School Improvement in Maryland

What do parents of students with disabilities need to know?

Dr. Carol Ann Heath-Baglin, Assistant State Superintendent“Active family involvement is essential to each and every student's success. Maryland has high academic standards for all students, including those with disabilities, and parents are an essential partner in the special education process. The Division of Special Education / Early Intervention Services at the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has developed numerous resources for parents and educators as they work together to support student achievement. We at MSDE look forward to a continuing collaborative relationship.”
—Dr. Carol Ann Heath-Baglin, Assistant State Superintendent

How does the special education process work for students aged 6 to 21?

Special education means specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of an eligible child with a disability. Special education ensures that all eligible children with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) that is designated to meet their unique needs and to prepare them for post-secondary outcomes and independent living. Special education provides instruction and related services, at no cost to the parent, to enable the child with a disability to have access to, and make progress in, the State curriculum in the regular classroom to the maximum extent appropriate. Special education services may be provided in the general or special education classroom, separate or nonpublic schools, residential, home or hospital settings.

Who is eligible and how are students identified for special education services?

What is an IEP and how does the IEP process work?

What are my rights and role as a parent of a child with disabilities?

Does my child participate in State assessments?

What are the graduation requirements for my child?

What support is available to help my child transition to life after school?

What are common abbreviations used in special education?