truly has our students' best interests at heart. We appreciate all of the LISD School Board Members and their dedication to student success. Please take a moment to thank our board for their time, advocacy and support for each and every student.


Thank you for your partnership and for allowing us to serve your amazing students!


Kimberly Waltmon

Exec. Director of Special Programs & Services

January Parent Education Nights

Special Programs & Services have upcoming Parent Education Nights for the month of January! Come learn with us! Please check your Remind accounts for invitations and RSVPs.


January 7th - Autism Family Support Group

January 12th - Parent Education Night - Understanding the ARD Process

January 20th - Transition to Adulthood Meeting

January 21st - AAC Family Chat

January 26th - Parent Education Night - Topic TBD

January 27th - Autism Parent Training Q&A

Parent Education Programming Feedback

We are seeking your feedback on the quality of our parent education programming. We want to get your input on topics for presentations and the timing of sessions to reach as many families as possible. Please take a moment to complete this survey by Friday January 22nd. It should take no more than 5 minutes.

Transition Services

In Leander ISD the goal of Transition Planning and Services is to graduate students to meaningful, sustainable lives regardless of their disability. Our system, from 3-22 years old, capitalizes on the collaboration between the student, family and staff to guide not only academics, but also develop the student's voice and self-determination skills that are important to their future. We invite you to explore the many areas of transition planning via the resources available on our website. Please join us on January 20th for the next Transition to Adulthood meeting. Be sure to check REMIND for the RSVP link.

Tips for Promoting Independence At Home

An important part of transition planning is to increase student independence. Check out these tips and resources for promoting independence at home.


1. Set reasonable daily goals for your child to do on their own

2. Provide choices - individual choice making fosters independence

3. Challenge your child

4. Avoid doing the tasks that you know your child can do independently

5. Promote communication (assistive technology, core board)

6. Encourage interaction with peers and social groups

7. Consider options for volunteering, and/or employment



You can also click the pictures and links below to access the following resources: chore checklist, grooming and hygiene checklist, and list of household chores that your child can participate in.

504 vs Special Education - What's the Difference ?

Leander ISD’s Special Programs Department includes staff that serves both students supported through Special Education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and students that receive accommodations and services under Section 504.


What is the difference between these two protections?

First, it’s helpful to understand that Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prevents discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Students served in special education under IDEA are also protected under this broader Section 504 law but receive an even greater layer of protections through the distinction of “specialized instruction” under the IDEA. Please see image to the left.


What are the qualification differences between Special Education and Section 504?

In order to qualify for Special Education services under the IDEA in the state of Texas, an Admission, Review, Dismissal Committee (ARD) deems if a student is eligible by meeting the following criteria: (1) having at least one of the thirteen disability criteria codes and (2) additionally displaying a need for specialized instruction.


Although all persons with a disability are protected against discrimination under Section 504, students who are able to compensate for their disability and therefore are able to access their education without accommodations may not qualify for a Section 504 plan. The example we often give is a person with a visual disability who can wear glasses to correct the disorder and navigate the school environment would not necessarily need an accommodation plan. In order to qualify for a Section 504 plan in the school setting, a committee of ”persons who are knowledgeable about the child, the meaning of the evaluation data, placement options, least restrictive environment requirements, and comparable facilities” determine whether the student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, which may or may not impact the student’s learning.


Click here to learn more about Section 504.