Special Education Scoop

October 2022

In This Issue

The Importance of Reading at Home

ECSE Corner

Speech Spot

Special Olympics

At Home Behavior Resources

College and Career Readiness Competencies

Assistive Technology

Pfuture Ready Event

Center on Disability and Development Information


Important Dates

The Importance of Reading at Home

Did you know that the amount of time a student spends reading can improve their critical thinking, rate of vocabulary development, overall academic performance over time, and even potentially predict their future earning potential? Reading at home is an integral part of building literacy skills and a love of reading, especially for struggling readers. Students greatly benefit from as little as 15 minutes per day of reading along with family members and educators as well as time reading on their own.

An article from Renaissance Learning states, “It’s not just struggling readers who could benefit from more reading practice. A study of the reading practices of more than 9.9 million students over the 2015–2016 school year found that more than half of the students read less than 15 minutes per day on average. Only students who read 15 minutes or more a day saw accelerated reading gains—that is, gains higher than the national average—and students who read just over a half-hour to an hour per day saw the greatest gains of all.”

If your child is a struggling reader who is not yet able to independently read, you can support their ability to do so through the use of audiobooks and text-to-speech technology. In Pflugerville ISD, each student has access to a school account on Google Chrome. Once the student logs in to Chrome with their school information, they will be able to add the Read&Write for Google extension from the Chrome Webstore on any home or school device. The Read&Write extension will give your child access to text-to-speech, speech-to-text, and many other learning resources for any readable text online. Students also have access to programs like Sora for electronic books through the school library and audiobooks are available for rent through the Pflugerville public library.

A few tips for reading at home with your child:

  • model reading by reading aloud to your child and being visible by reading independently yourself

  • discuss what you are reading independently and together

  • research new vocabulary together and try to make a point of using and revisiting new words

  • provide choice in what books are read and help them to find books relevant to their interests

  • find fun ways to keep them reading by offering incentives or reinforcement as needed

Sources and more information on reading at home.


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ECSE Corner

All ECSE classes are using Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey. Check out these videos to see what is happening in your child's classroom, and join us for Parent Workshops to learn more about Conscious Discipline. The next one is November 1! More information will be sent home.
Safe Keeper Ritual Pre-K classroom
The Conscious Discipline Brain Model Demonstration with Dr. Becky Bailey

Speech Spot

We are in the thick of school, and if you are a busy parent like me, you are shuttling your kids to a variety of after school activities. Think Friday Night Lights, soccer games, swim meets, volleyball games, band competition and so much more! Don’t you love cheering for your kids or with your kids if they are watching their friends?

Sometimes after a night of cheering, we notice our voices give. That is, it may sound hoarse, or you may lose it all together. While it does happen on occasion, if this happens frequently over time, we risk the chance of injuring our vocal folds, the tissue in our throat that creates sound. With injured vocal folds comes constant hoarseness and decreased loudness, which the causes one to want to speak louder, which worsens the vocal fold injury.

Here are some recommendations for keeping everybody’s voice healthy:

· Stay hydrated with water. Don’t like water? Try adding some flavoring with powder packets or add different fruit (lemon, cucumber, etc.).

· Vocal rest during activities and after. Limit the intense yelling. You know what they say? Everything in moderation.

· Exercise and eat well.

· Avoid excessive throat clearing and coughing.

· Use a moderate, conversational level and avoid whispering.

· Avoid trying to talk in loud places (concerts, college football games, etc.).

· Warm up your voice before singing or performing (choir, theater, etc.).

· Avoid irritants (cigarettes and second-hand smoke).

Jennifer Phillips, MS, CCC-SLP

Coordinator of Speech Services

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Special Olympics

Calling all athletes, if you are interested in your son/daughter participating in our district Special Olympics program, you can contact Amy Wiesenhutter at amy.wiesenhutter@pfisd.net.

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At Home Behavior Resources

Sometimes parenting is hard! We have some resources to make it easier!

Our friends over at Emergent Tree Education have put together free youtube

videos to give parents a few tips on how to implement easy behavior intervention in the home!

They take real life situations and show you how to use the strategy with your family in your home.



College and Career Readiness Competencies

How do we prepare our students for College and Career? There are many skills as the College and Career Competency Wheel below from Drs. Gaumer, Erickson, and Noonan research. They are critical to success in childhood and adolescence. The good news is many of these skills can be taught within the child's community, home and school. However, they must be taught with intent. They can be interwoven into activities in all these locations. Parents, teachers, and community members can embed these skills into already existing contexts. In this way, educators support students to develop into career-equipped, lifelong learners who are socially and emotionally engaged. Please look at the CCC framework resources available. https://www.cccframework.org/resources/

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Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology and Adaptive equipment are all around us and thankfully the world of fashion! Target is one of the places caring for adaptive Halloween Costumes. Other lines such as Kohls, Target, Tommy Hilfiger, Zappos Adaptive, Nike, and Aerie are various retailers that have online options for your student.

We all use assistive technology daily whether you know it or not. If you have a tone, buzz, or light flash when your phone rings these are all ways that people had accommodated making sure they are able to hear, see, and feel that they have a phone call way before there were cellphones. Now we have so many ways that assistive technology can be used to benefit.

Do you have questions about your student's current Assistive Technology needs or what they are currently using? Feel free and reach out to Kameron.davis@pfisd.net for information and training.

Pfuture Ready! Learn. Play. Plan.

Pflugerville ISD Career & Technical Education Department is hosting an event on October 19th for a family night of fun for all grade levels. Check out the attached flyer for more information.

The Center on Disability and Development Information

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 children’s communication needs (again, at no cost to parents). Coaching is offered in English and Spanish.

Educators and service providers are also invited to complete free modules, including Coach to Communicate, to learn evidence-based strategies for autism and behavior. We currently offer webinars for over 30 different training topics. To see training modules available, enroll at https://prep.catalog.instructure.com.

We have had great experience in working with service providers and would like to develop a partnership with ISDs, schools, parent support groups, and ASD service providers to reach as many families as possible. Thank you for sharing our recruitment materials with parents, service providers, or teachers in your institution or school district. I have enclosed our recruitment materials in English and Spanish for your review. If you need hard copies of the recruitment materials or have any questions, please feel free to contact us at TAMUAuParent@tamu.edu.

Important Dates

October 13, 2022 - End of the First Nine Weeks

October 14, 2022 - Conference Day/Student Holiday

October 19, 2022 - Pfuture Ready Event at Hendrickson High School

November 21-25, 2022 - Thanksgiving Holiday