The mission of the Special Education Program at United Independent School District is to provide a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment to any and all students qualifying for special education services. The definition of special education is, “specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings; and instruction in physical education.” In order for a student to qualify for special education services and instruction, the student must meet the eligibility criteria for at least one of the thirteen disabilities defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The student must also exhibit an academic need for the services. The thirteen disabilities defined under IDEA are:
- Auditory Impairment
- Emotional Disturbance
- Intellectual Disability
- Multiple Disabilities
- Non–categorical Early Childhood
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Other Health Impairment
- Specific Learning Disability
- Speech or Language Impairment
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Visual Impairment
Under the federal law, state laws, and district policy the Special Education Program must provide a continuum of services in order to provide for the needs of special education students. At United ISD we strive to provide for the least restrictive environment in the general education classroom to the extent appropriate for each individual student. When the student is better served by removing them from the general education setting, United ISD has a number of settings where the students’ needs can be met. The following are some of the more common options for placement for meeting these students’ needs:
- Specialized Units
- Resource Classrooms
- Speech Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Services from itinerant teachers for the Visually Impaired
- Homebound Services
- Residential Placement
- Physical Therapy
- Psychological Services
- Adaptive Physical Education
- In-class support within the general education setting
- Co-teaching model within the general education setting
The specialized units that United ISD has are as follows:
- Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) units: these units generally serve students in grades EC–1st with various disabilities.
- Early Childhood Structured Language Classrooms (EC–SLC) units: these units generally serve students in grades EC–1st with Autism.
- Early Childhood Motivational Learning Center (EC–MLC) units: these units generally serve students ages 3–5 years of age with behavioral issues and Emotional Disturbance.
- Structured Language Classrooms (SLC) units: these units generally serve school–age students with Autism.
- Motivational Learning Center (MLC) units: these units generally serve school–age students with Emotional Disturbance and behavioral issues.
- Functional Living Skills (FLS) units: these units generally serve school–age students with intellectual disabilities requiring an alternate curriculum.
The Special Education Program is divided into four separate groups who work together for the same purpose and mission. The four separate groups are:
- Budget, Itinerant Staff, Compliance and Contracted Services : Headed by Director Jaime Garza
With three compliance coordinators (see our separate page for more details)
- Instructional Improvement and State Assessment: Headed by Director Guadalupe Perez
With four instructional coordinators (see our separate page for more details)
- Psychological and Behavioral Services
- Vocational Training and Specialized Unit Center: The Cherish Center
The United ISD Special Education Program currently serves approximately 3500 students ages 3–21 years of age at all levels and areas of the district. Our goal is to continue to provide quality service to our students to meet all of their academic needs and to prepare them to become productive and successful members of our community in their post–secondary life.
|Cynthia M. Ramirez||Executive Director|
|Maria Diaz||Secretary to Executive |