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Home > Academics > Special Education > Programs

Programs

Early Intervention Services

Early intervention services are designed to provide a program of educational intervention directly to the student with disabilities from birth to five years of age, to the parent, or both. Additional information regarding early intervention programs is available from the Instructional Facilitator for Early Intervention Services at 410-313-7017.

Early Beginnings Program

The Early Beginnings Program serves children from birth to three years of age who have a developmental delay or who are at risk for developmental delay. The program is part of the Howard County Infants and Toddlers Program (HCITP), a coordinated, multidisciplinary, interagency system of services for infants, toddlers, and their families. Other agencies participating in the HCITP are the Howard County Health Department and the Howard County Department of Social Services.Every child who is birth through 2 years of age is eligible for evaluation and assessment to identify health and developmental needs in the areas of:

  • Hearing
  • Cognitive development
  • Speech
  • Social-Emotional development
  • Language
  • Self-help skills
Early intervention services are designed in the areas of physical, cognitive, communication, social or emotional, or adaptive development. Early Beginnings Program staff members use a routines-based and activities-based intervention model to help parents learn and use techniques that will facilitate their children's development. The services are provided in the child's home, at school, in child-care settings, or in community environments. Early intervention services include:
  • Family education, counseling, and support
  • Early identification, screening, and assessment
  • Special instruction
  • Health services necessary for benefit from services
  • Speech-language pathology and audiology services
  • Community Health nursing
  • Occupational therapy
  • Social work services
  • Physical therapy
  • Vision services
  • Psychological services
  • Assistive technology devices and services
  • Service coordination
  • Nutrition services
  • Home visits
  • Transportation
  • Medical services for diagnosis or evaluation

A team is designated to work with the family to develop the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The IFSP, which is developed for each eligible child, describes outcomes and activities that parents feel are important for the child and family. Outcomes reflect the changes families would like to see for their child based on needs. Parents are active participants in developing IFSPs and implementing the intervention programs.

Preschool-Kindergarten Program

The Preschool-Kindergarten Program is a part of the Howard County Public School System's Special Education Program. The program serves children who are three through five years of age who have a disability or developmental delay. Three and four year old children receive special education and related services in four or five day preschool classes with typically developing peers or in community-based preschool programs. These preschool classes are included in Regional Early Childhood Centers located at elementary schools throughout the county. Kindergarten age children generally receive services in team taught general education kindergarten classes.

What are the Services?

Team members provide instruction and therapy services using techniques that combine sound principles of early childhood special education, developmentally appropriate practices, and applied behavioral analysis. Active learning, child choice, highly motivating materials, and positive behavioral supports are key to facilitating children's growth in developmental areas. Personalized programs are developed by school team members and parents to accelerate children's development of language, literacy, mathematics, social interaction, and motor skills.

PALS: Community Based Preschool Services

The PALS goal is to provide services to children with disabilities in the community based programs chosen by their families. To facilitate their success, we desire to provide the necessary supports and training to teachers and parents.

PALS
PALS: Information for Parents and Community Based Providers (pdf)
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Multiple Intense Needs Classes

Toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarten children who have moderate to severe delays in cognition, social interaction, communication, and behavior may receive services through Multiple Intense Needs Classes (MINC). These classes are located in Regional Early Childhood Centers throughout Howard County. Approximately four to five children with disabilities and four to five typically developing children are included in each class.Staff members use an incidental teaching approach that incorporates principles of applied behavior analysis to help children develop skills. Instruction is embedded in identified routines and activities to provide multiple opportunities for the children to practice skills. Other instructional strategies may be selected based on the developmental level of the child; the child's learning style, strengths, and needs; and the skill or task to be learned.Family members actively participate in the children's intervention programs. The focus of parent training is on using incidental teaching and family guided routines-based intervention. Family Intervention Specialists provide intensive training to families in implementing instructional and behavioral support plans.

Family Support Network

Family Support Network Coordinators are available to provide information, support, and linkages to community resources for families of children from birth through five years of age. In addition, they coordinate a parent training program as well as a parent mentor program which links "experienced" parents of children with disabilities with those parents of children who are new to the programs.

