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Autism Support Services



A-Academic (and)



The COMPASS (Community Promoting Academic and Social Success) Program is designed to provide special education services to students who are identified as having Autism and related disorders.   implementing best practice strategies and interventions through professional development, consultation, and direct services inside and outside the general education setting.   To the maximum extent, all services to students are delivered in their least restrictive environment according to the needs in the student’s IEP. 


The COMPASS classes are staffed by a special education teacher and paraeducators(s). They work in conjunction with the general education staff to deliver the necessary curriculum and support to students.  

Students are placed in COMPASS through the County Individualized Education Program (CIEP) committee. For a student to be considered for the COMPASS program, the school team must complete the Special Education Case Review (SECR) process. This process will guide the team through a comprehensive look at the student’s educational program. The process will be facilitated through the special education supervisor assigned to the COMPASS Program. 

For further information regarding the COMPASS Program, please contact:

Lisa Dean

Supervisor of Special Education

301-475-5511 x32227


Specific requests regarding supports to students with Autism Spectrum Disorders may be directed to:

Lisa Dean
Supervisor of Special Education
301-475-5511 x32227

This program that is run through the Maryland State Department of Education and DHMH is intended to support eligible students and families. While the waiver is currently full, families may continue to place their children on a waiting list by contacting the Autism Waiver Registry at 1-866-417-3480. Families may also contact Lisa Dean for more information.

St. Mary’s County Public Schools is a participant in the Autism Waiver Program that is jointly administered by the Maryland State Department of Education, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Local School Systems. Active duty military families living in St. Mary’s County may also refer to their Tricare policy for information on Autism support services available through the ECHO Program. For information on eligibility and services contact:

Resources for Families and Staff

Autism Internet Modules

Interactive modules that address assessment and diagnosis, structured work systems, visual supports, peer-mediated instruction, transition and general interventions. This is a free resource available to staff and families.

The National Autism Center 

The National Autism Center is the May Institutes center for the promotion of evidence-based practices.  It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) by providing reliable information, promoting best practices, and offering comprehensive resources for families, practitioners, and communities.

The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders

This resource references best practices in Autism Supports as well as ongoing research on Evidence-Based Practices. Online instructional modules are available under the "Additional Resources" link on the main page.

Sesame Street Autism Resources for Parents

Reduce the Noise: Help Loved Ones with Sensory Overload Enjoy Shopping

Provides tips and strategies for helping individuals with sensory overload have a more manageable shopping experience

CDC Autism Links and Resources

Provides links and resources on the topic of autism

Operation Autism for Military Families

Operation Autism supports military families with children with autism and autism spectrum disorders by providing resources, services, and supports 

Home Modification for Autistic Kids

Strategies and resources for modifying the home environment to help children with autism feel safe in their home environment

Temple Grandin's Teaching Tips

Tips and strategies for teaching children and adults with autsim. 

Estate Planning for Parents of Kids with Autism

Resources and guidance for parents of children with autism in planning for their child's future.