Special Education Scoop

PfISD Special Education Parent's Newsletter - October 2020

In This Issue

  • Director's Note - National Physical Therapy Month
  • Medicaid Waiver and Interest Lists
  • Assistive Technology Training for Families
  • Assistive Technology News
  • ECSE Corner
  • SPEDTex Resource for Families
  • Tips for Managing Behavior
  • Speech Spot
  • Support for Caregivers
  • Free Training for Parents of Students with Autism who speak Spanish
  • Important Dates
  • Resources

A Note from the Director


October is National Physical Therapy Month, where we take time to focus on all the ways physical therapy is beneficial for children. In the school-based setting, physical therapy is one of the related services under Part B of IDEA that may be provided to support the student’s individualized education plan (IEP). Physical therapists assist students in accessing school environments and benefiting from their educational program. Physical therapists work collaboratively with a student’s IEP team and participate in screening, evaluation, program planning, and intervention. As a member of the IEP team, physical therapists design and implement physical therapy interventions—including:

· Mobility

· Self-Care

· Motor Control

· Positioning

· Use of Materials/Adaptive Equipment

· Environmental Modifications

· Sensory Strategies

In addition, physical therapy interventions include teaching and training of family and education personnel measurement and documentation of progress—to help the student achieve his/her IEP goal.

Though the expertise of school-based physical therapists is most often considered for individual students, it also can be tapped to motivate the entire school community, promote education in the least-restrictive environment, and prevent inappropriate placements and unnecessary services. School-based Physical Therapists can support increasingly accurate and appropriate special education referrals by implementing UDL, RTI principles, and differentiated instruction; develop and provide universally designed and developmentally appropriate motor programs for all students; ensure safe and accessible educational environments for staff and students, assist classroom teachers and other educational personnel in incorporating movement and activity into instruction (eg, differentiated instruction, UDL, and RtI); and educate school communities on the prevention of musculoskeletal injury and loss of health and function. https://pediatricapta.org/fact-sheets/

Thank YOU to our School-Based Physical Therapy Team!

Lee, Marci, Kathy, and Jenny

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Medicaid Waivers

What is a Medicaid Waiver? A Medicaid waiver allows the state to assist individuals and provide some long-term services to those with disabilities. Most of these waivers assist after adulthood, however please look at slide deck to see what waiver can provide and what are the age ranges. If an individual meets eligibility requirements, they can receive services they need in their own homes or other community settings, instead of having to go into a nursing facility or institution. You may apply and/or qualify for both Medicaid benefits, as well as Medicaid Waiver programs.

In Texas, there are several different waiver programs that offer a broad range of home and community-based services to people with disabilities and elderly citizens. There are different rules and funding amounts for each of the different waivers.

You do not need to be on Medicaid to be placed on the interest list. Most of the interest lists take years until a person is able to be considered for services. It is important to get on the interest list as early as possible.

Medicaid Waiver Presentation for Caregivers

Medicaid Waiver for Caregivers Video

Free Assistive Technology Training for Families

The Inclusion in Texas network is collaborating with the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) to sponsor a statewide partnership to FREE online professional development. Educators and families across Texas will have access to 60+ online assistive technology courses to enhance student accessibility during remote instruction. Select courses also have designated CEU credit from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Here is the website: https://www.atia.org/texas-online-course-subscription-webpage/

How Does It Work?

All education and support staff serving students in Texas can use the Inclusion in Texas Access Code: 21INCLUSIONTXPD to register for online courses.

Step 1: Create a Profile or Sign In

Complete the Sign Up form with all of your information, including full name and email address.

Step 2: View the Learning Catalog to Select Online Courses

Browse the Learning Catalog for a complete list of available live and recorded courses. You can filter courses in the catalog by CEU type, experience level, ATIA strand, and target audience/profession.

To learn more about a course, click on its listing in the catalog. Read about the course description, learning objectives, speaker bios, and available CEUs.

Add the course to your cart, then click on your cart to purchase and check out. Once in the cart, enter your subscription code in the promo code box and click apply. This will bring your balance to $0.00. Complete the purchase process.

*Open to all education, support staff, and parents serving students in Texas. Access code valid through 8/31/21.

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Assistive Technology News

Hello all! I’m Kameron Davis, the new Assistive Technology Specialist and I am excited to share some fun information and explanations in the “AT” world. Assistive technology or “AT” is an umbrella term that includes assistive and adaptive tools and equipment. You have been using Assistive Technology during our last 7 months of school with many online platforms and accommodations at home. We are so proud of you for navigating numerous technologies during our adventures in your students learning! Assistive technology can also include different writing utensils, slant boards, and other supports that do not resemble our typical definition of technology.

Accessing the Artist Within

Did you know that you can change your student’s accessibility settings on personal devices at home? Here is a helpful link that shows by age what features might be most beneficial.

Accessibility Settings for Children

ECSE Corner

Region 13 has created five videos on different ways you can have some fun and engage your preschool child at home. The website below will also share additional resources you can use at home.

1. Watching TV with Your Preschooler

2. Go For a Walk!

3. Food Prep: Cooking with your Young Child

4. Read a Book!

5. Sing a Song !

Available in English and Spanish.

Home Engagement Videos and More

Got questions about special education?

SPEDTex can help! We provide information and resources that can help you understand your child’s disability, your rights and responsibilities under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and facilitate collaboration that supports the development and delivery of services to children with disabilities in our State.

SPEDTex Website

SPEDTex has a great section on the use of accommodations including vidoes.

SPEDTex Accommodations

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Tips for Managing Behavior

This is a great resource for implementing visual schedules, visual timers, and reinforcement systems including First/Then boards in your home. These are all tools that we utilize in school to create structured routines and promote positive behaviors. They work really well with kids of all ages and all different learning needs! If you have any questions about implementing these tools in your home, or how to create the visuals, please talk with your child’s teacher.

Visual Timers, Token Systems, First-Then Boards: Ease Transitions & Improve Behavior

Speech Spot

Looking for some online resources related to speech and language skills? Wanting to read about other families raising a child with a disability? Here is list of resources and blogs you may be interested in:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Autism Cafe

Home Speech Home

Make Room for the Stuttering


Social Thinking

Special Books by Special Kids

The Autism Dad

Support for Caregivers

The STAR (Strategies for Teaching Based on Autism Research) program featured tips on how caregivers and educators can work together for success during virtual learning in their September newsletter. Read more by following the link below.

STAR Autism Support Caregivers 2020

Free Training to Parents of Students with Autism who Speak Spanish

Please see the attached PDF for more information.

Important Dates

October 13 - December 18, 2020 - 2nd Nine Weeks

October 23, 2020 - Student Holiday/Staff Professional Development

November 23-27, 2020 - Thanksgiving Holiday

December 18, 2020 - Student Early Release

December 21, 2020 - January 5, 2021 - Winter Break