Special Education Services
Starting as early as age three in preschool, San Antonio schools offer several special education services to eligible students. Local public schools’ free special needs services are personalized for each individual child, and the special education staff are thoroughly trained and equipped to support students based on their specific needs. Students with disabilities are evaluated and identified. They then receive a plan of action that supports their particular needs and unique circumstances.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents who may be concerned about their child’s speech, physical, and/or emotional development are invited to contact their San Antonio school district’s special education department or their home campus to set up a free evaluation. The testing process begins as early as age three.
The Individualized Education Program (or IEP) is updated every year and includes goals for each child, written by teachers, parents, and staff. The IEP meeting, where the student’s IEP is created and discussed, is called the ARD (Admission, Review, and Dismissal).
For children and students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), teachers or parents must first request an evaluation for disability before the school can create an IEP.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) coordinates special services to blind children or those with a visual impairment (VI), DeafBlind (DB), and deaf or hard of hearing (DHH). The TEA collaborates with the 20 Education Service Centers (ESCs), the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD), and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI).
Services for students with sensory impairment can be found here.
School Support and Accommodations
The ARD committee and IEP can specify that special transportation services are necessary for the student to gain a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Those students are eligible for no-cost transportation services. The ARD committee evaluates the student’s disability, communication skills, the location of special education services, and the child’s reliance on specialized equipment to decide if a child is eligible for these transportation services.
Parents and students are highly encouraged to take advantage of the vast array of IDEA special education resources that are available in San Antonio public school districts. With the right tools and educational plans, children with physical and/or learning disabilities can flourish in the public school environment.
The Early Childhood Education Department provides an acclaimed, high-quality educational program to eligible 3 and 4 year-olds through its state and district funded pre-kindergarten and federally funded Head Start programs. Starting early in San Antonio Pre-k 3 programs, the Early Childhood Education Program is designed to provide students a strong foundation for kindergarten and future learning through a curriculum that addresses their social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. Head Start is offered at various district locations in San Antonio.
Benefits of Special Education
- Special education teachers and special ed resources help all kids in an inclusion classroom, not only the special education students.
- Students with a learning disability are usually more eager to learn in classrooms alongside other students who do not have the same disabilities or limitations.
- Special ed services offer long-lasting benefits for the duration of a student’s life, including increased independence, lower chance of depression, and higher self-esteem.
Parents are always encouraged to utilize the many IDEA special education services that our San Antonio public school districts provide. With our districts’ special education tools and programs, students with learning and/or physical challenges can successfully flourish in their public school environment.