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Old 04-12-2012, 07:52 AM
 
243 posts, read 298,144 times
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We are moving to the DFW area sometime in July. We have a non-verbal developmentally delayed 4 year old son who is low to intermediate functioning and we will be looking for schools for him. Based on some other factors (DART access to medical district, etc), we are focusing on homes in two potential areas - Las Colinas in Irving or Irving in general, and White Rock / Lake Highlands area (which I believe comes under the Richardson ISD). My preliminary info, mainly from older posts on this forum, is that these two places have reasonably good spl ed schools.

We are coming down there in a few weeks time to look at some homes, and this would also be a good time to look at schools. (Our home budget is between 250 -400k, and yes short distance to a DART station is important for us unfortunately). We plan to call the school districts and are hoping some preliminary info here can help us better direct those conversations and the visit.

I would greatly appreciate any information on the following:

1/ how good are the public schools for special education in the above mentioned 2 places?

2/ are there particular schools within these ISDs that we should be specifically looking into (eg White Rock Ele, Las Villita Ele, etc)?

3/ are there other DFW locations that are reachable to the medical district by DART and have good special ed schools?

4/ any info on how the transfer process from out-of-state into a DFW school works?

5/ also, are there good spl ed private schools that are close to the above locations?

Sorry for all the questions and thanks v much for reading!
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:20 PM
 
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I do not know much about Richardson ISD, here are my thoughts about Irving:

Irving is served by 3 school districts: Irving ISD, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD & Coppell ISD. I am pretty sure Irving ISD provides the best service for low-functioning children in the metroplex. You haven't mentioned the specific developmental disabilities your child has (I presume the kid has been tested) but I have been hearing a lot about Farine Elementary & Johnston Elementary, especially for Low Incidence (Non Verbal, Multiple Impairment/Profoundly disabled) education. Clifton Early Childhood is also a name that comes up in many conversations. Almost all other Irving ISD schools have good Special Ed programs. Not all of them will work well for you & your child however.

La Villita is a great place to live (the only bad thing about that community is that the HoA is literally paranoid about maintenance & property upkeep - beware) and La Villita is a great school. But it is not suitable for a student with low functioning needs. Also La Villita is CFB-ISD and not Irving ISD.

Private schools are good for high-functioning but not for low-functioning/LID children. A lot depends on the specific nature of your child's disabilities.

There is DART rail & bus service in Irving. There is also a new DART line (with stations near North Lake College & Las Colinas). Perhaps somebody more knowledgeable than me can provide inputs on when it will be operational.

MacArthur Blvd & O'Connor Rd are the two key roads. Stay North of Highway 183, on or arterial to these two roads.

The question of out-of-state transfer does not arise since your child is 4 years old and leads me to believe that you might not be aware of the 5 years on September rule that Texas follows. Check out any school's website for details on admission age requirement. If your child does not meet that rule, s/he will go to an Early Childhood school which serves special needs kids below 5 years age.

Bottomline: Here is what I would do if I were you...
(a) Start talking to Irving ISD Special Ed department. Typically a school district will not test a child till you provide a residence address within the school district boundary. However you should try to engage with the district on sp.ed. services that they provide and try to visit the schools that I mentioned. Almost all info is on the website. Without aggravating the Special Ed department, try to telephone & talk to the teachers directly in your target schools. Be candid about your lack of knowledge & that you are new to the area. Special needs Teachers are crazy busy & have very stressful classroom hours - be sensitive about that as you try to reach them. Most will try to redirect you to Sp.ed. dept but you might get lucky & strike up a rapport with a teacher who provides inside info.
(b) Find a hotel within Irving ISD boundary & book a room. Stay there for 2 - 3 days (never easy when you have a special needs child). Get familiar with the owner/manager of the hotel & request them to collect mail for you. Give hotel address as your temporary residential address to Irving ISD and ask them to test your child. The process will take any where from 2 - 8 weeks depending on the nature of the disability. They will provide interim admission and will also indicate which school your child is likely to go to.
(c) Unfortunately except for a few areas in Las Colinas, most of the better residential areas of Irving are served by CFB-ISD or Coppell ISD. The two areas you must house hunt around are the communities opposite Tom Thumb on MacArthur and the communities between NorthGate and Rochelle (forget the names of these communities. There are some very nice houses within your price range.

