As a parent of a child with a developmental disability, you are entitled to certain services provided in a voluntary, nondiscriminatory manner. These rights include the right to be evaluated, the right to be involved and informed and the right to consent. View full listing of rights online.
In some situations, a parent may need a special needs attorney to help him/her fight for his/her child’s education. The system can be overwhelming; sometimes, it can feel like you are a small voice fighting against the wind. In these situations, a special needs attorney can help ensure the appropriate actions are taken to benefit you and your child.
It is advisable to seek advice from a special needs attorney in the event that a) your situation is complicated, b) you work full-time and don’t have enough time or energy to properly prepare for or attend court cases or c) your school district has its own attorney, therefore increasing your odds. Be prepared that attorneys can be costly; however, there are several pro bono attorneys available.
An attorney does not replace your role as the parent; rather, an attorney becomes your voice, a partner, an advocate and your source of knowledge in certain situations.
For referrals on pro bono attorneys, check out the Maryland Disability Law Center.
Jewish Legal Services at Jewish Community Services holds a monthly pro bono legal clinic providing consultation and legal services for low-income members of the Jewish community.
Project HEAL is Maryland’s only comprehensive medical-legal partnership. A community-based program of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) at Kennedy Krieger Institute, Project HEAL provides comprehensive advocacy and legal services for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Project HEAL attorneys collaborate with Kennedy Krieger health care professionals and trainees to ensure that patients receive the medical and legal care they need.