The number of kids with autism in Texas is growing. Most of those children go to public school. Many of them receive special education services because of their diagnosis.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) requires a special addition to the Individual Education Program (IEPs) of students who have autism. It is called the Texas Autism Supplement. This supplement ensures that students with autism get the accommodations they need in school.
All IEPs can and should address all needed accommodations. But the Autism Supplement was created to try to fix some common details that were often ignored by school districts. The supplement is a way for schools to double check that services are appropriate.
If you have a child with an autism diagnosis, there are some things for you to know:
The Texas Autism Supplement includes:
Class size. The ARD Committee should discuss what class size is appropriate for the child. The committee decides class size for learning new topics and for practicing knowledge. The class size can vary for core subjects, PE, and fine arts. Sometimes a child benefits from having an extra adult in the room. Sometimes a child needs small group learning. That information should be reflected in the ratio.
Family training. Families of students with autism are offered in-home training, as well as other organized and focused trainings in the community. All needed areas of training should be listed.
Extended services. The ARD Committee should discuss whether a student needs extended school days or extended school year. Extended services can be before or after school and over summer break.
Behavior. Behavior plans and positive behavior supports are sometimes needed. Be sure they are listed.
Future planning. Transition and future planning can begin at any age. The ARD Committee should discuss whether it is needed.
Communication. Many students with autism struggle with communication. The ARD Committee should discuss how to support the student’s communication with teachers and peers.
Social skills. Social skills training should be considered. The committee should discuss whether social skills training is needed. Needed training should be documented in the supplement.
Teaching strategies. Students respond differently to different types of teaching. Any useful teaching practices should be noted in the IEP paperwork.
Teacher training. The ARD Committee should decide if the staff needs more training. These specific trainings should be listed.
Parents can play a more active role in their child’s education when they know more about their child’s IEP. Double check your child’s paperwork to ensure each of these items are discussed and documented. Consider if you think your child’s IEP is appropriate. Sometimes these items need to be revisited and updated. Don’t be afraid to ask.
For more information visit the Texas Project First Website.
It is important for parents to share information about how their child communicates when the child is nonverbal. They need to share how to interpret their child's wants and needs with other caregivers. Here are some ideas to help you share your knowledge and help others provide better care for your child.
There are ways your family can help your child get needed services through the school district, starting as early as 3 years old. Here are some tips for requesting these services.