Adapted PE: 210-397-2406
Assistive Technology: 210-397-3527
Deaf/Hard of Hearing: 210-397-1578
Special Education: 210-397-8742
Special Education Referrals: 210-397-3508
Visual Impairment: 210-397-3568
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Special Education Resources
NISD Table Talks
The NISD Special Education Department provides parent information and training sessions throughout the year as part of our Table Talk Series. Please check out our Table Talk Flyer for more information in English or Spanish.
Education Service Center, Region 20
The Education Service Center - Region 20 offers a variety of parent training and webinars throughout the year.
Region 10 ESC, in collaboration with the Texas Education Agency, has created the Texas Special Education Information Center (SPEDTex). SPEDTex is a resource designed to inform and support parents, teachers, and anyone who is committed to the success of children with disabilities. Please visit the SPEDTex website at www.spedtex.org for more information.
The Education Service Center at Region 20 offers a new Parent Resource webpage. The webpage is full of specific parent resources for all types of topics ranging from academic resources to bullying to financial aid to substance abuse, along with specific special education resources and much more.
Navigate Life Texas offers resources for students with disabilities and special health care needs.
The project Autism Lifeline Links, ALL for short, is a collaborative funded by the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, and is a fairly new initiative in the San Antonio and surrounding area. Check out their website, including a resource guide developed for people with ASD.
Parent Companion offers a guide for Texas parents and caregivers of children with diagnosed or suspected disabilities from birth to 5 years old.
Respite Care of San Antonio is an organization that offers various respite care opportunities for children and students with special needs including: daycare, mother's day out, and family's day out opportunities. Check out the following link to information on their site-based services and more.
For those students who are having difficulty in the regular classroom, all school districts and open enrollment charter schools must consider tutorial, compensatory, and other academic or behavior support services that are available to all students, including a process based on Response to Intervention (RtI). The implementation of RtI has the potential to have a positive impact on the ability of districts and charter schools to meet the needs of all struggling students.
If a student is experiencing learning difficulties, his or her parent may contact the individual(s) listed below to learn about the school’s overall general education referral or screening system for support services. This system links students to a variety of support options, including making a referral for a special education evaluation or for a Section 504 evaluation to determine if the student needs specific aids, accommodations, or services. A parent may request an evaluation for special education or Section 504 services at any time.
Special Education Referrals
If a parent makes a written request for an initial evaluation for special education services to the director of special education services or an administrative employee of the school district or open enrollment charter school, the district or charter school must respond no later than 15 school days after receiving the request. At that time, the district or charter school must give the parent a prior written notice of whether it agrees to or refuses to evaluate the student, along with a copy of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards. If the school district or charter school agrees to evaluate the student, it must also give the parent the opportunity to give written consent for the evaluation.
Please note that a request for a special education evaluation may be made verbally and does not need to be in writing. Districts and charter schools must still comply with all federal prior written notice and procedural safeguard requirements and the requirements for identifying, locating, and evaluating children who are suspected of being a child with a disability and in need of special education. However, a verbal request does not require the district or charter school to respond within the 15-school-day timeline.
If the district or charter school decides to evaluate the student, it must complete the student’s initial evaluation and evaluation report no later than 45 school days from the day it receives a parent’s written consent to evaluate the student. However, if the student is absent from school during the evaluation period for three or more school days, the evaluation period will be extended by the number of school days equal to the number of school days that the student is absent.
There is an exception to the 45-school-day timeline. If a district or charter school receives a parent’s consent for the initial evaluation at least 35 but less than 45 school days before the last instructional day of the school year, it must complete the written report and provide a copy of the report to the parent by June 30 of that year. However, if the student is absent from school for three or more days during the evaluation period, the June 30th due date no longer applies. Instead, the general timeline of 45 school days plus extensions for absences of three or more days will apply.
Upon completing the evaluation, the district or charter school must give the parent a copy of the evaluation report at no cost.
Additional information regarding special education is available from the district or charter school in a companion document titled Parent’s Guide to the Admission, Review, and Dismissal Process.
Contact Person for Special Education Referrals
The designated person to contact regarding options for a student experiencing learning difficulties or regarding a referral for evaluation for special education services is Dr. Coleman Heckman at (210) 397-3508.
Section 504 Referrals
Each school district or charter school must have standards and procedures in place for the evaluation and placement of students in the district’s or charter school’s Section 504 program. Districts and charter schools must also implement a system of procedural safeguards that includes notice, an opportunity for a parent or guardian to examine relevant records, an impartial hearing with an opportunity for participation by the parent or guardian and representation by counsel, and a review procedure.
