All students with disabilities must receive a “free, appropriate public education” that supports their learning and equips them for everyday life, according to federal law (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act) and Maryland state law. This implies that from the time a child is born until they graduate from high school, local public school systems will offer personalized or special education and related services to kids with disabilities. Before their 22nd birthday, students who leave high school are no longer eligible for these assistance.
For children ages 0 to 3 and for students in Pre-K through 12th grade, services are offered as part of a written Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Program (IEP). IFSP and IEP services have differences.
In some cases, parents and the local school district may decide that a nonpublic (private) school is the best place for a youngster with special needs to receive the support they need.
A nonpublic special education school may enroll some pupils with exceptional needs (sometimes referred to as a MANSEF school).
There is still a right to a “free adequate public education” for students whose needs cannot be satisfied by the neighborhood public school. In many instances, the neighborhood school district will continue to cover the cost of the student’s special education services at the private institution. The local school system may no longer be compelled to pay for special education services if parents enroll their child in a nonpublic school “unilaterally” (i.e., without first consulting the local school system).