Academic Life Skills Programs

High SchoolAcademic Life Skills (ALS) programs are located in each of the county high schools. In addition, regional programs for students with more intensive needs are located at Atholton High and Oakland Mills High. The ALS programs are designed for students assessed with the Alt-MSA and provide instruction and related services in a variety of settings to meet the needs of each student. Based on student needs outlined in the Individual Education Program (IEP), students receive their instruction in self-contained and/or general education classes with access to general education curriculum and extracurricular school activities as appropriate. Preparation for transition for post high school is an integral part of each program. A transition plan is developed to meet the unique needs of each student as they prepare to exit high school and may include in-school work experience, work enclave, and workstudy as appropriate. Students participate in a combination of a typical high school experience along with transition services.Middle SchoolAcademic Life Skills programs are located at most county middle schools to enable students with disabilities to remain in their local school. In addition, regional programs for students with more intensive needs are located at:

  • Harpers Choice Middle
  • Lime Kiln Middle
  • Oakland Mill Middle
The program is designed for students assessed with the Alt-MSA and provides instruction and related services in a variety of settings to meet the needs of each student. Based on student needs outlined in the Individual Education Program (IEP), students receive their instruction in self-contained and/or general education classes with access to general education curriculum and extracurricular school activities as appropriate. Students participate in a typical middle school experience with support and interventions as needed. Students are referred to the Academic Life Skills Programs through the school IEP team process, which includes the parents and representatives from the Department of Special Education and possible receiving schools.Elementary SchoolAcademic Life Skills programs are located at most county elementary schools to enable students with disabilities to remain in their local school. In addition, regional programs for students with more intensive needs are located at:
  • Gorman Crossing Elementary
  • Swansfield Elementary
  • Thunder Hill Elementary
  • Waverly E.S Elementary
  • West Friendship Elementary

The program is designed for students assessed with the Alt-MSA and provides instruction and related services in a variety of settings to meet the needs of each student. Based on student needs outlined in the Individual Education Program (IEP), students receive their instruction in self-contained and/or general education classes with access to general education curriculum and extracurricular school activities as appropriate. Students participate in a typical elementary school experience with support and interventions as needed. Students are referred to the Academic Life Skills Programs through the school IEP team process, which includes the parents and representatives from the Department of Special Education and possible receiving schools.Additional information regarding the Academic Life Skills Programs may be obtained from Instructional Facilitators (410-313-5357) for the Department of Special Education.

Programs for Students with Emotional Disturbance

Regional programs for students with emotional disturbance are located within comprehensive elementary and secondary schools. Those schools are:

  • Fulton Elementary
  • Stevens Forest Elementary
  • Waterloo Elementary
  • Ellicott Mills Middle
  • Murray Hill Middle
  • Hammond High
  • Mt. Hebron High
  • Reservoir High

These settings afford students the opportunity to demonstrate the generalization of academic and behavioral skills in less restrictive settings while receiving direct instruction and reinforcement in a more structured setting. The goal of regional programs is to return students to their home school as soon as possible and to provide support for their successful reintegration. This is accomplished through building students' social and academic competencies, supporting parents, and collaborating with community agencies.Additional information regarding programs for students with emotional disturbance may be obtained from Instructional Facilitators (410-313-6742) for the Department of Special Education.

Homewood

The Homewood Center houses three distinct programs, each designed to meet the specific needs of individual students who have difficulty functioning in traditional classroom settings. The building is a state-of-the-art educational facility with a full complement of resources, technology, and teaching supports.Bridges is a special education program at Homewood designed for middle and high school students with emotional disabilities whose needs require that they attend a separate school program until they can be educated in a less restrictive environment.More information: www.hcpss.org/homewood/

Program for Students with Speech-Language Impairments

Speech-language pathologists assess and treat articulation, language, fluency, voice, and related disorders in children from birth to 21 years of age. Speech-language pathology services are provided in all county schools to help children become effective communicators in the classroom setting. Speech-language pathologists combine children’s communication goals with academic and social goals by integrating classroom objectives into speech and language activities. Speech-language pathologists help children understand and use basic language concepts related to classroom learning to become good readers and writers and to understand classroom lessons and texts.Speech-language services may be offered in a variety of ways, depending on the child’s needs. These services may include monitoring, collaboration and consulting with parents and teachers, classroom-based therapy, small group therapy, individual therapy, or various combinations of any of these approaches. Additional information is available from the Communications Facilitator for Speech/Language Services and Assistive Technology at 410-313-7046.

Program for Students requiring Assistive Technology

The Assistive Technology Resource Team works collaboratively with school-based teams to eliminate barriers and ensure that children with disabilities can use technology to progress through the general education curriculum to reach their full potential. The Assistive Technology Resource Team assists school teams in the assessment process for voice output devices, portable word processors, and specialized software. The team also provides assistive technology training to schools. The team is interdisciplinary, and includes staff specializing in speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and special education.Additional information is available from the Communications Facilitator for Speech/Language Services and Assistive Technology (410-313-7046).

