Jenna Dunaway
Director of Special Education
205 Civic Center Drive
Thomaston, GA 30286

Exceptional Children Services

The Exceptional Children Services department serves students ages 3-21 years considered to have a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Students being served must meet the eligibility criteria in any of the following areas: autism, deaf/blind, emotional and behavioral disorder, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, orthopedic, other health impairment, severe emotional and behavioral disorder, specific learning disability, significant development delay, speech/language impairment, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment.  Thomaston-Upson's students with disabilities are provided specialized instruction and related services. Teachers and paraprofessionals work collaboratively with school staff and parents to assure that students with disabilities are provided appropriate learning experiences and opportunities.


GA DOE Special Ed Services & Supports
GA Learning Resources System (GLRS)
Parents Rights Brochure

Records Requests

Requests for student records should be made to Joyce Williams, Exceptional Children Services Administrative Assistant.
Phone: 706-647-7911
FAX: 706-647-7154


Child Find

What is Child Find?

The purpose of Child Find is to identify, locate, and evaluate children and youth, birth to age 21, who are suspected of, or have a disability or developmental delay. Thomaston-Upson Schools serve children ages 3 through 21 with identified special education needs.


How can children be referred?

A referral may be made by anyone who has a concern about a child’s development. All referrals are considered confidential. The parent retains the right to refuse services. Children may be referred by any of the following:

  • Parents/legal guardians/foster parents
  • Physicians/health care providers
  • Preschool programs
  • School system personnel
  • Community agencies
  • Private school personnel


When should a child be referred to Child Find?

A child should be referred when:

  • A health or medical disorder interferes with development or learning.
  • A child seems to have difficulty seeing or hearing.
  • A child appears to have social, emotional or behavioral difficulties that affect his/her ability to learn.
  • A child has diagnosed progressive or degenerative condition that will eventually impair or impede the child’s ability to learn.
  • A child seems to have difficulty understanding directions like others that are his/her age.
  • A child’s speech is not understandable to family or friends.
  • A child has difficulty with reading, math, or other school subjects.


What is the Exceptional Children Services Program and who is eligible for services?

The Exceptional Children Services Program is specialized, intensive instruction designed to meet the unique learning strengths and needs of individual students with disabilities from birth through age 21. A child must be evaluated and identified as having a disability to be eligible for Special Education and/or related services. Programs are provided for students in all disability areas recognized by the State of Georgia. Disability categories are: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Deaf/Blind, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Emotional and Behavioral Disorder, Intellectual Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Significant Developmental Delay, Specific Learning Disability, Speech/Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, Visual Impairment.


Where can I find out more about Child Find?

For a preschool aged child, with a chronological age of 3 through 5, who has or may have a developmental disability, please contact Thomaston-Upson Exceptional Children Services Department at 706-647-7911.

Parents of students, kindergarten through 12th grade, who suspect their child may have a disability, should contact the teacher, principal, MTSS Coordinator, counselor or Exceptional Children Services Department.

Annual Child Find & Proportionate Share Meeting

Who Should Attend? Parents of Private and Home Schools Students with or suspected of having a disability.

When?                             July 29 @ 6:00 pm

Where?                            Upson-Lee Middle School

                                            101 Holstun Drive

                                            Thomaston, GA 30286

TU ECS Preschool Services Program

The TU ECS Preschool Services Program provides special education services for three and four year old children with significant developmental delays or specific disabilities. The preschool program for children with disabilities will continue to collaboratively provide comprehensive exceptional children services for Thomaston-Upson School System.


The TU ECS Preschool Services Program serves children who meet state eligibility for a disability category or significant delay in development. The child who shows possible delays in thinking, speaking, moving, seeing or hearing should be referred for an evaluation. There is no fee involved. Children may be referred by parents, social agencies, preschool programs, the medical community, or other interested individuals.


The TU ECS Preschool Services Program works collaboratively with Early Intervention, Head Start, Pre-K Programs, private preschool providers and daycare programs in an effort to provide special education services in conjunction with regular preschool services. The primary consideration in providing services is the child first! Developmentally appropriate opportunities are a focus for any service.


Preschool experience does make a difference. Service plans are developed based on the need of the individual. A collaborative interagency model focuses on parents, caregivers and specialists working together. Children may be served in a class setting or in their usual preschool setting. The TU ECS Preschool Services Program also provides a monthly newsletter and parent training sessions which are ongoing.


Concerned parents might ask:

  • Speech/Language:      Can others understand your child’s speech?
  • Motor Skills: Can your child find and pick up small objects? Can your child walk, run, and jump?
  • Social Skills: Can your child play with other children?
  • Early Learning: Can your child master new skills? Does your child seem to understand you?


For more information or to refer a child in Thomaston-Upson school system call the Thomaston-Upson Special Ed office at 706-647-7911.


FY25 Child Find Proportionate Share Meeting


Proportionate Share

What is Proportionate Share?

Federal law requires that local school districts allocate a Proportionate Share of their IDEA funds to provide exceptional children services for private and home school children identified as students with disabilities under IDEA. 

Districts are required to hold annual meetings and/or communicate regularly with private school and home school parents/programs to determine the services most appropriate for eligible students. Currently, Thomaston-Upson Schools provides speech/language therapy for Proportionate Share students. The FY23 Equitable Services for Private Schools (ES4PS) meeting including Child Find & Proportionate Share meeting was held on June 2, 2022 at 10:00 AM. The meeting was held at Thomaston-Upson Board of Education Office. 

At the annual Proportionate Share meeting, the district and the attendees determined that Speech/Language services would continue to be the exceptional children service provided to private and home school children identified as students with disabilities. The district works collaboratively with private schools and parents to provide times and locations for Speech/Language services and reimbursement for transportation (as needed).

How many funds does the district have to spend on private and/or home school children identified as students with disabilities under IDEA?

  • For ages 3-5, districts must spend the same per student proportion of IDEA funds on private school (schools considered an elementary school with a kindergarten) children that they spend on special education children enrolled in the public school.
  • For ages 3-21, districts must spend the same per student proportion of IDEA funds on private school children that they spend on special education children enrolled in the public school.
  • The total amount of proportionate share funds is based on the number of IDEA eligible 3-21 eligible private and/or home school students in Upson County. The Georgia Department of Education provides a funding formula.

Who do I contact regarding exceptional children services for my private school or home school students/children?

If you have questions regarding Proportionate Share services, please contact the TU Exceptional Children Services Department at 706-647-7911.