You may have questions about your child’s educational journey, including special education services. Please review the additional resources linked below to learn more about Special Education and finding help for your child.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to  eligible infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities. 

Special education means instruction that is specially designed to meet the unique needs of a student with a disability. It includes any related services like transportation, occupational or physical therapy, or assistive technology, needed for the student to benefit from his or her special education services. Special education is not a place, but a set of services and supports that can be provided in many ways and in many different settings.  What special education looks like for an individual student is outlined in his or her IEP (Individualized Education Program).  The IEP is developed by a team referred to in Texas as the admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee.  The parent is a member of the ARD committee.

Download the PDF file: Overview of Special Education for Parents (English | Spanish)

To request an evaluation, please visit the Child Find webpage. To learn more about 13 disability categories, visit the SPEDTex website.

  • Definition

    • An Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) is defined as “an evaluation conducted by a qualified provider who is not employed by the public agency responsible for the education of the child in question”
  • Prerequisites

    • The Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) request can come only after the child has been evaluated by Austin Independent School District
    • The parent must be in disagreement with the district’s evaluation
    • The request must come within 1 calendar year from the date of the evaluation completed by the district
  • Procedures

    • The parent/guardian may request an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) at the school district’s expense if all prerequisites are met. 
    • This request can be done via email or written correspondence sent directly to the Director of Evaluations for Austin ISD: Amanda Molina-Garza,
  • Independent Evaluator

    • Upon request and with written parental consent, the Independent Evaluator chosen by the parent and approved by the school district will:
      • Have access to educational records for the student
      • Meet with school staff to gather information about the student
      • Observe the student in the school setting consistent with board policy
  • Results of an Independent Education Evaluation

    • The results of an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) completed in accordance with the criteria identified in the guidelines will be considered by the student’s ARD Committee, who remains responsible for the development of an appropriate education program for the student.

SpedTEX provides excellent information for families and educators, including frequently asked questions, parent training, and resources.

Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) services are for children three through five years of age. ECSE teachers provide services in a variety of settings such as Head Start, pre-kindergarten 3 & 4, kindergarten, and other early childhood settings. To learn more about Early Childhood Special Education services and programs, visit the SPEDTex Early Childhood Guidance Document or contact Kelly Volding, the Austin ISD ECSE Coordinator, at If you would like to request an evaluation for your child, please visit the Child Find page.

  • What are Compensatory Services? Compensatory services are used to help students make up for progress or skills they lost when their special education services were not provided. This includes situations where a child does not get special education services because he or she was denied a timely initial evaluation, but later found eligible. If an initial evaluation was denied when it should not have been, compensatory services may be needed to make up for the delay in your child getting special education services. 
  • Who Decides if Compensatory Services are Needed? Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD} committees decide if compensatory services are needed and what those services will be. Parents and guardians are members of the ARD committee. Your participation is very important.
  • How Do I Request Compensatory Services for My Child? Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD} committees decide if compensatory services are needed and what those services will be. Parents and guardians are members of the ARD committee. Your participation is very important. 

Transition planning supports students with disabilities and assists both families and students in planning for life after graduation. For more information on transition services, including 18+ programs, please contact Regina Earls at or your child’s campus special education teacher. 


The Destination…Life Regional Transition Fair and Conference

The Destination…Life Regional Transition Fair and Conference helps Central Texas families prepare and support their student(s) with disabilities for life beyond high school. Families can expect to gather information and gain access to experts on how to help their student(s) with disabilities ranging from early childhood through high school to successfully transition to adulthood.

Multiple vendors, state and local agencies will be present, in addition to various programs that assist students with disabilities and their families. See logistics below:

  • When: Saturday, February 24, 2024
  • Where: McNeil High School; 5720 McNeil Dr, Austin, TX 78729
  • Time: 9:00am-1:30pm
  • Registration Information: RSVP for this event


Summer Camp

2024 Day Camp Guide–English | Spanish

Summer Employment Opportunities

  1. Goodwill—Goodwill Central Texas provides a range of temporary work experiences tailored to the specific needs of each client, offering individualized support throughout the process. Goodwill Central Texas's Workforce Advancement program provides both paid and unpaid internships, along with career advancement training, case management, and dedicated support from an Internship Specialist.
    • Eligibility:
      • Must live in Austin/Travis County
      • Be currently enrolled in high school or other educational program 
      • Have an IEP, ARD, or 504 plan
    • Contact information: 
  2. Summer Earn and Learn (SEAL) - A statewide initiative aimed at providing students with disabilities, aged 14-22, with work readiness training and paid work experience. During the program, students undergo work readiness training and are connected with local employers, where they can engage in hands-on work for a period of five weeks or longer. SEAL is a collaborative effort between the Texas Workforce Commission, WSRCA, and Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services

    • Eligibility:

      • Must be 14-22 years of age
    • Contact Information:
      • SEAL Special Projects Manager Josue Rodriguez

      • Office: (512) 392-1291 ext:13001

      • Mobile: (512) 431-6421

  3. Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) - Travis County and the City of Austin have partnered with a range of employers who are offering internship opportunities. Interns will work Monday-Friday, with a maximum of 20 hours per week. 
    • Eligibility:

      • Must reside and/or go to school in Travis County

      • Must be currently enrolled in school

      • Must have a valid current school year student ID or report card 

      • Must have a social security card

      • Must be 14 years old by April 1

      • Must complete career readiness training

        Contact information: Phone: 512-854-4590  • Email:


For More Questions or Support

For more questions or support, please contact your child’s campus principal, contact the Austin ISD Special Education Department by email at or by phone at 512-414-SPED (7733), or visit SPEDTex.