KILLEEN, TX — Thousands of students are in special education programs across the Lone Star State.
In Bell County, more than 9,000 students are enrolled in special education courses. More than 3,000 students are enrolled in special education courses in Brazos County. In McLennan County, there are almost 5,000 students enrolled in special education courses.
Experts shared it can sometimes take years before someone with special needs receives the resources they need.
"The wait lists in the state of Texas are about 15 years long, for the Texas housing list and Medicaid waiver programs," said Tina Capito, District Transition Specialist with Killeen ISD.
The Central Texas Special Needs Fair kicked off Friday in Killeen to spread the word and encourage families to sign up for services as soon as they can.
Riana Turner shared ever since her son Ronald's autism diagnosis, finding the right help has been quite the process.
She has spent months on waiting lists. She stopped by the fair to seek additional resources.
"I found an ABA therapy place here that doesn't have a waiting list," said Turner.
Capito said the moment you discover your child has special needs, it is best to seek help immediately.
In addition to a number of information booths, the fair featured more than 25 parent sessions where parents took classes, listened to agencies and were exposed to even more resources.