Austin ISD Special Education

Parent Communication Newsletter Issue #9, June 1, 2020

A Message from the Executive Director

Dear Special Education Parents,

Summer the break has started for students, teachers, parents, and campuses, but our work will continue on, as the AISD Special Education Department is still HERE to assist you!

The Parent Newsletter will continue every other week to provide you with learning activities, behavior strategies and awesome ideas to help support you and your child.

In addition to the newsletter, the parent dashboard will be updated with the latest news and information throughout the summer.

Stay Safe and Well!

Dr. Akweta Hickman

Executive Director of Special Education

Austin Independent School District


Estimados padres de educación especial:

El receso de verano ha comenzado para estudiantes, maestros, padres y esculas, pero nuestro trabajo continuará, ya que el Departamento de Educación Especial de AISD todavía está AQUÍ para ayudarlo.

El Boletín para padres continuará cada dos semanas para brindarle actividades de aprendizaje, estrategias de comportamiento e ideas increíbles para ayudarlo a usted y a su hijo/a.

Además del boletín informativo, el tablero de los padres se actualizará con las últimas noticias e información durante todo el verano.

Manténganse protegido,

Dra. Akweta Hickman

Directora Ejecutiva de Educación Especial

Distrito Escolar Independiente de Austin

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Autism and Wearing Face Masks / Autismo y uso de máscaras faciales

As we are adjusting to going out into our environment more and more, some children will have to become more adjusted and comfortable to wearing face masks in public. Many children and adults may not do well wearing a mask, possibly even refuse to wear one due to being sensitive to touch or how it feels. Parents can meet the challenge, here is how!

Dealing with fear

Remember that children with autism can make associations that we don’t even recognize. They may associate a Covid 19 mask with past negative experiences.

Some children are afraid of Halloween costumes or clowns or other situations where faces are covered. Superheros can be another problem. Either children love them or hate them.

Seeing their parents or other familiar people wearing masks can cause strong emotion and confusion.

If there is anything at all about those situations that a child doesn’t like, he may resist masks.

Things you can do

Dealing with strange and new fear is common for helping children with autism adjust. Here are some suggestions.

Look at the mask first

Just touch it. Hold it. Explore it so it isn’t a strange thing. Label it. See someone else wearing one. Put it on and take it off another person. Use a mask as a piece of “clothing” to put on a doll or a stuffed animal.

Make it fun

Make it a game. Pair putting on a mask with some giggles or tickles or whatever will make it fun or funny. Play peek-a-boo.

Give them choices

All masks don’t look alike or feel alike. There are the “classic” white institutional looking ones. But lots of people are doing home-made varieties. You need to have a mask that meets the medical/institutional requirements for safety. But given those requirements, use some creativity.

Create something the child will like

Can you decorate their mask? Use some fabric with a special character? Make it a favorite color? Write something on it?

Think about what makes a mask undesirable and change it. If elastic hurts, can you tie it instead? Can you change the size to make it more comfortable? Parents know what their children will be attracted to and comforted by.

Work up to it and build in rewards

All kids are different. But most of them will do a lot for a reward. You may need to create a step-by-step approach to get to your final goal.

Here’s an example for a very hesitant child:

•Touch it

•Hand it to Mom

•Hold it up to your face

•Put it on & take it off

•Put it on for 20 seconds


Some children need more steps and some need less. But be sure to use your most helpful reward system to let them know they are doing something good. For more information visit:

Hodgdon, L. Autism & Fear Wearing Masks. Retrieved from

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Behavior Resources / Recursos de Comportamiento

Using Positive Reinforcement to Improve Behavior / Recursos para el comportamiento Uso de refuerzo positivo para mejorar el comportamiento:

When your child misbehaves, rewards might be the last thing on your mind. But, positive reinforcement can be one of the most effective behavior modification techniques.

You can use positive reinforcement to encourage prosocial behaviors, like sharing or following directions. And, you can use it to prevent misbehavior, like hitting and rule violations. Positive reinforcement can also be an effective way to encourage your child to be responsible, motivate them to do chores, get along with their siblings, or complete their homework assignments without arguing.

