Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Education and SchoolsResources & Services for Students with Disabilities

It’s exciting to watch your children as they play and learn in school. The time they are in school can make life a little bit easier, especially if you have supportive school staff. On the other hand, it seems like we are navigating new territory every step of the way. Each transition – whether it’s a new teacher, school year, or school campus – presents opportunities and challenges.

When you’re first starting out with your child’s educational experience, you might feel like there are so many acronyms and programs to keep up with – it can feel like you are drowning in alphabet soup! You might hear terms like “IEP,” “ARD,” “IDEA,“ Section 504,” and “special education,” along with many others. And as your child gets older, you might have to tackle an entirely new set of subjects, like state standardized tests or bullying, to name a few.

In this section, we will help you learn about everything, from what exactly special education is to your child’s legal rights in preschool through high school. We will also offer tips on what to do if you‘re having trouble getting the right services for your child. And we'll give you ideas and information on planning for what’s ahead after high school.

You can also read tips from other parents on different subjects like:

Connecting with other parents from your school (or even in another district) is a great way to get support. Other parents of children with disabilities are generally very open about sharing their experiences and lending an ear, because we all just want what’s best for our children.

You might have a few questions on your mind:

ABCs of Special Education

Here are some of the terms or acronyms you will see often throughout your child’s education:

Top Must-See Support Services

  1. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) operates 20 Education Service Centers (ESC), one in each region of the state. The agency can help you with your questions about the special education process. Find the address, phone number, and website for your ESC to learn more.
  2. Did you know that the TEA has a hotline to help English- and Spanish-speaking parents – and answer their questions about special education programs and services? To reach a statewide resource center, call 800-252-9668. If you have a hearing impairment, call 512-475-3540 or 7-1-1 for a relay agent.
  3. Texas Project First guides parents through the entire special education process and laws.
  4. If your child qualifies for special education services, the IDEA manual will explain your child’s legal rights.
  5. The Partners Resource Network is a statewide nonprofit that runs Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs), which help you learn about the education process and find services and programs.
  6. Wright’s Law offers accurate, up-to-date information for parents about special education law and how to advocate for students with disabilities.
  7. The Legal Framework offers a good summary of state and federal special education requirements. 

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