Special Programs & Services News

April 2021

Message from the Team:

The Special Programs team has been working collaboratively to establish systems and processes so we can continue to improve services for our students served in Special Education, Response to Intervention or through 504 plans. Our team has utilized continuous improvement tools to develop a shared vision in order to align our work. We are excited to communicate our updated department vision.

“Through collaboration with our students, families, staff, and community, the Special Programs Department will support each and every student on their path to a meaningful future by celebrating individual strengths, honoring voice and choice, and building independence.”

We look forward to meeting the needs of each and every student as we make this vision come alive in LISD!

Have a wonderful week!

Kimberly Waltmon

Executive Director of Special Programs & Services

April Parent Education Nights

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

April 1st - Autism Parent Support Group

April 7th - Down Syndrome Parent Support Group

April 13th - Parent Education Night - Workshop Night

April 15th - AAC Family Chat

April 27th - Parent Education Night - Response to Intervention (RTI)

April 28th - Autism Parent Education Course - Toilet Training

April 28th - Transition to Adulthood - Student Voice: Addressing topics critical for Adulthood

Autism Parent Education Course

Leander ISD applied for and received a TEA grant for Services to Students with Autism (ages 3-9) for the 2020-2021 school year. One component of the grant is to increase Parent Training opportunities in Leander ISD for parents of students receiving Early Structured Learning Environment (ESLE) services, as well as for other interested parents. Courses contain training content and other related parent education resources. Each month, new content is rolled out in an asynchronous format (on demand) at the beginning of the month. Families have an opportunity towards the end of the month to discuss the training materials and ask questions synchronously (live via Zoom). You do not have to complete the training to join in the monthly live sessions. All are welcome! Visit the Autism Parent Education site to look through training and resource materials.

Parent Workshops

LISD Special Programs team is hosting our first workshop series! This workshop will be an opportunity to explore the following programs: Occupational Therapy/ Physical Therapy, Speech and Language, Visual Impairment/Orientation and Mobility, and Assistive Technology. Each program will host their own breakout workshop session. In these sessions, your family will have the opportunity to learn about the programs, ask questions, and gain resources and tips you can use at home. Our first workshop night will take place April 13th from 6:30pm-7:30pm. Click here to view workshop details and RSVP.

Practicing Problem Solving Skills

Our Licensed Specialists in School Psychology (LSSPs) recently hosted a parent presentation titled Building Resilience in Children and Teens During Uncertain Times. During this presentation, the LSSPs discussed the importance of teaching and modeling problem solving skills. An activity that you can do at home to practice these skills are to outline some examples of problems that may occur at home. Choose problems of different sizes and discuss what feelings may be associated with those types of problems. This activity can help facilitate discussions and prepare your child to problem solve in the event that they encounter a problem at home or school. Feel free to use one of the downloads at the bottom of the newsletter.

Supporting Young Readers Resources

Our SRP team has created some great resources to help families support their young readers. Click on your child's grade level for fun and engaging ideas for April.


1st Grade

2nd and 3rd Grade

Free Resources

Opening Doors

Aggie ACHIEVE is having a free screening of the film Opening Doors to College on Thursday April 15th at 6:30pm! Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion on inclusive postsecondary programs in Texas. Click here to register for the event.

Route 66 Abilities Conference

Texas Parent to Parent is hosting a free virtual conference this year in lieu of their annual in-person conference. The Route 66 Abilities conference will be held on Saturday April 17th from 10am - 2pm. This is a great opportunity to learn about community resources and ways to advocate for your family. Click here to register and learn more about the sessions.

Navigating Mental Illness in College

NAMI Central Texas is hosting a free online webinar on April 14th at 7:30pm. The webinar will center around transitioning from High School to College for those who have a mental health condition. There will be a panel discussion featuring Mackenzie Ulam and Jaqueline Lugo (NAMI on Campus at UT) and Kelsey Lammy, MSW, (Longhorn Wellness Center). This is an opportunity to learn about resources, tips, and techniques for incoming college students on managing mental health in college. Click here to register for the event.

Student Highlights

Congratulations to the LISD students that competed in March's Braille Challenge! The Braille Challenge is an academic competition for students that are blind or visually impaired to practice their literacy skills! Our students had the opportunity to participate in 1 of 5 categories: reading comprehension, spelling, speed and accuracy, proofreading, and charts and graphs. Braille Challenge Finalists will be announced in June!

Department Highlight

We'd like to give a huge shout out to the Supplemental Readers Program Tech Committee, Jennifer Cowles, Patricia Simpson, Randi Hester, Anita Brunson and Heidi Dominguez. They have worked tirelessly to support our entire intervention team as we have added virtual instruction to our toolbox. Their support enabled team members to work collaboratively together to design and provide virtual instruction so that our services could still be provided to students learning at home. The Tech Committee’s enthusiasm, expertise and creative problem solving has been vital as we have worked to support students across the district this year. We appreciate you!

Important Notes

Texas Education Agency (TEA) has released updated versions of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards and the Parent's Guide to the Admission, Review and Dismissal Process. Both handbooks are currently available in English and Spanish. TEA is working on getting the books translated into other languages. You may click the links below to view and download copies of the official handbooks.

Friday, April 2nd marks World Autism Day, while the rest of April is known as World Autism Month! The purpose of World Autism month is to spread awareness and promote acceptance for students and adults with Autism. Visit Autism Acceptance to learn more about Autism and how your family can participate in raising awareness.

In case you missed the Destination Life Transition Fair and Conference, don’t fret! You can view the sessions here.