Parentally Placed Private School Students

Catholic schools are not required to provide services or support for students with disabilities who are parentally placed. Catholic schools are also not required by law to offer students a 504 plan or provide services indicated on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Service Plan (SP).

Although not required, the Diocese of Orlando Catholic Schools, based on available resources at individual schools do provide a variety of learning environments and programs for students with special needs. Diocesan schools are located in several different counties. Support and resources for private school students vary from district to district. Both private school and public school programs are constantly being evaluated and changed. Click HERE for a list of diocesan schools by county.

Admission Process for Students with Special Needs

The admission process for students into an elementary or high school in the Diocese of Orlando, who have already been identified as having special needs, begins with a review of the student’s records. Before admitting a student the school evaluates the student’s needs to determine if the school has the ability to provide appropriate resources and support. The administration of each school reviews the documentation, conducts an interview, and makes admission decisions. (Click HERE for a Documentation Checklist)

Special Needs School 

Morning Star is a school for students with significant disabilities. (Click HERE for link to Morning Star)


Students who are accepted and enroll in a private school with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) no longer have the same rights and services. Once enrolled in a private school, the IEP will be converted into a Service Plan (SP) through the local public school district. Parents are responsible for making arrangements with the district to begin this process. A service plan provides limited services and support from the public school and varies from district to district.

Students with special needs are expected to abide by the procedures and policies of the schools Parent/Student Handbook. Parents are required to meet service-hour contracts, fundraising obligations and attend parent conferences.

Family Empowerment Scholarships

The Family Empowerment Scholarship Program for Students with Unique Abilities is designed to offer families of students with disabilities, as young as 3 years of age, access to additional education options. Families may choose to receive a personal education savings account (ESA) for their student. An ESA can be used to fund private school tuition and fees, as well as online learning programs, private tutoring, community college costs, higher education expenses and other approved customized learning services and materials.

Unique Abilities FAQs (PDF)

More Information

FDLRS – The Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System (FDLRS) provides diagnostic, instructional, and technology support services to district exceptional education programs and families of students with disabilities.

University of Central Florida Center for Autistic and Related Disabilities – (CARD) Provides assistance to individuals and families who have autism or autistic-like disabilities.

Florida Institute of Technology Scott Center – Provides services for children diagnosed with Autism. Also provides training and resources for parents.

Florida Inclusive Network – (FIN) Provides resources for inclusive practices.

Family Liaison Project – The mission of the Family Liaison Project (FLP) is to build an active network of support to nurture and sustain families of children with disabilities through life’s transitions.

Additional Catholic Resources