Programs and Services

Richardson ISD offers a variety of services and programs designed to address all students served through Special Education and Section 504.

Early Childhood Special Education

Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) provides a developmentally appropriate preschool experience for students 3-5 years old with developmental disabilities with a low student to teacher ratio. The program is located at selected elementary campuses throughout the district.

Instruction incorporates the utilization of learning centers and an experiential approach emphasizing communication, readiness, vocational, personal management, socialization, and motor skills. Parent involvement is an essential part of the program and is enhanced through conferences and school/home communication.

Resource Program

The Special Education Resource Program serves students in grades K-12 with specially designed instruction. The Resource Program supports students in special education with services students need that allow them to be successful with attaining progress on goals and objectives connected to their learning. Support from the Resource Program may include consultation services with general education teachers, direct inclusion support in the general education classroom, and/or pull-out support into the special education classroom.

Resource Program support is available on all RISD campuses.

Developmental Learning Classroom (DLC)

The Developmental Learning Classroom (DLC) includes students with significant deficits in cognitive and adaptive behaviors who demonstrate significant needs in functional and developmental areas. Instruction emphasizes functional and developmental skills including communication, socialization, personal management, vocational, and functional academics. DLC program classrooms are centralized and provide a continuum of services.

Specially designed curriculum is used to teach the prerequisite level of TEKS that matches each student’s needs. Students are provided with meaningful inclusion opportunities that meet their individual needs and allow them to be integral participants in their school community. Students must be identified by the ARD committee as students with a cognitive impairment who require instruction in an alternate curriculum aligned with grade level TEKS.

Active Learning Classroom (ALC)

The Active Learning Classroom (ALC) setting provides specially designed instruction at the prerequisite skill level to students with significant cognitive and communication impairments and physical needs who require a high level of support in order to participate in their school environment and activities of daily living. Students will typically receive academic and related services in
their special education classroom.

Opportunities to be included in general education classrooms for socialization will be determined by the ARD committee. For the students in an Active Learning Classroom the primary emphasis is on motivating the student to interact and engage with their environment and participate in activities of daily living in a meaningful manner. Students must be identified by the ARD committee as students with significant cognitive and communication impairments and physical needs who require a high level of support in order to participate in the school environment and activities of daily living.

ALC classrooms are centralized and available at predetermined campuses.

Structured Classroom Program (SC)

The Structured Classroom Programs are designed to include students who need high levels of support and structure to meet academic, social, behavioral, and communication needs through the systematic use of evidenced-based instructional strategies and interventions. Structured Classrooms are centralized and provide a continuum of services.

Structured Learning Classroom (SLC)
The Structured Learning Classroom (SLC) is a centralized, instructional setting designed for students who need an individualized, high level of support and structure to meet academic, social, behavioral and communication needs. SLC provides a high degree of structure, a low student to staff ratio, and systematic use of a variety of research-based interventions to enhance instruction, develop communication skills, and manage student behavior.

Students are encouraged and supported to participate in academic and non-academic activities with their general education peers throughout the school day. SLCs are located on designated general education campuses throughout the District. Placement in a SLC Program is determined by the student’s ARD committee.

Structured Developmental Classroom (SDC)
This instructional setting provides specifically designed instruction at the prerequisite level for students with significant to moderate cognitive impairment and/or autism whose current primary educational focus is determined to be communication. The environment is highly structured, predictable, and consistent with limited fluctuation from day to day. Positive behavior supports are utilized to foster appropriate independent and group learning skills. Specialized curriculum is focused on developing and strengthening receptive language, expressive language, spontaneous language, academics, and functional routines. Placement in a SDC is determined by the student’s ARD committee.

SDC classrooms are centralized and available at predetermined campuses.

Positive Approaches to Student Success (PASS)

The Positive Approaches to Student Success (PASS) is a centralized instructional setting designed for students who demonstrate significant behavioral and emotional challenges that require intensive support after all other efforts have been unsuccessful. This program is designed to address students’ academic and behavioral needs with highly individualized behavioral management approaches and positive behavioral supports. Students are provided with a highly structured and predictable learning environment which focuses on individualized positive and negative consequence systems. Social skills training is a critical curriculum component in P ASS. A primary goal of PASS is to increase academic and behavioral success so that students can be gradually transitioned back into Resource and General Education settings.

PASS classrooms are centralized located on select general education campuses throughout the District. Placement in a PASS class is an ARD committee decision.

Deaf Education

Richardson ISD has a shared service arrangement with the Plano Regional Day School for the Deaf (RDSPD) to serve deaf and hard of hearing students from birth through age 21. Depending on the ARD Committee’s evaluation of the educational needs of the student, the student may be served on their home campus by an itinerant deaf education teacher or at the Plano RDSPD campuses in Plano.

