Special Education in Diocesan Catholic Schools
“Each person is created in God’s image, yet there are variations in individual abilities. Positive recognition of these differences discourages discrimination and enhances the unity of the Body of Christ.”
-Welcome and Justice for Persons with Disabilities, USCCB
Educating in the Image of God
Your child is unique and wonderfully made in the image of God. Every child has been given distinct gifts from God and is loved into being by God. We believe every child deserves the invitation to develop his or her gifts through Catholic education, and we strive to meet the needs of each child (as much as physical building structure, enrollment, and teacher availability allow).
Out of the 43 Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Schools, 82% offer some form of special education support. To begin a unique education journey for your child, contact a Catholic school near you today.
Our Catholic school principals are there to answer any questions you may have. We encourage you to begin by contacting the Catholic school of your choice.
For additional support, contact the diocesan Catholic Schools Office:
Superintendent of Schools
260-422-4611 Ext. 3305
What is Special Education?
What is the difference between special education in Catholic and public schools?
When should I begin looking for a school for my child with a disability? Where do I begin?
What information should I bring to the school when I apply?
What happens if my parish’s school does not provide the services my child needs?
Are services offered onsite or at another location?
My child only needs some support, but I do not see my child’s school on this website. What should I do?
I think my child may have a learning disability, but I am unsure. What should I do?
The first thing to do is to contact your child’s teacher and school. Each school works diligently to ensure a child is making academic and behavioral progress. Once you contact your child’s teacher, they will work with the established procedures to determine if your child is in need of further academic testing or outside psychological testing.
Even if your child’s school is not explicitly listed on the website, it is best to always begin with a phone call and/or email to your preferred school’s principal. The principal will be able to direct you to the appropriate people within the school building (i.e. Resource Room or other lead staff). Many schools are able to support students and work collaboratively with parents and students. Communication is a critical piece of the puzzle when developing a plan for your child.
While most school services are offered within the individual school, some schools within the diocese work collaboratively with outside centers to provide additional services.
To learn the particulars of the support that a given school is able to offer, contact that school.
Like each child’s uniqueness, each Catholic school has varying services available to provide to students. If your preferred school is unable to provide the services your child needs, the principal will be able to help guide you on your next steps to find a potential school that works for your child.
If your child has had any testing done by a medical expert, that information would be helpful to bring to the meeting. Please also plan to bring any observational data that you have noticed from your child at home.
It is never too early to begin to look and have conversations with your desired school. You will discover that each diocesan school provides unique services. Finding the best fit for you and your child may take a number of conversations and school visits.
The admission process for students with special needs begins the same as the admission process for traditional students. Simply contact the school to begin. The principal will set up a time for you to visit the school and offer answers to any preliminary questions you may have, including whether or not openings remain available. Parents are then invited to go through the registration process followed by all enrolling families. Once your child is enrolled, you will meet with the principal for a child study meeting to determine the services, such as an ISP or CAP Plan, that best invite your child to excel.
Students enrolled in a public school are provided with an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Students enrolled in a non-public school, including our diocesan Catholic schools, are provided with an Individualized Service Plan (ISP). An ISP is developed in collaboration with your child’s school of attendance and the local education agency/public school district. While many of the items within an IEP and ISP are the same, an ISP is not required to have all of the same elements.
Particular special education services provided within Catholic schools are dependent upon the individual school. To learn more about what a Catholic educational journey may look like for your child, contact a diocesan Catholic school near you.
Special Education is intentionally designed instruction, support, and programming to meet the individual needs of students with disabilities. Parents, teachers, school professionals, and the student work together to create a cohesive education plan in response to the academic, social, physical, and emotional needs of the child to ensure access to the least restrictive environment.
Specific programs and services vary based on the physical building structure, enrollment, and teacher availability. However, our schools offer a variety of services, including speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, mild to moderate disability services, severe disability services, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) services, Other Health Impairment (OHI) services, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) services, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) services, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) services. Additional information can be found below.
Special Needs Services in Our Catholic Schools
This is a listing of information regarding special education accommodations in diocesan schools. This information is submitted to the Catholic Schools Office by the schools and, as such, is not necessarily an exhaustive list. Particular programs and services vary based on the school’s physical building structure, enrollment, and teacher availability.
This list includes schools where administrators reported that they currently support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
For students who need additional support, many schools partner with local centers to offer third-party support to students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. To discover if a school can provide this for your child, please contact the school of your choice.