Buy, live & spend within Irving. It is a good place to live & you will not be disappointed.

Best wishes on the move. Please PM me in case you have any questions.

God bless you & god bless your child.

Last edited by caroldixit; 04-18-2012 at 12:53 PM..
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:32 PM
 
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Hi Moving - We're moving, too, and our son has high-functioning autism. I'm working through Autism Speaks to try to find support groups in the DFW area and to get tips on schools. Good luck to you!
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:09 PM
 
243 posts, read 298,144 times
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Thank you Carol for the very detailed response and suggestions reg. specific schools and areas to look for homes.

Btw, am I reading this right from afar - Irving ISD, even if it is not among the top performing ISDs otherwise, is very good for special needs services? Is there any particular reason for that?

To give an idea of my son's functional level: he is probably at the 60% performance range overall for his age, but is nonverbal / very early verbal. No behavioral issues at all. He is globally delayed, with more severe communication deficits. I am not sure if he can be called autistic, more like global developmental delay with some autistic features. We have had a lot of testing but no specific diagnosis. He has motor / low tone issues (started walking at 2.8 years, still not comfortable climbing stairs, etc). He has good social skills (happy, likes people, perfect eye contact, sociable, etc.). If you saw him for 5 minutes, you wouldn't think there was anything wrong with him.

Yes, we had been thinking of living in the Las Colinas area. But if Irving ISD is much better than C-FB for special needs, we can move to the area of L/C served by Irving ISD or the other areas you mentioned in Irving. Btw I had called C-FB ISD and they had said that if we lived in Las Colinas, our son will be bused to C-FB's Landry elementary as that is the closest campus with spl needs services.

We will be there in the next 3-4 weeks and will be looking at schools.

Thanks again!
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:16 PM
 
243 posts, read 298,144 times
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Thanks NctoTX

How can I get info from AutismSpeaks about schools with good services. Although my son is more like global delay with some autistic features, the information they have will be helpful to us.

I checked their website but could not find a contact #.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCtoTX2012 View Post
Hi Moving - We're moving, too, and our son has high-functioning autism. I'm working through Autism Speaks to try to find support groups in the DFW area and to get tips on schools. Good luck to you!
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Simmering in DFW
6,948 posts, read 19,462,006 times
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Rentals that are serviced by Farine or Johnston elementary schools in Irving:
434 Hanover Ln Irving TX - Home for Rent - MLS #11748631 - Realtor.com®
3330 Ricci Lane Irving TX - Home for Rent - MLS #11742425 - Realtor.com®
3002 Cortez Ct E Irving TX - Home for Rent - MLS #11749590 - Realtor.com®
4601 N O Connor Rd N Unit: 1277 Irving TX - Home for Rent - MLS #11755619 - Realtor.com®
330 Las Colinas Boulevard Unit: 1124 Irving TX - Home for Rent - MLS #11735009 - Realtor.com®
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:32 PM
 
243 posts, read 298,144 times
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Thank you - that is very useful.

The Las Colinas condo served by Irvine ISD / Farine Ele looks a good one to rent.


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Old 04-19-2012, 12:53 PM
 
97 posts, read 242,131 times
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Any school's overall performance rating - if it includes test scores - can be skewed by special education programs. At least that's what we're told in NC. So a school that looks "so-so" in the state ranking system could be A++ for special ed programs.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:06 PM
 
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When you have time you might check out Connectionskids.com It is a magazine that has almost all services available in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for kids with special needs.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:11 PM
 
8,313 posts, read 9,074,437 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCtoTX2012 View Post
Any school's overall performance rating - if it includes test scores - can be skewed by special education programs. At least that's what we're told in NC. So a school that looks "so-so" in the state ranking system could be A++ for special ed programs.
That's how it works here as well. To me it's a system that only school administrators and the .gov could generate.
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