GISD Departments   Special Education

Special Education

Click HERE to learn about Scholarships and Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities


Dr. Colleen Netterville, Director of Special Education

1001 Kentucky Street
Graham, TX  76450

Phone:  940.549.3399


In the Graham Independent School District, we believe that all children are entitled to educational opportunities consistent with their ability to learn.  Numerous programs are available for children with disabilities from birth through age twenty-one.  Through our staff of dedicated professionals and the support of our community, our programs have a proven track record for success.

Child Find

The Special Education Program for Children with Disabilities provides services for children ages birth through 21.  If you are aware of a child who is suspected of having a disability, please contact GISD/Department of Individualized Instruction (940) 549-3399 or Region IX Education Service Center (940) 322-6928 or (940) 322-8297 for information about screening and evaluation at no cost.

Public schools in Texas provide for the special education of children who have a disability.  Children with identified physical, mental, perceptual, speech, language, social and/or emotional disabilities may be eligible for the program.  Children with vision and/or hearing problems may be eligible for services beginning at birth.  GISD/Department of Individualized Instruction will use information from a variety of sources to determine eligibility according to Texas Education Agency guidelines.


El programa de Educación Especial para niños con incapacidades ofrece servicios para niños recién nacidos hasta la edad de 21 años.  Si usted sabe de un niño que quisás tendrá una incapacidad, favor de ponerse en contacto con Graham ISD (940) 549-3399 o Region IX Education Service Center (940) 322-6928, (940) 322-8297 o (800) 375-8297 para obtener informaci?n sobre estos servicios.  Estos servicios son gratis.

Description of Programs


In this arrangement, children are enrolled with their peers in a regular classroom, and, depending upon the nature of their difficulty, they are seen by a specially trained teacher for various lengths of time to work on specific academic skills.  Some children may be seen individually by the resource teacher or in small groups.  The extensiveness of contact with the resource teacher will largely depend upon the severity of the child’s difficulty.  The resource teacher is housed in a classroom that is specially equipped to meet the individual student needs.  The resource teacher may also assist student in their regular classroom.


The collaborative effort of the special education teacher/teaching assistant and the regular classroom teacher focuses on helping students learn effectively in the educational mainstream setting.  Content Mastery encourages students to take responsibility for learning.  By using a specially equipped Content Mastery classroom, instruction is supplemented and reinforced.  The special education teacher/teaching assistant operates as a consultant/facilitator and provides a system of developing strategies and procedures for instruction that will accommodate the student so that all content instruction may occur in the regular classroom.


Students who have been determined by a certified or licensed speech language pathologist to have a communication disorder may receive articulation or language therapy in their home school.


Three-, four- and five-year olds with disabilities can participate in this instructional program. Students are eligible if they are determined by an interdisciplinary team to exhibit significant delay beyond the accepted variations in normal development in one or more of the following areas:

  • Cognitive;
  • Gross or fine motor;
  • Language or speech;
  • Social or emotional; and
  • Self-help skills.

Referrals are accepted on students from ages two years, nine months to five years.  Deaf or blind children may be eligible for services at birth.

Services for students include assessments; physical, occupational, and speech therapy; activities to develop cognitive and social/emotional and self-help skills; and adaptive equipment and transportation.  Families are served through training and planned coordination of these services.


Extended School Year (ESY) are provided for students who demonstrate severe regression (substantial loss of critical skills) that requires extensive recoupment (relearning).  The Texas Education Agency selected an eight-week period as the maximum permissible time for recoupment by disabled students and considers anything longer than eight weeks as constituting a severe or substantial regression.  The ARD Committee determines on an individual basis which students require an extended school year.  The primary purpose of ESY is to maintain mastered skills from the previous year’s individualized educational plan.


The Homebound program is a means of providing a continuation of educational instruction for students who, because of serious illnesses, accidents, etc…, are unable to attend school for an extended period of time (at least four consecutive weeks).  The success of the homebound instructional program for each student relies on the involvement of the homebound teacher, the regular classroom teacher, the student and the student’s parents.


These classes serve students with severe disabilities. L.I.F.E. Skills classes prepare these students to perform meaningful activities in a variety of domestic, vocational, recreational and community environments.  The L.I.F.E. Skills teacher utilizes materials and educational equipment necessary for these students to transfer skills learned in the classroom setting to natural environments.


