Special Education Scoop

November 2021

In this Edition

Early Childhood Corner

Speech Spot

Family Resource

Creating a Network of Support

Assistive Technology News

How to Save for the Future Video

Autism Resources

Resources

Important Dates

Early Childhood Corner

Social Emotional Learning is an important part of a child's educational experience, and in ECSE we are using Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey. Conscious Discipline is not only a social emotional program, it also is a positive classroom management system in which rituals and routines are created within the school family. All teachers have been trained this school year on how to implement Conscious Discipline.


For more information, please visit the Conscious Discipline website: www.consciousdiscipline.com. Here you can also sign up for free resources you can use at home.


Below is a free resource they provide on breathing strategies to help calm when upset. It is good to practice deep breathing on a daily basis, when not in upset, to know how to do it when you or your child are upset.

Speech Spot

Wearing masks presents new challenges for everyone but especially people with hearing loss or communication problems. Here are some tips for communicating while wearing a mask or physical distancing:


  • Make sure you have your communication partner’s attention.
  • Face your partner directly, and make sure nothing is blocking your view.
  • Talk a little louder.
  • Talk a little slower.
  • Use your hands and your body language.
  • Ask your partner if they understood you; if not, say it a different way or write it down.
  • Move to a quiet place if you can.
  • If you’re talking with someone new, ask if there’s anything you can do to make communication easier for both of you.


Please visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association webpage to read the full article about Communicating Effectively While Wearing Masks and Physical Distancing.

Family Resource


The Texas CAN project is: Dedicated to raising awareness of the limitless potential of students with significant cognitive disabilities. It’s all about presuming competence and finding the most appropriate supports to provide connection, access, and increased opportunities.


Our mission is to put effective, evidence-based tools and strategies into the hands of teachers, and families, to help them on their journey.


Visit their site for more information.



https://txcan.tea.texas.gov/

Creating a Network of Support

Working with the school system, outside service providers for students with disability, resources in the community for everyone, your own natural support of family and friends, and prospective adult service providers can be exhausting. It is important to not go it alone whether bouncing ideas of a friend or of family members or getting on interest lists, email listservs, and asking for case management.


Parent support agencies in the area that can help provide you information, guidance, and connections to support groups:

Texas Parent to Parent

VELA Families

Disability Rights of Texas

http://www.navigatelifetexas.org

www.texasprojectfirst.org

https://www.parentcenterhub.org/awareness/


If you feel like your student may need assistance now or transitioning to adulthood, it is so important that your student’s name be put on the child/adult medicaid waiver interest list. Below is a link that explains each waiver and has phone numbers to call. Make sure that once your student is on the interest list that you answer any inquiries about still wanting to be on the interest list and you inform them if you have a change of address.

Adult Medicaid Waiver Programs

Medicaid Waiver Flyer

Medicaid Waiver Google Doc (Spanish, English, and directions to obtain Vietnamese Interpreter)


Knowledge is power. Here are some resources on learning what transition means for students with disabilities of all ages

Texas Transition and Employment Guide

Texas Transition and Employment Guide Spanish

Nationwide Resource Links for Transition

Transition in the IEP


Make sure whatever agencies or providers you work with value communication and transparency. The Austin area has an abundance of community resources for people with disabilities. Ask questions about whether your student might need the services an agency provides. Agencies should always be looking to grow your student’s independence and interdependence within groups.


Below is a link to our regional destination life website. It contains agencies that are active in the Pflugerville greater area. Call or contact these agencies to get on email lists, and save the most useful websites to continue to look for updates and answers to your questions.

https://sites.google.com/leanderisd.org/destinationlifetransitionfair/home (you may need to use google search engine) We will again have the regional transition fair “Destination Life” in March 2022. Last year’s event was virtual. It is undecided whether the transition fair will be virtual, in person or a hybrid event which features virtual and in person options.


The Pflugerville area also has an abundance of Postsecondary options to continue learning. Even though services may look different than they did in public school, colleges have to accommodate for students because of the ADA laws. Also there are many programs that serve students with disabilities to help them get jobs and be trained for industry. Use the links below and the Destination Life website to gather information on some of these postsecondary opportunities.

