Office of Special Programs

402 Laurel Drive 77546
Karen Deshotel, Executive Director of Special Education
Dawn Claunch, Secretary

The Office
Our Staff

How to Get Help
Related Services
Special Olympics
Speech Therapy

The Office of Special Programs provides instructional and related services that includes Academic Supports, Behavioral Supports, Related Services, and Speech Therapy.

Special education services are governed by the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and regulations outlined by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). We are committed to providing a Free and Appropriate Public Education to ensure all students with disabilities make educational progress in their least restrictive environment.


The online Transition and Employment Guide is located on the Transition in Texas website from Region 11.
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* Meeting the definition of one or more of the categories of disabilities according to federal and state guidelines
* Needing specially designed instruction in order to benefit from education.

The Friendswood Independent School District conducts screening for any pre-school child ages 3-5 suspected of having a disability. Screenings are conducted at both Cline and Westwood Elementary Schools. The district also has programs serving older students with disabilities.

If you suspect your child has a disability contact the school counselor on the campus your child attends. Students having difficulty in the general education classroom should be considered for tutorial, compensatory, and other academic or behavior support services that are available to all students including a process based on Response to Intervention (RTI). The implementation of RTI has the potential to have a positive impact in meeting the needs of all struggling students.

Friendswood ISD Special Education Department serves students with disabilities in a variety of educational settings. Services are determined on an individual basis by an Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Committee meeting in compliance with the federal regulations under the Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA), the Texas State Board of Education, and the Texas Commissioner’s Rules. The district provides a full continuum of services to meet the needs of identified students. Students are served in the least restrictive environment appropriate to their needs. This includes placement options ranging from accommodations in the general education classroom setting or part-time pull-out programs to classes that are partially or completely self-contained.

In addition, Friendswood ISD provides appropriate accommodations to general education students who meet the criteria for protection from discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Students with disabilities are included in campus and district plans and are involved in the activities that all students enjoy in FISD as appropriate. If you know a child that you suspect has a disability, please contact the child’s school or call the special education office at 281-482-0687.

Students who are eligible for special education have:

1. been determined to have one of the following conditions: learning disability, speech impairment, emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairment, autism, visual impairment, auditory impairment, intellectual disability, traumatic brain injury, or other health impairment;

2. an educational need.
The following is a brief description of some of the special education services offered on our campuses. Other services deemed necessary by an Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Committee will be provided by the school. If you suspect that your child has a disability, please contact the school counselor or call
Karen Deshotel,
Executive Director of Special Education, 281-482-0687.

Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD):
A program for children as young as 3 years of age presenting a disability and in need of early intervention. Parents refer their child for testing by calling the Special Education Department at 281-482-0687.

Special Education Classes: Resource, Life Skills, Structured Learning, PASS:
Classes designed for students needing more assistance than can be provided in a general education classroom, due to academic, cognitive, or behavioral concerns.

Special education teachers or para-educators go into the general education classroom to assist students and/or teachers with students having special needs.

Speech Therapy:
Provided for students with articulation, voice, language, and/or fluency disorders. Assessment and therapy provided by a licensed speech/language pathologist.

Instruction provided at home by a certified teacher for students unable to attend school for health or physical reasons.

Occupational/Physical Therapy:
A related service provided for special education students determined to have deficits in fine and gross motor skills that impede educational progress. Services provided by licensed occupational and physical therapists.

Special Education Counseling:
Counseling as a related service is primarily for students with serious behavioral and/or emotional concerns who are unable to function successfully at school. This service is provided by Licensed Specialists in School Psychology (LSSP).

Special Education PTO:
A parent sponsored group dedicated to supporting and enhancing educational and social opportunities for students involved in special education through collaboration with parents, teachers, administrators and students of FISD.

Special Olympics:
Coached by one of the Special Education teachers and sponsored by FISD, Special Olympics is available to all students meeting the organization’s criteria. FISD students have participated at the local and state levels.

Special Transportation:
FISD school buses are equipped to transport students in wheelchairs and other students requiring special transportation. Transportation arrangements are handled on each campus, and determined by an ARD Committee.