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Special Education

Harford County Public Schools – Department of Special Education believes that individuals with disabilities achieve their full potential in a comprehensive and coordinated birth to 21 system of services emphasizing high expectations for all.


Harford County Public Schools – Department of Special Education provides leadership, supports, and accountability for results to all stakeholders by way of a seamless, comprehensive system of coordinated services to children, students and youth with disabilities, birth to 21, and their families.

Special Education at a Glance

Special Education in Harford County Public Schools is a collaborative effort involving schools, families and community agencies working together to ensure a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all children with disabilities, birth through age 21. Special education is defined as specially designed instruction, provided at no cost to parents, in order to meet the unique needs of a child with an educational or developmental disability. Services are provided in the least restrictive environment (LRE), to the maximum extent possible.

A Child with a Disability or Student with a Disability means a child, birth to age 21, evaluated in accordance with IDEA or COMAR having any of the following disabilities, causing an adverse effect on the child’s educational performance resulting in the need of special education and related services:

  • Autism
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Developmental Delay
  • Emotional Disability
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment (including Blindness)

Special education services are available in all Harford County Public Schools and across a range of learning environments.The district’s processes and procedures for disability determination, placement and service delivery align with federal and State regulations. Harford County Public Schools utilizes the Statewide IEP Process Guide as the framework for student educational planning and compliance with the Requirements of the 2004 Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Birth through age 4

The Harford County Infants and Toddlers Program, serving children with disabilities, birth through age 4, is a countywide system of coordinated, interagency, multidisciplinary early intervention services. The Harford County Public School System, Harford County Health Department, and the Harford County Department of Social Services provide services to eligible infants, toddlers, and their families.

Parents or other individuals who are concerned about a child's development may make a referral to the Harford County Infants and Toddlers Program at 410 638-3823. Upon referral, developmental evaluations are completed to determine eligibility for early intervention services. Health and developmental needs may be identified in the areas of: hearing; speech; language; physical development; cognitive development; social-emotional development; and/or self- help skills.

Children, birth through age 4, are eligible to receive Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) services, if a developmental delay or diagnosed condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay is identified during the IFSP Team Process. The IFSP provides the “what, when, where, why, and how” of early intervention services to be provided to the child with a disability and his/her family. The IFSP is implemented and monitored by staff of the Harford County Infants and Toddlers Program. Prior to the child’s third birthday, a transition planning meeting is scheduled to discuss the continued need for early intervention services (IFSP) for children birth to age 3, an extended IFSP option or the transition to preschool special education services, addressed by the Individual Educational Program (IEP) are also available for children with disabilities, ages 3 to 4 years old. Maryland Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)(PDF).