To learn more information about positive reinforcement, Visit:

Cuando su hijo se porta mal, las recompensas pueden ser lo último en su mente. Pero el refuerzo positivo puede ser una de las técnicas más efectivas de modificación del comportamiento.
Puede utilizar el refuerzo positivo para fomentar comportamientos pro-sociales, como compartir o seguir instrucciones. Y, puede usarlo para evitar el mal comportamiento, como los golpes y el incumplimiento de las reglas. El refuerzo positivo también puede ser una forma efectiva de animar a su hijo a ser responsable, motivarlo a hacer tareas, a llevarse bien con sus hermanos o a completar sus tareas sin discutir.
Para obtener más información sobre el refuerzo positivo, visite:

Early Learning Resources / Recursos para el Aprendizaje Infantil

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Reading with your Child / Recursos para el aprendizaje temprano Leyendo a su hijo:

Reading Tips For Children with Special Needs

We know that when parents read aloud with their children regularly, children’s vocabulary increases and they are more prepared for kindergarten. But for children with special needs or disabilities, reading together is not always so simple. The type of story, its illustrations, how the pages feel, or the way the story is told make a big difference.

Consejos de lectura para niños con necesidades especiales
Sabemos que cuando los padres leen en voz alta con sus hijos regularmente, el vocabulario de los niños aumenta y están más preparados para el jardín de infancia. Pero para los niños con necesidades especiales o discapacidades, leer juntos no siempre es tan simple. El tipo de historia, sus ilustraciones, cómo se sienten las páginas, o la forma en que se cuenta la historia hacen una gran diferencia.

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Austin ISD Community Resources / Recurso Autinés para la Comunidad del AISD

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Austin ISD Meal Distribution

This summer, Austin ISD will provide meals to any child under the age of 19 at more than 70 locations throughout Austin. Both breakfast and lunch will be offered Monday through Friday at the curbside and bus stop meal sites established during campus closures due to COVID-19 precautions. Weekend meal packs will be served each Friday, providing breakfast and lunch meals for Saturday and Sunday.
Meals are FREE and no registration or identification is needed. Children may show up at any participating site to receive a healthy meal.

Caregiver meals are available for adults accompanying children or with documentation of the children for which they are picking up the meals, through June.

Food is available until it runs out. Meal locations, dates and times are subject to change.
Meals will not be served while the district is closed July 6-10.

Beginning May 29, families may view meal sites, times and more information at
(link in profile)
----- Este verano, Austin ISD proporcionará comidas a todos los niños menores de 19 años en más de 70 ubicaciones en todo Austin. Tanto el desayuno como el almuerzo se ofrecerán de lunes a viernes en los sitios de entrega de comidas desde la banqueta y en la parada de autobús establecidos durante el cierre del campus debido a la COVID-19. Los paquetes de comidas de fin de semana se servirán todos los viernes proporcionando desayunos y almuerzos para el sábado y domingo.

Las comidas son GRATUITAS y no se necesita registro ni identificación. Los niños pueden presentarse en cualquier sitio participante para recibir una comida saludable.

Las comidas para el cuidador están disponibles para adultos que acompañan a los niños o con documentación de los niños para los que recogen las comidas, hasta junio.

La comida está disponible hasta que se agote. Las ubicaciones para la distribución de comidas, las fechas y los horarios están sujetos a cambios.

No se servirán comidas mientras el distrito esté cerrado del 6 al 10 de julio.

A partir del 29 de mayo, las familias pueden ver los sitios de comidas, horarios y más información en
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Please Visit our Parent Dashboard!

On the Parent Dashboard, you will find the newest information about what is happening with your child's program. You will also find links to resources, materials, and the ability to provide us feedback.

Link to the English Dashboard is here.

En la pantalla de padres encontrará la información más reciente sobre lo que está sucediendo con el programa de su hijo/a. También verá enlaces para recursos, materiales y la opción de darnos su opinión.

Link to Spanish Dashboard is here.


Austin ISD's Special Education PLNs are broken into the 5 regions of Austin ISD (see attached map below). Each PLN consists of an Administrative Supervisor, Coordinator, Behavior Specialist, and Life Skills Specialist. The PLNs support the schools in their region by working with Campus Administrators, Special Education Staff, and Families. The list of PLN staff, contact information, and campuses can be found below.

Los PLNs (por sus siglas en inglés) de Educación Especial del Distrito se dividen en 5 áreas dentro del Austin ISD (ver el mapa adjunto a continuación). Cada PLN consiste de un Supervisor Administrativo, Coordinador, Especialista en Comportamiento y Especialista en Habilidades para la Vida. Los PLNs apoyan a las escuelas de su área trabajando con los directores de las escuelas, el personal de educación especial y las familias. La lista de personal de PLN, información de contacto y escuelas se puede encontrar a continuación.

Parent FAQ / Preguntas frecuentes de los padres de educación especial actualizadas

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