Special Education Services​

​Birth through age 21

Federal law (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act) and Maryland state laws require that all students with disabilities be provided a “free, appropriate public education” that helps them learn and prepares them for employment and daily living. This means local public school districts will provide individualized or special education and related services to students with disabilities from birth until they leave high school. Students who leave high sch​ool prior to their 22nd birthday will no longer be eligible for these services. 

Services are provided as part of a written Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP) for children age 0-3, or an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for children in Pre-K through 12th grade. Differences between IFSP and IEP services.​  

Early Childhood Special Education (IFSP)


Pre-K Special Education Services


K-12th Grade Special Education (IEP) 

K-12 Special Education​ 



Special Education Dispute Resolution

​If you have concerns about your student's special education services that you are not able to address with your IEP team, you can contact:
To learn more about dispute resolution and special education rights:

Private & MANSEF PreK-12th Grade Schools​​

Sometimes, parents and the local school system may decide that a student with disabilities' needs can be better met in a nonpublic (private) school.  Some students with intensive needs may be enrolled in a nonpublic special education school (sometimes referred to as a MANSEF school). 

Students with needs that cannot be met by the local public school are still entitled to a "free appropriate public education." In many cases, the local school system will continue to pay for the student's special education services in the nonpublic school. However, if parents place their student in a nonpublic school "unilaterally" (meaning without consulting the local school system), the local school system may no longer be required to pay for special education services.