The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) is the federal law that governs the special education process. The term special education means specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.
Various activities may take place during the special education process, such as early intervention activities, determination of eligibility for special education, development of a child's Individualized Education Program (IEP), provision of specialized instruction and related services. Support and services for students are provided in the least restrictive environment and instruction is provided in accordance with the Texas Essential Knowledge and skills (TEKS) mandated by the state for all students in Texas. An Admission, Review and Dismissal committee (ARD) individualizes the goals, instructional accommodations, mastery level and location of services for each student based on the impact of the student's disability on his/her ability to progress in the state curriculum.
Legal Framework Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Guide
Rules and regulations about special education may be accessed electronically on the Region 18 Education Service Center web page, using the link for the Legal Framework in Texas, IDEA 2004, at http://www.esc18.net . The Legal Framework is a template in an electronic format that summarizes state and federal requirements for special education by topic. Parents and schools may use theLegal Framework as a reference.
An electronic version of A Guide to the Admission, Review and Dismissal Process may be found on the same website, http://www.esc18.net . The printable version of the Guide may also be found at this link:
Child Find is a process designed to identify, locate, and evaluate individuals (birth through 21 years of age) with disabilities who may need special education services. Services are available at no cost to families for eligible individuals ages birth to 21 years. For more information, please call the Special Programs Office at 361-749-1232.
Special Education and Response to Intervention
If you have concerns about your child's learning or behavior, the first step is talk to your child's teacher or the school principal about your concerns. If this step is unsuccessful, you should ask your child's teacher, principal or counselor about making a referral to the campus-based student support team, which is a team of teachers and other personnel who meet regularly to address any learning or behavioral concerns that students are having. It is the goal of the school and these teams to identify struggling learners early in order to improve their educational outcomes. Before a referral for a special education evaluation, State law requires that your child be considered for all support services available to all children. These services may, but are not limited to: tutoring, remedial services, compensatory services, response to scientific research-based intervention (RtI), and other academic or behavior support services.
The RtI approach includes a multi-leveled system of interventions in which each level or tier represents an increasingly intense level of services. Interventions that are provided to a child will be continually adjusted based on progress monitoring until the child is progressing adequately. Children, who do not respond to the initial interventions within a reasonable period of time, as suggested by research, are referred for more intensive interventions. Most RtI models have three tiers of interventions.
The benefit of an RtI approach mentioned most often is that it enables students to get help promptly within the general education setting. In addition, an RtI approach may potentially reduce the number of children referred for special education services as it helps differentiate between students whose achievement problems are due to issues such as a lack of prior instruction from students whose problems are due to a learning disability.
For a glossary of terms often used in education, including special education, please follow this link: http://www.texasprojectfirst.org/GlossaryA.html
For more information from TEA on Response to intervention, please follow this link:http://tea.texas.gov/Curriculum_and_Instructional_Programs/Special_Education/Programs_and_Services/Response_to_Intervention/
Transition services are a coordinated set of activities designed to help the child move from school to post-school activities. Those activities begin by age 14 with an examination of state transition planning. By age 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the ARD committee, the IEP must include appropriate measurable post-secondary goals based upon age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment and, where appropriate, independent living skills. The IEP must include transition services needed to assist the child in reaching those goals. Your child must be invited to the ARD committee meeting when transition services will be discussed. Additionally, to the extent appropriate, with your written consent or with the written consent of the student who is an adult, the school must invite a representative of any participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services. The ARD committee must make decisions regarding transition goals and services based on age-appropriate transition assessments. The transition goals and services in your child’s IEP must be updated annually.
Additional information regarding transition can be found at