Ages of Students Served: Birth – 21 years old
Campus Locations: All locations; Plano Regional Day School Program for the Deaf

19 TAC § 89.1080 

Speech Therapy

Speech therapy is an instructional service in which speech pathologists provide intervention to students who have been identified as having a communication disorder such as impaired articulation, language impairment, stuttering, or a voice impairment that adversely affects the student’s educational performance.

Speech therapy services may be delivered in a special education setting or in a general education classroom to any speech impaired student age 3 through 21. Licensed speech pathologists are available on every campus and serve students in general education classes as well as those enrolled in special programs such as the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities. 

The Small Talk Program serves students who have been identified as having primarily an articulation or fluency disorder.

Ages of Students Served: 3 – 21 years old
Campus Locations: All campuses

34 CFR § 300.8(c)(11), 19 TAC § 89.1040

Homebound Services

Homebound Services provide home-based or hospital bedside instruction to students who are confined to the home or hospital by a physician for a period of at least four weeks. While services cannot replicate campus-based instruction, the support that is provided by a homebound teacher allows progress through the curriculum.

Ages of Students Served: Any school-age student
Campus Locations: All campuses

19 TAC §89.63


Private School Services

In response to state and federal Child Find requirements, Richardson ISD provides evaluation services to students age 3 years or older who are suspected of having a disability and who attend a home school or a non-profit private school within the district’s boundaries. If a child is identified with an educational disability, an Individual Service Plan (ISP) is developed and special education services are provided in alignment with the current Private School Plan for RISD.

The RISD Private School Plan provides for speech therapy services for students identified with a speech impairment. Eligible students will receive these services to the extent that resources allow.

Related Services

Through special education and as defined in IDEA, related services are provided to enable the student to benefit from their educational programming that may be modified through the use of accommodations, supplementary aids, adaptive equipment, or other special arrangements such as transportation.


  • Assistive Technology
    Assistive Technology can be any service that directly assists a student with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device (i.e. FM system for hearing, switch access for communication, augmentative communication device).
  • Audiological Services
    The identification of students with hearing loss by a licensed audiologist in order to determine the need for services and supports (i.e. amplification devices, auditory training).
  • Counseling and Psychological Services
    Counseling and psychological services provide guidance and support in the school environment to address behavioral, emotional or social difficulties.
  • In-Home and Parent Training
    In-Home/Parent Training (IH/PT) is a collaboration between school and home to build students’ and parents’ skills so that student progress can be generalized and maintained within home and community settings.
  • Interpretive Services
    Interpretive services include interpreting/transliterating receptively and expressively for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Music Therapy
    Music Therapy addresses cognitive, behavioral, physical, emotional and social skills, as well as communication and sensorimotor skills through music therapy strategies to address non-musical IEP goals and objectives.
  • Occupational Therapy
    Occupational therapy services support the development of skills relevant to the educational setting in the areas of fine motor, self-care and sensory processing. OT can also support the use of adaptive equipment or assistive technology.
  • Orientation and Mobility
    Orientation and Mobility services include aids, methods, services and skills development to enable students with a visual impairment to move from one place to another with safety and purpose in their environment.
  • Physical Therapy
    Physical Therapy services are provided to support a student’s ability to access and participate in their educational program and to support the development of relevant skills in the areas of gross motor, self-care and mobility. PT can also support the use of adaptive equipment.
  • School Health Services
    School Health Services includes the monitoring of student health conditions based on physician orders and/or implications in the school setting. (i.e. medication administration, gastrostomy tube feeding, or care in urgent situations).
  • Transportation Services
    Special transportation services are provided when necessary to implement a student’s educational program due to centralized placement, safety factors, and/or the need for special equipment.

Transition Programs

Richardson Independent School District is committed to preparing all students for adult life in an inclusive and age-appropriate setting. RISD Transition staff works in collaboration with students with disabilities and their families. The Transition Staff supports students in the community and on the job by teaching skills needed to be successful in all areas of adult life. The mission of these programs is to work with businesses, community leaders, community college and adult agencies to help students develop a better quality of life in the areas of employment, independent living, personal recreation, adult education and community involvement.

Students enrolled in a RISD Transition Program have finished their academic credit requirements for high school graduation. They are 18-22 years of age and demonstrate an ongoing need for services to complete their Individual Education Plan. Students develop skills through community involvement, volunteer jobs, internships, and paid competitive employment. Additional training is provided in public transportation, safety, budgeting, and social aptitude to improve independent living skills.

Students interested in participating in one of the following transition programs should contact their high school case manager or Vocational Adjustment Coordinator to schedule a Person Centered Plan. This plan will be presented to an ARD committee to determine which program or programs will best meet the student’s needs:

  • Discovery Plus
  • YUMS Cart
  • Transition Program,
  • Project SEARCH
  • Campus Life Program

For further information please contact:
Kara Hayman, Richardson ISD Transition Coordinator

Texas Transition and Employment Guide
Transition and Employment Guide (English)
Transition and Employment Guide (Spanish)

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