All children have the right to an education provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge. The quality of the education for the special education student must be commensurate with that of the regular education student and must meet the state standards of the Texas Education Agency.
The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), revised in 2004, includes four major components:
- Free and appropriate public education, including related services that can range from speech therapy to transportation and health screenings;
- A least restrictive environment (LRE);
- An Individualized Educational Program (IEP);
- Due process procedures for parents, guardians, and children.
The purpose of Child Find is to locate, identify and evaluate children from birth to 21 years of age with disabilities and their possible need for special education and related services. Child Find is a free referral and information service available to local education agencies and Education Service Center Region 13.
Children learn at different rates but some children have significant difficulty in one or more of the following areas: social interaction, play, speech and language, vision, hearing, attention, behavior, or coordinating movements. We’re here to help you access services to meet the unique learning needs of your child. If you are concerned that your child may be learning, playing or interacting differently from others, please call the special education department of your local education agency or ESC Region 13 staff listed below.
Least Restrictive Environment
The intent of the IDEA is for children with disabilities to be educated with their peers who do not have disabilities to the maximum extent possible. IDEA (2004) specifically states that:
“To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removals of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.” [Section 612(a)(5)(A)]
At UT Elementary, we are prepared to provide the services necessary for the special education student to learn successfully. We provide individual education plans that include differentiated instruction, curricular accommodations and/or modifications, individualized and/or small group instruction, inclusion and/or pull-out services, special materials and other services which enrich education for our students.
We have a philosophy at UT Elementary that supports teaching to the spirit of every child. We plan for the needs of the special education students with input from both regular education and special education teachers, in addition to parents, support staff, and others. Professional development is consistently provided to the entire staff on current topics and issues in special education. Our teachers frequently dialogue with each other and offer “best practices” that transcend the boundaries of regular and special education in order to provide the highest quality instruction for each child.
It is very important that students of varying ability levels learn how to interact with one another. Tolerance for differences is a precursor to true acceptance and respect.
Individual Education Plan
Each of our special education students has an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The plan specifies the services that will be provided for the student, including the length of services and the venue in which they will be delivered. The IEP clearly states the child’s current levels of academic achievement and functional performance. It states the goals for the coming year and consistently monitors individual progress. These services and guidelines are determined jointly by the ARD committee which consists of school professionals and the parent or guardian.
Due Process Procedures
Parents are notified of the time and place for the annual review. A parent is not legally bound to attend the meeting, but we at UTES do everything we can to ensure that they have the opportunity to be present. Notice is given of each evaluation instrument, procedure, test, record, or report the school has used as basis for changes in the IEP. If the parent or guardian needs help in understanding the instruments or procedures, they are welcome to meet with us. They may also seek outside help if they wish.