"Special Education" means "specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability." Both federal law and Maryland state law require school systems in Maryland to provide individually designed educational plans (IEP) for all children with disabilities from kindergarten through high school. The school systems also have to provide transportation and other services that the child needs to benefit from special education.
Information on Special Education
"Special Education, Rights," a handbook for parents by the Maryland Disability Law Center, is an excellent starting point for a parent to understand the laws about special education. Copies of this handbook are available. Call 410-727-6352, extension 2650. One copy per family is free.
The Maryland Department of Education, Division of Special Education Early Intervention Services is an excellent resource. Some topics include:
- What is Special Education / Early Intervention Services?
- If you believe your child requires special education, who should you contact?
- Form to file a complaint with the Maryland State Department of Education (SEA).
Special Education and Federal Law
Important specific sections of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act:
- Sec. 1414. Evaluations, eligibility determinations, individualized education programs, and educational placements
- Sec. 1415. Procedural safeguards
- Sec. 1416. Withholding and judicial review
Special Education and Maryland Law
Important specific sections of the Maryland Code (enacted by the General Assembly):
The Maryland laws on education for children with disabilities are located in the Education Article of the Maryland Code, in Title 8, Subtitles 3 ("Deaf and Blind Children") and 4 ("Handicapped Children"). Some key sections of the special education law are:
- Definitions - Section 8-401
- Domicile of child - Section 8-401
- Standards for education of children with disabilities - Section 8-404
- Indentifying and evaluating educational needs of a child with a disability - Section 8-405
- Transportation to school for a child with a disability - Section 8-410
- Programs for education and training of children under 6 - Section 8-411
- Parent surrogates" for special education decisions - Section 8-412
- Rights of a child with a disability who reaches the age of 18 - Section 8-412.1
- Review of placement and appeals (mediation, hearings, court review) - Section 8-413
Special Education and Maryland Regulations
The Maryland regulations on special education are located in the Code of Maryland Agency Regulations (called "COMAR") in Title 13A, Subtitle 5.