Vocational Adjustment Class utilizes the environment of the classroom coupled with the community world of work to instruct disabled students to reach their potential.  The classroom/community approach enables a disabled student the opportunity to transfer classroom knowledge to the work community and acquire acceptance and marketable skills necessary to succeed in the competitive job force.


Students remain in regular classes with support from special education teachers who monitor progress and assist the regular teacher with modifications of tests, materials, and other supports necessary for students to be successful in the regular curriculum.


Regular and special education teachers plan lessons and teach a subject together to a class of special and regular education students.


A teacher of visually impaired provides specialized instruction and support to the blind and visually impaired students of the district.  A multi-disciplinary team assesses the student’s cognitive ability, academic achievement, language skills, motor performance, and social/emotional functioning.


A teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing provides specialized instruction and support to the eligible students of the district.  The overall objective of the program is to enable these students to communicate effectively so that they will be able to live full and productive lives. 


Special services are available to help special needs students benefit from their education.  When deemed appropriate by the ARD committee, related services are provided.  Services may include but are not limited to:

  • Audiology
  • Counseling
  • Transportation
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Adapted physical education
  • Vision services
  • Augmentative assistive technology
  • Orientation and mobility


  • Auditory (hearing) impairment
  • Autism
  • Deaf-blind
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Learning disability
  • Mental retardation
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Other health impairment
  • Speech impairment
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Visual impairment


To receive special education services, a child must meet specific criteria defined by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).  Usually an adult close to the child will notice signs that indicate a possible disability.  Perhaps the child doesn’t respond to sounds, indicating an auditory impairment.  Perhaps the child is lagging behind his peers in motor skills like grasping, crawling or walking.  At this point, the parent or doctor may contact the neighborhood school for assistance.

Each school has a Student Support Team which reviews all information and, if appropriate, refers the student for a Full Individual Evaluation (FIE).  Special education staff administers appropriate assessment to obtain specific information about the child’s strengths and needs.  An Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee will then review all of the available data, and determine whether a child qualifies for services.  This committee, which includes the parent, administrator, special education teacher, regular education teacher, assessment specialist, and other staff familiar with the student’s needs, makes all decisions concerning the educational program/services of a student referred to or receiving special education support.


ARD is an acronym for the Admission, Review and Dismissal committee.  This committee, which includes the parent, administrator, teacher, and other staff familiar with the student’s needs, makes all decisions concerning the educational program/services of a student referred to or receiving special education support.

Dyslexia & Dysgraphia

Physical and Occupational Therapists

Section 504


The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, commonly known in the schools as “Section 504,” is a federal law passed by the United States Congress with the purpose of prohibiting discrimination against disabled persons who may participate in, or receive benefits from, programs receiving federal financial assistance.  In the public schools specifically, §504 applies to ensure that eligible disabled students are provided with educational benefits and opportunities equal to those provided to non-disabled students.

Under §504, a student is considered “disabled” if he or she suffers from a physical oor mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of their major life activities, such as learning, walking, seeing, hearing, breathing, working, and performing manual tasks.  Section 504 also applies to students with a record of having a substantially-limiting impairment, or who are regarded as being disabled even if they are truly not disabled.  Students can be considered disabled, and can receive services under §504, even if they do not qualify for, or receive, special education services.

Special Olympics

Practice Times:

Monday at 6:00-7:00pm….Graham Rockets

Tuesday at 1:00-2:00pm….Jr. High Dogies, Woodland Wildcats, Crestview Stars

Graham Steers will work out during the PE class (1st period)….Monday/Wednesday

Speech/Language Services

Transition Services

Graham ISD provides transition services for eligible students in order to coordinate movement from school to post-school activities such as post-secondary education, vocational assessment and training, employment, college/adult education support, volunteer experience, independent living skills, and links to community agencies.  Please contact Kristina Martin at 940-549-3399 for more information.

The following resources provide more information on transition services in Texas.

Texas Transition and Employment Guide 2014

Texas Transition and Employment Guide Spanish 2014

Info to access the on-line guide

GRAHAM INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT  ·  400 Third Street  ·  Graham, TX 76450 Ph: (940) 549-0595 | 
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