Special Programs & Services News

March 2022

Message from the Team:

Hello families! March is a great time to think through transition for your child. Our team provides many resources for families and our campuses to support in these important discussions. The goal for transition for our students is to capitalize on the collaboration between the student, family and staff to guide not only academics, but also develop additional skills that are important for a student’s plan for a meaningful future. We are very passionate about including student voice in their ARD and 504 meetings...what better way than to have them share about their hopes and dreams for their future? I encourage you to review information from our recent parent education night about student involvement in their meeting. Also, on our transition website you will find information on the path to graduation, post-secondary life, self-determination skills and 18+ services. I hope you find these resources beneficial as we partner to support each student!

Kimberly Waltmon

Executive Director of Special Programs and Services

In This Issue

The March Newsletter contains information about Parent Education Events, Self- Determination, Post-Secondary Resources, Dyslexia Handbook, Educational Diagnosticians Week, and Important Notes.

Mark Your Calendars!

Be sure to save the dates for our upcoming meetings! We will send out weekly reminders in our Special Programs Remind classes.

  • Tuesday, March 8th - Down Syndrome Family Support Group

  • Wednesday, March 23rd - Parent Workshop Night

  • Wednesday, March 30th - Autism Parent Training

  • Friday, April 1st - Coffee Chat

  • Wednesday, April 6th - AAC Family Chat

You are now able to see past and upcoming parent night presentations on LISD Special Programs Webpage under the Leander Parent Support Meetings Tab!

Preparing for Post-Secondary Education

For many of our students, graduation is right around the corner! Is your student interested in pursuing post-secondary education? Are you worried about the financial stress? How is your child going to access their accommodations? Here are some resources that can aid in your preparation for your child's postsecondary education:

Self-Determination Skill of the Month

March’s Self-Determination Skill of the Month is Knowledge of Self. This skill focuses on a person knowing about him or herself and applying that awareness to make effective choices. During January’s Parent Education Event on Student Involvement in Their Meetings, we highlighted the benefits of student’s being aware of their disability. Having these conversations frequently can help your child become more confident in discussing their strengths, preferences, and needs.

A few of our families recommended some great tools to help you and your child understand their disability. Here are some of the recommendations:

View the poster of the month to learn how you can incorporate the knowledge of self skill in your home. You can also visit our Self-Determination page for more information.

Summer Camp Guide

The 2022 Summer Camp Guide for Students with Special Needs is here! This guide is filled with summer and year round programs located in the surrounding areas. If you have any questions, please contact the program directly.

English l Spanish

Department Highlight

Texas Educational Diagnosticians’ Week March 7-11, 2022

Leander ISD salutes our outstanding Educational Diagnosticians during Texas Educational Diagnosticians’ Week! Educational Diagnosticians work closely with educators, administrators and parents to ensure that students are evaluated, identified and provided with an appropriate and challenging individualized educational plan. They are a backbone of our evaluation team of SLPs, LSSPs, OTs and PTs and are often the ones responsible for pulling the pieces of a comprehensive evaluation together in order to help support thorough recommendations.

Educational Diagnosticians undergo specialized training to use academic and psychological tests to isolate factors that could enhance students’ performance in the classroom. These professionals help provide the next generation of leaders with the knowledge and skills that are the building blocks of lifelong excellence by developing and recommending teaching strategies and materials.

Currently, our evaluation team consists of 21 Educational Diagnosticians. To date, the total number of students receiving special education services in Leander ISD is 5,860. An evaluation team member was involved with the initiation of services as well as the continuation of services for these identified students. Thank you to these wonderful staff members who work hard every day to help our students!

Important Notes

Updated Dyslexia Handbook

TEA has published the latest version of the Texas Dyslexia Handbook, Updated 2021 (appendices and reference sections will be updated in the future). The handbook contains guidelines for school districts to follow as they identify and provide services for students with dyslexia. In addition, information regarding the state's dyslexia statutes and their relation to various federal laws are included. The main change to the 2021 Dyslexia Handbook is in the area of evaluation. All dyslexia and dysgraphia evaluations have moved to a single pathway approach for identification under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Whenever it is suspected that a student has dyslexia or a related disorder and may need dyslexia intervention services, campuses must seek parental consent for a Full Individual Initial Evaluation (FIIE), and follow all procedures as outlined in IDEA. This new single pathway approach has an official effective date of February 10, 2022.

Accessing 18+ Services

There has been a recent revision to the Texas Education Agency Commissioner’s rules concerning eligibility to continue or return for Special Education Transition Services. This revision to Texas Administrative Code 89.1070 went into effect in March of 2021. The change focuses on students that are receiving special education services that have satisfactorily completed all credit requirements for graduation but failed three or more required End of Course assessments. If the Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Committee determined that passing these End of Course assessments was not necessary for graduation, students will now fall into Texas Administrative Code 89.1070 Subsection (b)(2). Students that meet this criteria are now eligible to continue or return for special education transition services through the age of 22 years old. These services could include CTE courses, 18+ Transition Services or other services depending on the needs of the individual as determined by their ARD Committee.

World Hearing Day - March 3rd

This Year’s World Hearing Day is focusing on the theme: To Hear for Life, Listen with Care. The purpose of World Hearing Day is to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care across the world. Check out their website to view their tools on safe listening.

World Down Syndrome Day is March 21st!

March 21st was selected as World Down Syndrome Day to signify the uniqueness of the triplication of the 21st chromosome which leads to Down Syndrome. Our local Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas (DSACT) has a calendar full of events to raise awareness and celebrate our individuals with Down Syndrome.