Programs for Students who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing

The itinerant teachers of students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing provide assessment as well as direct and indirect special education services to students with significant hearing losses and deafness who are enrolled in elementary, middle, and high schools. These services are also provided to students enrolled in Cedar Lane School, the Early Beginnings Program, and the Preschool-Kindergarten Program. Preschool and school-age students enrolled in private and parochial schools as well as children who are home-schooled may be eligible for services.Most students receive services in their home school from an itinerant teacher of students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing along. An educational interpreter is provided, when appropriate. Some students are identified as needing intense services from a teacher for deaf and hard-of-hearing students because of having a cochlear implant or needing to develop a functional communication system such as American Sign Language (ASL). These students may be placed in a regional program that provides the needed services throughout the day.Questions regarding services for students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may be referred to the Itinerant Teachers of Students who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (410-313-7046), the Audiologist at the County Diagnostic Center (410-313-7046), or the Communications Facilitator for Speech, Language, and Hearing Services (410-313-6837).

Programs for Students with Visual Impairments

The vision program of the Howard County Public School System provides services to children from birth to 21 years of age who are identified as having a visual impairment including blindness (impairments in vision that adversely affect a child's educational performance). Eligibility for educational services is determined by the Individualized Education Program team based on educational and ophthalmological or optometric evaluations. Special education service is determined by the student's individualized education program (IEP) or individualized family service plan (IFSP). A referral to the IEP team may be made by a parent, teacher, doctor, or any service provider who suspects that a child may have an educational disability.Additional information is available from the Program Head for Vision Services (410-313-7022).

Cedar Lane School

The Cedar Lane School, on the Fulton Campus, provides as structured learning environment for students age 3 through 21, whose needs are so complex that they require a specialized, comprehensive program in a special school setting. The Fulton campus allows for age appropriate peer interactions at all program levels. Instruction is provided for students who are developmentally delayed, and may have multiple disabilities as well as behavior challenges both in school and community settings. The Cedar Lane program offers an enhanced approach for inclusive programming with an emphasis on providing students access to typical peers, schools, and community.More information: www.hcpss.org/cedarlane/

Community Connection Program

The Community Connection Program is a community based post high school program located on the campus of Howard Community College. It is designed to assist students who will exit the school system with a certificate in their transition from high school to the world of work. Students in this program have typically completed at least four years of high school and at least one year of work experience. Students receive continued support in developing work related skills, self-advocacy, as well as seeking and maintaining a job. This program provides a safe environment in which to learn and practice the skills necessary for adult life.Teaching and learning takes place in a natural environment and includes:

  • C.A.S.T. (Community Access Skills Training)
  • Personal Management
  • Consumer Economics (money, banking, budgeting, and shopping)
  • Self Determination and Social Awareness
  • Recreation and Leisure
  • Career/Vocational Skills
  • Integrating students into the least restrictive environment- the community

For more information or a copy of the brochure about the Community Connections Program, call 410-772-4479.

Home and Hospital Instruction

The Home and Hospital Teaching Program is designed to provide instructional continuity to students who are unable to attend their regular school of enrollment because they have a physical illness or disability, are in emotional crisis, or are awaiting a placement.More information: www.hcpss.org/homehospital/

Disability Awareness Program

The purpose of the Disability Awareness Program is to foster an understanding of the abilities and needs of persons who have a disability. The primary target audiences are the students and staff members of the Howard County Public School System. The Howard County community is a secondary target audience. The program accomplishes its purpose through the following activities:

  • Presentations by individuals with disabilities to students and school staff members
  • Presentations to principals, Central Office staff members, and technical and administrative staff
  • Development of a resource file of materials and equipment
  • Ongoing development and utilization of a speakers' bureau comprised of individuals with disabilities
  • Communication with other Howard County agencies, such as the Department of Recreation and Parks, Howard County Association for Retarded Citizens, and Citizen's Services.

Third-party Billing Program

Third Party Billing (TPB) is a process to bill the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) for health related services and service coordination provided for special education students. To be eligible for this reimbursement, the student must be qualified for Maryland Medical Assistance (Medicaid), the services must be required by an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP), and provided by licensed/certified HCPSS staff.The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees these services to eligible individuals, regardless of reimbursement. However, Third Party Billing provides HCPSS with an opportunity for increased funding to supplement programs and services for students with special education needs.Services eligible for reimbursement to the school system include:

  • Audiology
  • Mental Health Services
  • Nursing Services
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Service Coordination
  • Transportation
Parents or guardians of eligible students are notified of Third Party Billing at the initial IEP or IFSP meeting and at annual review. Parent authorization is required in order for the school system to obtain reimbursement.For additional information call the Department of Special Education, Third Party Billing Office, 410 313-5361.

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