Special Education Programs and Instructional Services
Pflugerville ISD believes in educating students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment and aims to educate students in the general education setting to the maximum extent possible. All students are general education students, and the general education curriculum is the foundation for all instructional programs. Recognizing that not all learners are successful in the same environment, however, the district offers a continuum of instructional services in a variety of instructional settings. Instructional program and setting are determined by the ARD committee based on the child’s individual needs.
Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities
Children between the ages of 3 and 5 with an identified disability and need for special education are served in Pflugerville ISD’s Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD). The district offers multiple options within PPCD to meet the needs of all learners.
- Walk-on Speech Therapy: Walk-on speech therapy may be provided for eligible students who require specialized intervention from a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) but do not qualify for classroom services. Students qualifying for this program typically demonstrate a mild disorder in language, voice and/or fluency. Some may demonstrate only single-sound errors. Students meet with an SLP on their home campus.
- Community-Based Speech Therapy: Community-based speech therapy may be provided for eligible students who are currently enrolled in a local child care facility. An SLP provides intervention for articulation and/or mild language disorders during the student’s day at the child care facility.
- Preschoolers Acquiring Language Skills (PALS): PALS is an intensive articulation development program. Children participating in PALS tend to have developmentally appropriate social, self-help, cognitive, behavioral and motor skills. PALS focuses on providing extensive speech support in a small-group setting. Students attend the PALS program at a PfISD location once or twice a week, depending on the student’s IEP.
- Pegasus Classroom: This inclusive environment is for children in need of a classroom setting that focuses on developmental skill areas such as: communication, self-help skills, social-emotional skills, fine and gross motor skills and pre-academic skills. The students are taught alongside typically developing preschoolers, who are the children of PfISD employees. This is a fee-based program for employees’ children but free to students eligible for services as determined through an ARD committee.
- Self-Contained Classroom: This class supports students with developmental disabilities who benefit from instruction in a small-group setting. Students in this classroom also may have physical disabilities. Emphasis is on intensive social skill instruction, behavior modification strategies and language development in a visually oriented and routine-based classroom. Self-help and preacademic skills also are addressed, and class size typically is small.
General Education - The student receives all instruction in a general education setting; special services, such as speech therapy or special transportation, are provided to assist the child in accessing the curriculum.
Mainstream Inclusion - The student’s instruction and related services are provided in the regular education classroom with special education support.
Resource Room - When the student needs special education instruction and related services in a setting other than general education, Resource and Content Mastery classrooms augment regular classroom instruction. This setting allows teachers and paraprofessionals to accommodate students needing supports such as small-group instruction, fewer distractions, reteaching and oral administration.
Self-Contained Classroom - For students who need special education instruction and related services for 50% or more of the school day:
- Essential Academics classrooms provide services for students who have a significant cognitive deficit and access grade-level standards through prerequisite skills. Students in the Essential Academics classroom also may have deficits in communication, social-emotional skills or self -help skills. Students may be verbal but require assistance to use communication effectively. Personal care is required throughout the day, and IEP goals must address independent daily living skills. Students are taught on an alternate curriculum.
- Communications classrooms provide services for students who have a significant communication deficit and challenging behaviors associated with the lack of communication skills. Students in this classroom may be non-verbal or have language that is not functional. Students using communication systems require training to use the system to get their wants and needs met. Students are taught using an alternate curriculum, and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) strategies are used to address challenging behaviors. Students in the Communications classroom access grade-level standards through prerequisite skills, require instruction in functional daily living skills, and have intense communication needs.
Homebound/Hospital - For eligible students who are served at home or hospital bedside. Students served on a homebound or hospital bedside basis are expected to be confined for a minimum of four consecutive weeks as documented by a physician.
Vocational Adjustment Class (VAC) - For students in high school needing job-related instruction and regularly scheduled supervision on the job.
Pflugerville Community Connect (18+ Program) - Students in PCC have met their academic requirements but still need to develop skills to transition to independent living and employment. The full-day program addresses skills such as money management, social and emotional abilities, employability, self-determination, time management and independent living. On-the-job training as well as vocational instruction help students grow these skills.
Behavior Support Services
Students receiving Behavior Support Services support demonstrate significant social-emotional needs that prevent them from being successful in the general education setting.
Behavior Support - The Behavior Support program teaches social, emotional, communication and behavioral skills, as well as academics. Students are provided with frequent opportunities to practice appropriate behaviors with adult support to facilitate the development of behavior management, problem-solving, peer interactions and effective coping skills. Behavior Support staff utilize constructive feedback, positive reinforcement and consistent schedules to support students; adult support is faded as the student becomes more independent in using the new skills appropriately. Behavior Support Services are available on every campus in the district.
Intensive Behavior Classroom - Students accessing this instructional setting demonstrate significant behavioral and emotional challenges that require intensive support and adult supervision. In this self-contained setting, students’ academic and behavioral needs are addressed with positive behavior supports and social skills instruction. Students in this classroom have not been successful with Behavior Support services provided in more inclusive settings. These services are offered from elementary through high school.
In the educational setting, Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) provide services to students with communication needs that adversely affect the student’s educational performance and address personal, social/emotional, academic, and vocational needs impact the attainment of educational goals. SLPs serve students with disorders in articulation, voice, fluency, executive functioning, social skills and swallowing. SLPs address personal, social/emotional, academic, and vocational needs that have an impact on attainment of educational goals. Speech therapy is an instructional service, which means it can be the only service a student receives. SLPs also serve an important role in educating and collaborating with parents, teachers and the community about communication disorders.
Instruction for Students with Vision Impairment
Certified teachers of the visually impaired provide services for students with an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects the child's educational performance. Teachers of the visually impaired work with students in their educational setting so that programming adaptations and modifications are made available in the students’ learning environment. Children may receive services for visual impairment from birth through school graduation.
In order to meet needs directly related to their impairment, students with visual impairment need an expanded core curriculum (ECC), which addresses the following areas:
- Compensatory skills that permit access to the general curriculum (such as braille and concept development, tactile graphics, Nemeth Code, and specialized communication skills)
- Orientation and mobility skills
- Social interaction skills
- Career education and planning
- Assistive technology, including optical devices
- Independent living skills
- Recreation and leisure skills
- Self-determination, and
- Sensory efficiency (including visual, tactual and auditory skills)
Adapted Physical Education
Adapted Physical Education is an instructional service that provides a carefully designed program for students with disabilities so that they may participate successfully and safely in physical education in the least restrictive setting. The adapted PE program enables students to develop skills essential to physical fitness, wellness, and social development.
Eligibility for Adapted PE is determined by assessment of the following skills:
- Perceptual motor function
- Object control
- Locomotor skills
- Physical fitness
- Adaptive behaviors (behaviors that, in spite of adequate motor performance, limit a student’s ability to participate in general physical education)
Adapted PE services may include consultative services within the general physical education, modification of sports equipment, specialized lessons led by an Adapted PE teacher, and modification of the physical education setting.
The Adapted PE staff also support students in Special Olympics by coaching athletes in practice and competitions, organizing volunteers, and coordinating and promoting events.
Extended School Year
The Extended School Year (ESY) program provides instruction to eligible students with disabilities beyond the regular school year. The need for ESY services must be determined by the ARD committee based on data showing a pattern of significant regression on acquired critical skills combined with excessive time for recoupment when an extended break in service occurs. If the loss of acquired critical skills would be particularly severe or substantial -- or if the loss is expected to result in immediate harm to the student or to others -- ESY services may be justified without consideration of the period of time for recoupment of such skills.