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Special Education Programs

Early Intervention Services

Ages/Needs Served: Children from birth to age 5 with disabilities

Location: A child’s home, child-care settings, community environments, or in a school when needed.

For More Information: 410–313–7017

Services Offered

  • 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

Early Beginnings Program

Ages/Needs Served: children two years and under who have a developmental delay or who are at risk of developmental delay

Location: in the child’s home, in child-care settings, in community environments, or in schools if needed.

Preschool-Kindergarten Program

Ages/Needs Served: children who are three through five years of age who have a disability or developmental delay

Location: Regional Early Childhood Centers located at elementary schools throughout Howard County. Kindergarten-age children generally receive services in general education kindergarten classes in their home elementary school or a regionally based school. If the child’s needs cannot be met in general education kindergarten classes, other options are considered.

Services Offered

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 therapy-only sessions, four or five day preschool classes with typically developing peers, or in community-based preschool programs where they have been enrolled by their parents.

PreK Programs for 4 year olds

Ages/Needs Served: Children who are 4 by September 1

Location: within elementary schools, typically in a Regional Early Childhood Center

Cost: Free for participating families

Services Offered

  • 2 1/2 hours of classroom instruction five days per week
  • Family training and support are provided through regularly scheduled periodic home visits or school-based sessions as appropriate

Children receive services in classes with children who do not have disabilities. Children with disabilities enrolled in full day PreK (at select schools) may also receive support from early childhood special education providers to access the general curriculum.

PreK Programs for 3 year olds

Ages/Needs Served: Children who are 3

Location: within elementary schools, typically in a Regional Early Childhood Center

Cost: Free for participating families

Services Offered

  • 2 1/2 hours of classroom instruction four days per week
  • Family training and support are provided through regularly scheduled periodic visits to the home, virtually, or community setting, and/or school-based sessions as appropriate.

Children receive services in classes with children who do not have disabilities.

PALS: Community-Based Preschool Services

Ages/Needs Served: Children between the ages of 3 and 5 years with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Children must be enrolled in – or parents must be actively seeking – a community program.

Services Offered

  • special instruction
  • speech-language therapy
  • Regional Early Childhood Center (RECC) occupational therapy/physical therapy

Multiple Intense Needs Classes

Ages/Needs Served: Toddlers and preschool students who have moderate to severe needs in engagement, independence, communication, and social interaction. Approximately six children with disabilities and six typically developing children are included in each class.

Location: Regional Early Childhood Centers throughout Howard County

For More Information

Family members actively participate in the children’s intervention programs. Family Intervention Behavior Specialists provide intensive training to families in implementing instructional and behavioral support plans.

Multiple Intense Needs Classes – Preschool (MINC-PS)

Ages/Needs Served: children who are 3 years old whose needs cannot be met in less restrictive settings

Location: Regional Early Childhood Centers in several elementary schools

Services Offered

  • School-based sessions up to 10 hours per week, including large, small group and intensive structured teaching (IST). 2.5 hours per day, 4 days per week. Classes are scheduled either in the morning or afternoon, with older 3s scheduled during the afternoon, times depending on individual school schedules.
  • Inclusive opportunities alongside children with and without disabilities. Typically developing peers attend during the 2.5 hour school day as well.
  • Individual visits to homes or childcare on 1–2 times a month as well as program staffings every 5–6 weeks
  • Speech-language therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Intensive family training on challenging behaviors
  • Parent and caregiver coaching and support

The focus of instruction is to build foundational learning skills in the areas of engagement, independence, communication, and social interaction.

Multiple Intense Needs Classes – PreK Children (MINC-PK)

Ages/Needs Served: PreK students whose needs cannot be met in less restrictive settings

Location: Regional Early Childhood Centers throughout Howard County

Services Offered

The focus of instruction is on expanding learning behaviors in multiple areas of
Development.

  • School-based sessions up to 26 per week, including large, small group and intensive structured teaching (IST). 2.5–6.5 hours per day, 4 days per week
  • Inclusive opportunities alongside children with and without disabilities. Typically developing peers attend 4 hours per day.
  • Family training and support activities including parent support modules, in school support, and/or home or community visits.
  • Speech-language therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Services from the Family Intervention Behavior Specialist (intensive family training to address challenging behaviors)

Multiple Intense Needs Classes – Early Learner (MINC-EL)

Ages/Needs Served: children ages 3 and 4 whose needs cannot be met in less restrictive settings

Services Offered

  • School-based sessions up to 26 per week, including large, small group and intensive structured teaching (IST). 2.5–6.5 hours per day, 4 days per week
  • Classes include children with and without disabilities. Typically developing peers attend 2.5 hours per day.
  • Family training and support activities including parent support modules, in school support, and/or home or community visits.
  • Speech-language therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Services from the Family Intervention Behavior Specialist (intensive family training to address challenging behaviors)
  • Consultation from the Autism Specialist, Early Intervention

The focus of instruction of this program is on expanding learning behaviors in multiple areas of development with a variety of opportunities to work on communication skills throughout the day.

Family 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. Family members and staff members may contact the Family Support Network Coordinators at 410–313–7161.

Elementary Learner Program

Ages/Needs Served: Elementary-Primary Learner (EPL) Program serves Grades K–2) and the Elementary- Upper Learner (UL) Program serves Grades 3–5.

