With the wide variety of educational placement options in Texas, it can be overwhelming for parents and professionals to determine the best school or program for a child. There are different processes, but all begin with a joint decision between the parents, student (when appropriate) and education professionals.
For children from birth to three years old:
Families can get support and services from early childhood intervention (ECI) providers. ECI providers focus on language acquisition, communication tools and other services to support the child’s developmental progress.
For children from three years old to 22 years old:
When children turn three years old, they transition into the educational system and may access special education services. Special education services, or sometimes known as deaf education, are determined by the family, student and education professionals in an Admissions, Review and Dismissal (ARD) meeting.
Any time educational placement is discussed, be sure to review the following factors:
- Pathway to language acquisition
- Communication tools used
- Type of educational programming
- Available services for the child
- Assessment results
- Other special factors, as outlined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Additionally, campus visits and interviews are more ways to help with educational placement decisions.
Navigating the Educational Placement Process
Placing a child who is deaf or hard of hearing in the right school or program can be a challenge as there are many options. The best place to begin is to determine what services the child is eligible for and what services your child will need.
To begin the process of placing a child who is deaf or hard of hearing into a school or program or to receive special education services, contact the local school to request an assessment for eligibility. A child’s eligibility is determined by the Admission, Review, Dismissal (ARD) committee after assessments and other data have been reviewed. The ARD committee will determine if the child is eligible for services under either:
For students is a school’s 504 program. A 504 committee will meet to evaluate students and develop individual accommodations, known as 504 plans. 504 plans typically involve supports and services a student needs to receive a free appropriate public education in the general education setting.
When a child qualifies for special education services, the ARD committee makes recommendations for the services, programs and placement which meet the student's needs, resulting in an Individual Education Plan (IEP).
As the child grows, his or her educational needs may change. It is critical to continue to monitor educational progress, language acquisition and changes in hearing. The ARD committee meets annually to review the IEP and any new data; however, parents may request an ARD meeting at any time. During the ARD, student, parents and professionals may decide to continue with services as originally determined, or they may request changes in either services or placement.
The following all offer support and resources to families navigating the Texas school system:
- the local school district
- Education Service Center Region 11, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
- Statewide Outreach Center at Texas School for the Deaf
Further information and guidance relating to educational progress and placement determinations can also be found at:
- The Texas Sensory Support Network
- Texas Project FIRST
- Resources for students ages three to five
- Self-advocacy for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students
- Placement Checklist for Preschool - Kindergarten
- Placement Checklist for Elementary - High School
- Optimizing Outcomes for Students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing: Educational Service Guidelines