Special Education

Welcome to the TVCS SPED Hub! The links on the right provide a wealth of information. Using these, you will be able to subscribe to receive notifications, send an email, or just see what’s been happening lately. 
SPED Department Staff:
Dr. Tanisha Penick, School Psychologist
Dr. Tonia Stafford-McClure, School Psychologist
Kari van Eikhof, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Jamie Nichols, Speech and Language Pathologist
Livinia Snyder, Occupational Therapist
Sarah Price, Educational Specialist
Janet Terlow, Educational Specialist
Stephanie Henry, Educational Specialist


Sarah Price

Education Specialist

Janet Terlouw

Education Specialist

Special Education

Our student support services program is a fully inclusive program, designed to give students with learning disabilities and other mild to moderate disabilities support in their general education classrooms. We utilize a combination of push-in and pull-out support services, in order to maximize the benefit to the student and ensure that they remain in the Least Restrictive Environment as much as possible. The amount of push-in and pull-out support provided to each student is dependent upon their individual needs and their Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  
Our program maintains a high level of collaboration between the student’s entire IEP team. We are always collaborating and in communication with general education teachers, parents, and staff, to ensure we are supporting the student appropriately. Our number one priority is the student’s success and ensuring that through the use of accommodations, interventions, and additional academic support, each student can experience learning and growth.

Speech and Language

Role of the School-based Speech Pathologist:

The school-based Speech Pathologist’s goal is to remediate, improve or alleviate a student’s communication impairment within the educational setting. This is accomplished by either providing direct service to the student, consulting and collaborating with teachers and other special education staff, and/or providing parent education.

Speech Language Services are provided in the following areas:

Articulation: An articulation disorder involves difficulty making speech sounds. Sounds can be substituted, left off, added or changed. These errors may make it hard for people to understand your child. Young children often have developmental speech errors; such as making a “w” sound for an “r” sound (e.g., “wabbit” for “rabbit”) or leaving sounds out of words, such as “nana” for “banana.” If your child continues to make these errors past the expected age, they may have an articulation disorder.

Phonology: A phonological processing disorder involves patterns of sound errors. For example, substituting all sounds made in the back of the mouth like “k” and “g” for those in the front of the mouth like “t” and “d” (e.g., saying “tup” for “cup” or “das” for “gas”). Another example is cluster reduction. (“boken” for broken or “soon” for spoon). These errors can significantly decrease a child’s speech intelligibility. While it is common for young children learning speech to leave sounds out of the word, it is not expected as a child gets older. If a child continues to demonstrate speech error patterns, he or she may have a phonological process disorder.

Fluency: Stuttered speech often includes repetitions of sounds or parts of words, as well as prolongations of speech sounds. These dysfluencies occur more often in a child who stutters than they do in the general population. Some people who stutter appear very tense or “out of breath” when talking. Speech may become completely stopped or blocked. Blocked is when the mouth is positioned to say a sound, sometimes for several seconds, with little or no sound forthcoming. Interjections such as “um” or “like” can occur, and may be repeated (“u- um- um”) or prolonged (“uuuum).

Voice Disorders: Voice disorders can be present when the child’s voice sounds hoarse or raspy, too loud or too soft, has breaks in voicing or has the pitch change suddenly. The child may run out of air during a sentence or have speech that is difficult to understand because too much air is escaping through the nose (hypernasality) or too little air is coming out through the nose (hyponasality).

Language: A Language Processing Disorder can affect expressive language (what you say) and/or receptive language (how you understand what others say). Areas of difficulty can include: difficulty gaining meaning from spoken language, poor written output, poor reading comprehension, difficulty expressing thoughts in verbal form, difficulty labeling objects or recognizing labels. The child may often be frustrated by having a lot to say and no way to say it, can describe an object and draw it, but can’t think of the word for it, or has difficulty understanding jokes (nonliteral language).

Pragmatics: Pragmatics is the social use of language, and it includes three areas:
1. Using language for different purposes, such as: greeting (e.g., hello, goodbye), informing (e.g., I’m going to get a cookie), demanding (e.g., Give me a cookie), promising (e.g., I’m going to get you a cookie), or requesting (e.g., I would like a cookie, please).
2. Changing language according to the needs of a listener or situation, such as: talking differently to a baby than to an adult, giving background information to an unfamiliar listener, and speaking differently in a classroom than on a playground.
3. Following rules for conversations and storytelling, such as: taking turns in conversation, introducing topics of conversation, staying on topic, rephrasing when misunderstood, how to use verbal and nonverbal signals, how close to stand to someone when speaking, and how to use facial expressions and eye contact.

Process of Referral

There are many options for your student prior to pursuing evaluation for special education.
  • First, all concerns regarding your child’s academic progress should first be discussed with your child’s teacher. 
  • The initial process to address academic, speech/language or behavioral concers is conduct a Student Study   Team meeting. At this time, your child’s teacher, relevant staff with expertise in various areas, and an administrator will discuss your concerns and develop intervention plan for your student. 
  • At TVCS, we believe in early intervention through our Math Intervention after school program, ROAR, and computer-based intervention programs. Part of your child’s plan may be to participate in these programs. 
  • Student’s typically participate in 12-18 weeks of intervention while their progress is monitored prior to being referred for assessment. If you child is responding to intervention, we will continue to engage in what is working for your child!

Child Find

TVCS must implement an ongoing system to locate, identify and evaluate all children birth to 21 residing within its jurisdiction who have disabilities and need early intervention under Part C or special education under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act. TVCS must identify all children with disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disabilities, including children who are:

  1. Highly mobile, such as migrant and homeless children; 2024-2025 Annual Notifications and Required Postings
  2. Wards of the State;
  3. Suspected of having a disability even though they advance from grade to grade; or
  4. Home schooled.

TVCS’s child find efforts must include:

  1. Communication to Parents/Guardians. Inform parents and guardians about the availability of special education and related services and provide them with information about initiating a referral for a special education evaluation, including information about early intervention under Part C and special education under Part B.
  2. Staff awareness. Ensure that staff members are knowledgeable about the characteristics of children with disabilities and in need of special education, and the referral process for all children, including infants or preschool children, suspected of having disabilities.