Contact Person for Section 504 Referrals
The designated person to contact regarding options for a student experiencing learning difficulties or regarding a referral for evaluation for Section 504 services is Anna Draker at (210) 397-8810.
Updates in Special Education
Beginning with the 2017 school year, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) changed the way it reports special education enrollment in school systems. TEA no longer includes a target for a school system’s total numbers of students in special education as part of state monitoring.
For special education representation, TEA only reports on over- representation within certain race, ethnicity and disability categories, as required by federal law. School systems cannot use this reporting data to delay, deny or prevent a referral for an evaluation for special education services.
Special education/IDEA eligibility
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, also known as IDEA, is a federal law that gives eligible students with disabilities the right to receive special education services and assistance in school. To be eligible for special education services, a student with a disability must need instruction that is specially designed to meet the student’s unique needs based on that disability.
Who can request an evaluation for special education?
A parent or guardian has the right to request a special education evaluation at any time. It is best to submit this request in writing to your school’s principal or to the school district’s special education director. If your child is pre-school age and not yet enrolled in school, send the letter to the district’s special education director. School:
If the school knows or has reason to suspect that the student has a disability and a need for special education services, the school must refer the student for a special education evaluation. More information on evaluation timelines can be found on the TEA website. A parent or guardian has the right to request a special education evaluation at any time.
Resources for Families
TEA has created topic specific information for families. Family members can call (855) 773-3839 or visit SpEdTex.org to find answers to their questions as well as general information about special education.
The following websites provide information and resources for students with disabilities and their families.
- Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Special Education Process
- Special Education Information Center
- Texas Project First
(not an exhaustive list)
|ADA||Americans with Disabilities Act||IEP||Individualized Education Plan|
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (Type 1, Type 2, or Combined Type)
|LRE||Least Restrictive Environment|
|AEP||Alternative Education Program||MD||Multiple Disabilities|
|AI||Auditory Impairment||MT||Music Therapy|
|APE||Adapted Physical Education||NICHY||National Information Center for Children & Youth with Disabilities|
|ARD||Admission, Review & Dismissal||NISD||Northside Independent School District|
|AU||Autism||OCD||Obsessive Compulsive Disorder|
|BIP||Behavior Intervention Plan||ODD||Oppositional Defiant Disorder|
|CBI||Community Based Instruction||OH or OHI||Other Health Impairment|
|CP||Cerebral Palsy||OI||Orthopedic Impairment|
|DARS||Department of Assistive & Rehabilitative Services||O&M||Orientation & Mobility|
|DB||Deaf-Blind||OJT||On the Job Training|
|DNQ||Does Not Qualify||OT||Occupational Therapy|
|DSM-5||Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition||PAC||Parent Advisory Committee|
|ECC||Early Childhood Collaborative||PDD||Pervasive Developmental Disorder (Autism Spectrum)|
|ECI||Early Childhood Intervention||PT||Physical Therapy|
|ECSE||Early Childhood Special Education (formerly known as PPCD - Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities)||REACH||Resource for Parents of Children with Autism|
|ED||Emotional Disturbance||RDSPD||Regional Day School Program for the Deaf|
|EOC||End of Course (exam)||RtI||Response to Intervention|
|ESY||Extended School Year||SI||Speech Impairment|
|FAPE||Free Appropriate Public Education||SLD||Specific Learning Disability|
|FBA||Functional Behavior Assessment||SLP||Speech Language Pathologist|
|FERPA||Family Education Rights & Privacy Act||STAAR||State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness|
|FIE||Full & Individual Evaluation||STAAR-ALT 2||State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness - Alternate 2nd Edition|
|IA||Instructional Assistant||TBI||Traumatic Brain Injury|
|ID||Intellectual Disability||TEA||Texas Education Agency|
|IDEA||Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (2004 Reauthorization)||TEKS||Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills|
|IEE||Independent Educational Evaluation||VI||Visual Impairment|
- A letter re: HB657, in both English and Spanish, describes the processes in place for 5th & 8th grade students who failed STAAR.
- Re: SB2075, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides students with reading disabilities the ability to borrow audiobooks free of charge.
- Transition & Employment Guide for Special Education Students - Education Code 29.0112
- Resources on Special Education in Texas
- Information Regarding Delayed or Denied Evaluations & Compensatory Services in both English and Spanish
The Special Education Information Center (SPEDTex) provides resources and interactive features for increasing family awareness of disabilities and special education processes, with the goal of improving partnerships between schools and families.