Information on Student Accessibility Services for Colleges/Universities


It is important to know about guardianship and alternatives to guardianship when your student becomes 17. Guardianship is a complicated process. We will discuss guardianship more thoroughly in the Spring edition of Newsletter, and here are some links to help you and your student start making sense of it.

Making my Own Choices: A guide to Supportive Decision Making

Alternatives to Guardianship

Texas Guide to Adult Guardianship


It is important to develop self determination skills in your students. We have discussed self determination in articles over the past few years. One of the most important self determination skills is decision-making. I have included a few links and a career exploration site to help your student to start looking at their choices.

https://www.imdetermined.org

Self Advocacy Scenario

https://www.mynextmove.org/


Lastly, take advantage of general education services for college and career readiness, community options, and social/recreation services in the area. All students should have access to this information and most should have availability to all people regardless of abilities.


Please contact District Transition Coordinator for websites, supports, and resources at Christopher.Visness@pfisd.net or 512-594-0177

Assistive Technology is where it is @

Families,


Did you know that everyday I use Assistive Technology in my job? Grammarly extension/app helps me with my grammar, speech to text helps me type notes to remember later, my vibrating alarm helps me not oversleep, my zoomed text helps when I do not wear my glasses are just a few of the ways I am supported in my daily life by Assistive Technology. When people discuss Assistive Technology in your ARD meetings, do not think that it is handicapping or impairing your student more, but rather supporting their current and future needs to make your student have access to their learning, classroom design, and helping them have access to all the things they may need for a successful day.


If you have questions about your student's current equipment or want to discuss anything with Assistive Technology, please reach out to me. Email-Kameron.davis@pfisd.net or 512-594-0181

What is new in Assistive Technology?

Assistive Technology Industry Association is continuing their FREE trainings for families and educators!


Unlimited Access Code for all education, support staff, and parents serving students in Texas.


NEW Code for 9/1/21 – 8/31/22: 22INCLUSIONTXPD


These online education programs include live and recorded versions by national experts on a variety of topics across the spectrum of the assistive technology industry sectors. Online courses are 60 and 90 minutes in length.

How to get access to training:


  1. Set-up account-www.atia.org
  2. Look through Learning Catalog
  3. Select course
  4. Go to cart when courses have been added (each course shows a specific $ amount)
  5. Apply Promo Code-22INCLUSIONTXPD
  6. Launch course when you have time for learning 😊


Just a few classes included: Workforce-Tips & Tools for New Grads, AAC (Augmentative & Alternative Communication) for Non-Speech Language Pathologist, Technologies to Support Mental Health, and more specifically for need or age range.


Other Free Webinars, Websites, & YouTube Channels we are loving this month:

https://www.ablenetinc.com/ablenet-university-live-webinars/

https://knowbility.org/programs/k12-digital-accessibility/toolkit-tuesdays
How to Save for the Future with Zach Anner and ABLE for All

Autism Resources

This link has a video library from Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism Training of expert interviews, teacher interviews, strategies in action and parent interviews.

https://www.txautism.net/videos

Texas A&M Autism Resources for Families and Educators

The Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University would like to offer training at no cost to Texas parents and caregivers of children up to age 22 with core features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Parents and caregivers will learn how to improve their child's communication skills. This service is provided by a grant project entitled Coach to Communicate (C2C), sponsored by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.


The training includes a 1-hour self-paced webinar that teaches behavioral strategies to increase communication use in children with ASD. Once complete, parents can choose to be paired with a coach for a more intensive 12-week training specific to their child’s communication needs (again, at no cost to parents). Coaching is offered in English and Spanish.


See the attached flyers for more information.


This is a project affiliated with the Center on Disability and Development. This work was supported in whole or part by grants from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Autism Grant Program (Coach to Communicate (C2C): Partnering to Improve Communication for Individuals with Autism. Awards #17108, 20465). The opinions and conclusions expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policy of the THECB.

Important Dates

October 12 - December 17, 2021 - 2nd Nine Weeks

November 22-26, 2021 - Thanksgiving Break

December 17, 2021 - District Early Release

December 20-31, 2021 - Winter Break

January 3, 2022 - Staff Development/Student Holiday

January 4, 2022 - Staff Work Day/Student Holiday