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Texas: 10 school districts get $$ for autism/dyslexia

Sept 7, 2018, Corpus Christi (TX) Caller Times: These 10 school districts got money to improve autism and dyslexia programs https://www.caller.com/story/news/education/2018/09/07/these-10-districts-got-money-improve-autism-and-dyslexia-programs/1212735002/ The Texas Education Agency chose Robstown ISD to lead a multi-district collaboration that will introduce new programs for autistic and dyslexic students. On Friday, Robstown administrators summoned leaders from nine rural public school districts that will receive a portion of two $1 million grants awarded to Robstown ISD. … Officials chose to share the money to establish a collaborative network of autism and dyslexia professionals to meet the needs of the smaller district that are seldom chosen as recipients of the grants, Zimmerman said. … The grant for autism services, which Robstown dubbed the Autism Schools Sharing Innovative Services for Teachers and Students, targets students between the ages of 3 and 9 who are enrolled in prekindergarten through third grade. Robstown ISD will lead a multi-district effort to add new programs for autistic and dyslexic students. About 20 autistic students who will benefit from the new programs are currently enrolled in Robstown ISD schools. Districtwide, the district has about 30 more autistic students for a total of about 50. The grant is expected to impact about 300 autistic students across the 10 districts. Zimmerman and Mariana De La Rosa, who is a behavioral specialist at Robstown, led Friday's presentation for district leaders. They are particularly excited about training opportunities the grants will cover and new amenities at campuses with the highest populations of autistic students. Robstown ISD plans to build a sensory room for autistic children, which provide autistic children an environment that's more conducive to their sensory sensitivities. … Rooms at different Robstown elementary schools will be equipped with new lighting, bubble columns, swings, and trampolines, among other components that can provide a comforting environment for students depending on their needs. Currently, students rely on things like stress balls and "sensory breaks." The room will provide a fully immersive experience for students, which organizers are particularly excited about. "We get to finally think outside the box," Zimmerman said.