** This webpage is provided for informational purposes. It is not legal advice. **

Walking You Through the IEP Process

Federal and state law requires public schools to provide special education services from birth to the age of 21. All children under the age of 5 – including families who homeschool – may receive special education services. In Maryland, once a child reaches school age, free special education services are generally only provided to public school students.

Steps For Accessing Special Education Services:

  • Submit your request in writing for a comprehensive Child Find evaluation.

  • Attend an initial IEP Team meeting with members of your local public school. This meeting will determine what types of testing will be ordered. For example, if you suspect your child has a writing disability called dysgraphia, the IEP Team should order Occuptional Therapy testing, in addition to IQ and achievement testing.

  • Comprehensive testing of your child is conducted within 90 days of your written request having been made. Copies of each test report should be provided to you at least three (3) days prior to meeting with the IEP Team, again.

  • A 2nd IEP Team meeting will be held to discuss the findings of all testing. The Team, which includes the parent, will jointly make a determination of whether the child meets the definition of having a specific special learning need.

  • If the homeschool child is found to have a disability, the school will discuss the types of services available, if the child were to enroll in school. Some parents have been successful in securing services while continuing to homeschool.

  • If special education services will be provided, the IEP Team will develop an Individualized Education Plan for the student. The IEP will describe the details of the services.

Disabilities That May Qualify for Special Education Services

Maryland identifies 12 distinct disability categories that may qualify for special education services. Children who face more than one challenge may be identified as multiply disabled. Each disability code lists specific criteria that must be met through a comprehensive evaluation.

Cognitive Disabilities

  • Autism
  • Emotional disability
  • Intellectual disability
  • Specific learning disability
  • Speech or language impairment
  • Traumatic brain injury

Sensory Disabilities

  • Deaf-blindness
  • Deafness
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Visual impairment, including blindness

Physical Disabilities

  • Orthopedic impairments, such as missing limbs, cerebral palsy, etc
  • Other health impairments, such as asthma, ADHD, diabetes, epilepsy, heart conditions, lead poisoning, leukemia, Tourettes syndrome, etc.

Last modified on September 13, 2019

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