Frisco ISD is looking to spread the word about a special education program that could help homeschool and private school students.
Through the “Child Find” program, the district is responsible for locating, identifying and providing services for individuals with disabilities between the ages of zero through 21 who live in the district and who need special education services.
For students who are enrolled in the district, identifying and helping those students is relatively straightforward.
“If the child, though, is homeschooled or private schooled, we don’t always know who those children are,” said Becky Hobson, Frisco ISD’s Special Education Coordinator.
The district is responsible for helping identify and evaluate any student, Hobson said. While students who aren’t officially enrolled in Frisco ISD are ineligible to receive the whole array of services that the district provides for special education, the district, through the federally funded Proportionate Share program, can provide some special education services to homeschooled students who live within Frisco ISD’s boundaries or those attending nonprofit private schools in the district’s boundaries.
The district has scheduled an April 27 online meeting that will give parents information on special education support the district could give to private and home-schooled students.
Last year, the district held a similar meeting online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, garnering interest from a handful of families, Hobson said. Historically, she said, face to face meetings in the past haven’t had a strong turnout.
They maintain a list of children they are aware of and send letters to those families, Hobson said.
“But there’s a lot of kids out there that we don’t know exist that might benefit,” she said. “So we want to make sure we’re letting them know.”
One of the services provided through Frisco ISD includes providing access to assistive technology through the program.
“And that might be an FM system for a child that might be hearing impaired or an augmentative communication device,” Hobson said.
The main service that the district provides through the program involves speech therapy, one of the most common needs, Hobson said.
The district primarily sees children struggling with articulation, such as mispronouncing things, language, such as comprehension or communication issues, and fluency, or stuttering issues, she said.
Part of helping those students would involve targeting certain goals that the district speech therapist would work towards, Hobson said.
After attending the Tuesday meeting, Hobson said parents will hopefully be able to walk away with a deeper understanding of the program. They’d also have resources to reference later as they consider pursuing the services, including contact numbers, and they would also know how to go about pursuing those services.
“It’s also on our website, but sometimes it’s better to talk through things and ask questions,” Hobson said.
The meeting will also involve getting feedback from attendees about what types of service they’d like to see.
“Not only are we giving information, but they will be provided a survey to kind of give us, and to help us plan for next year and make recommendations as far as our services for next year,” Hobson said.
Those interested must RSVP for the meeting by 9 p.m. Monday through a link available on the district’s Child Find webpage.