Location: Our regional EPL programs are located at 5 elementary schools:

  • Bellows Spring Elementary
  • Dayton Oaks Elementary
  • Ilchester Elementary
  • Pointers Run Elementary
  • Waverly Elementary

Our regional UL programs are located at:

  • Bellows Spring Elementary
  • Dayton Oaks Elementary
  • Ilchester Elementary

For More Information

Services Offered

The Elementary Learner Programs support and develop the students’ academic, communication, social skills, and behavior using a variety of methodologies and tools. More information on this program is available online.

Elementary School Academic Life Skills

Ages/Needs Served: Elementary school students

Location: 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.

In addition, regional programs for students with more intensive needs are located at:

  • Bushy Park Elementary
  • Clarksville Elementary
  • Ducketts Lane Elementary
  • Pointers Run Elementary
  • Rockburn Elementary
  • Waverly Elementary
  • Worthington Elementary

For more information

Contact the Instructional Facilitators for the Department of Special Education at 410–313–5350.

Services Offered

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

Middle School Academic Life Skills

Ages/Needs Served: Middle school students

Location: All county middle schools.

In addition, regional programs for students with more intensive needs are located at:

  • Wilde Lake Middle School
  • Elkridge Landing Middle Schools

Services Offered

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.

High School Academic Life Skills

Ages/Needs Served: high school students

Location: All county high schools

In addition, regional programs for students with more intensive needs are located at:

  • Oakland Mills High School
  • Atholton High School

Services Offered

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 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.

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 work study as appropriate. Students participate in a combination of a typical high school experience along with transition services.

Students with Emotional Disabilities

Ages/Needs Served: students seeking a Maryland High School diploma

Location: Regional programs are offered at:

  • Fulton Elementary
  • Hanover Hills Elementary
  • Thunder Hill Elementary
  • Triadelphia Ridge Elementary
  • Waterloo Elementary
  • Ellicott Mills Middle
  • Glenwood Middle
  • Murray Hill Middle
  • Mt. Hebron High
  • Reservoir High

For More Information

Contact Instructional Facilitators for the Department of Special Education at 410–313–5350.

Services Offered

Homewood Center

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.

Bridges Program

Ages/Needs Served: 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.

Students with Speech-Language Impairments

Ages/Needs Served: children from birth to age 21 with articulation, language, fluency, voice, and related disorders

Location: all county schools

For more information

Contact the Communications Facilitator for Speech/Language Services and Instructional Access Technology at 410–313–7046.

Services Offered

  • Monitoring
  • collaboration and consulting with parents and teachers
  • classroom-based therapy
  • small group therapy
  • individual therapy

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.

Students Requiring Assistive Technology

For more information

Contact the Instructional Facilitator for the Instructional Access Team at 410–313–5365.

Services Offered

  • assessment for voice output devices, portable word processors, and specialized software
  • assistive technology training

The Instructional Access 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.

Students Who Are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing

Ages/Needs Served: 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.

For more information

Contact 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 Instructional Facilitator for Countywide Services (410–313–7046).

Services Offered

  • assessment
  • direct and indirect special education services
  • Educational interpreters, as appropriate

Students with Visual Impairments

Ages/Needs Served: children from birth to 21 years of age who are identified as having a visual impairment, including blindness (impairment in vision that adversely affect a child’s educational performance)

For more information

Contact the Program Head for Vision Services at 410–313–7022.

Services Offered

Eligibility for special education and related services is determined by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) team based on educational and ophthalmological or optometric evaluations. A referral to the IEP team or IFSP team may be made by a parent, teacher, doctor, or any service provider who suspects that a child may have an educational disability. A family may also initiate the referral process by providing the school with a medical report from an ophthalmologist or optometrist diagnosing a visual condition.

Cedar Lane School

Ages/Needs Served: Students age 3 through 21, whose needs are so complex that they require a specialized, comprehensive program in a special school setting. Instruction is provided for students who are developmentally delayed, or may have multiple disabilities, behavior challenges both in school and community settings, or are medically fragile.

Visit Cedar Lane School

Services Offered

The Cedar Lane program offers an enhanced approach for inclusive programming with an emphasis on providing student’s access to typical peers, schools, and community.

Community Connection Program

Ages/Needs Served: Students in this program have typically completed at least four years of high school and at least one year of work experience.

Location: Howard Community College

For more information

Contact the Community Connections Program at 410–772–4479.

Services Offered

  • developing work related skills
  • self-advocacy
  • seeking and maintaining a job
  • Community Access Skills Training
  • personal management
  • consumer economics (money, banking, budgeting, and shopping)
  • self-determination and social awareness
  • recreation and leisure

Project SEARCH Howard County

Ages/Needs Served: young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities that are in their last year of high school. The program targets individuals whose main goal is employment, and who will benefit from full time career exploration in a business setting.

For more information

Visit the Transition Services webpage or call 410-313-5355

Services Offered

  • consistent on-site staff including a special education teacher and job coaches

The Project SEARCH model involves an extensive period of training and career exploration, innovative adaptations, long-term job coaching, and continuous feedback from teachers, job coaches, and employers. At the end of the training program, students with significant intellectual disabilities are employed in nontraditional, complex and rewarding jobs. The cornerstone of this one-year program, Project SEARCH Howard, is total immersion within a partnering business. Participants are on site at the business each school day for a minimum of six hours for an entire academic year (10 months).

Home and Hospital Instruction

Ages/Needs Served: 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

Location: Depending on the needs of the student, instruction can be provided in the home of the student, in a hospital, in a community setting, virtually, or a hybrid combination to meet the needs of the student.

For more information

Learn more about Home and Hospital Teaching, 410–313–6822

Services Offered

The Home and Hospital teaching program is provided only during the academic year except for students whose Individualized Education Programs provide for additional instruction beyond the regular school calendar.