Most Precious Blood
St. Charles Borromeo
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
St. Jude Elementary
St. Vincent de Paul
Bishop Luers High School
St. Louis Besancon
St. John the Baptist
Christ the King
St. Anthony de Padua
St. Matthew Cathedral
Saint Joseph High School
St. Pius X
Sometimes referred to as “Emotional Disturbance,” this may include anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression. While the schools listed here offer particular programs or services to meet one or more of these listed diagnoses, some of the unique needs of students experiencing these diagnoses may also be met by programs and services offered by schools in the “other health impairment” category. Additionally, many schools not listed here partner with local mental health care providers and counseling services.
St. Charles Borromeo
St. Vincent de Paul
Students who experience mild to moderate disabilities may require specially designed intervention and support in the areas of academics, non-cognitive skills, social and emotional functioning, behavior, and/or career preparation and postsecondary transition. Life skills falls under this category.
St. Joseph (MMD)
St. Vincent de Paul (MMD)
Most Precious Blood (MMD)
Our Lady (MMD)
Queen of Angels (MMD)
St. Charles Borromeo (MMD, Life Skills Classes)
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (MMD)
St. John the Baptist (MMD)
St. Jude Elementary (MMD)
St. Therese (MMD)
St. Vincent de Paul (MMD, Modified PE)
Bishop Luers High School (MMD)
Bishop Dwenger High School (MMD, Life Skills, St. Mother Theresa Program for Students with Special Needs)
St. Joseph (MMD)
St. Pius X (MMD)
St. Joseph, Hessen Cassel (MMD)
Mishawaka Catholic (MMD)
Marian High School (MMD, Life Skills Classes, Bernadette Scholars Program for Students with Special Needs)
St. Louis Besancon (MMD)
St. John the Baptist (MMD)
St. Bernard (MMD)
Christ the King (MMD)
Corpus Christi (MMD)
Holy Cross (MMD)
Holy Family (MMD)
St. Adalbert (MMD)
St. Anthony de Padua (MMD)
St. Jude (MMD)
St. Matthew Cathedral (MMD)
Saint Joseph High School (MMD)
Students with an “other health impairment” (OHI) have limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment due to a chronic or acute health problem, including but not limited to asthma, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, leukemia, kidney disease, sickle cell anemia, or Tourette Syndrome.
St. Joseph (OHI)
Most Precious Blood (OHI)
Our Lady (Tourette Syndrome)
St. Charles Borromeo (OHI)
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (OHI)
St. Vincent de Paul (OHI)
Bishop Luers High School (OHI)
St. Joseph (ADHD, OHI)
St. Louis Besancon (ADHD, OHI)
St. John the Baptist (ADHD, OHI)
Saint Joseph High School (OHI)
Specific Learning Disability (SLD) is a group of learning challenges including conditions that affect a child’s ability to read, write, listen, speak, reason, or do math. Among others, this includes dyslexia, dyscalculia, and written expression disorder (dysgraphia). Additionally, many of our diocesan schools offer Orton Gillingham Tutoring (OGT).
St. Joseph (OGT)
Most Precious Blood (OGT)
Our Lady (OGT)
Queen of Angels (OGT)
St. Charles Borromeo (SLD, OGT)
St. John the Baptist (OGT)
St. Jude (OGT)
St. Therese (OGT)
St. Vincent de Paul (SLD, OGT)
St. Joseph, Hessen Cassel(OGT)
Christ the King (OGT)
St. Anthony de Padua (OGT)
St. Jude (OGT)
St. Bernard (SLD)
In our diocese, 82% of our Catholic Schools offer support for students who experience a speech or language impairment, with many partnering with local public schools to provide support.
Speech or language impairments may include stuttering, challenges pronouncing words or sounds, difficulty expressing oneself, difficulty understanding what others communicate, and more.
Many of our diocesan schools offer additional support for students with unique needs. If you have a child with a unique need that is not outlined on this page, we encourage you to contact the diocesan school of your choice. The principal will work with you to identify which school or schools in the area may be best equipped to help your child excel.
Examples of additional support offered at one or more Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Schools include:
- Physical Therapy (PT)
- Occupational Therapy (OT)
- English Language Learners Services (ELS)
St. Mary (OT, PT, ELS)
St. Joseph (ELS)
Most Precious Blood (OT, ELS)
Our Lady (ELS)
Queen of Angels (OT, ELS)
St. Charles Borromeo (OT, PT, ELS)
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (ELS)
St. John the Baptist (OT)
St. Jude Elementary (OT, ELS)
St. Therese (OT)
St. Vincent de Paul (OT, PT, ELS)
Bishop Luers High School (OT, PT, ELS)
Bishop Dwenger High School (OT)
St. Joseph (OT, PT)
St. Pius X (ELS)
St. Joseph, Hessen Cassel (OT)
Huntington Catholic (OT, PT)
Mishawaka Catholic (ELS)
Queen of Peace (OT, PT)
Marian High School (ELS)
St. John the Baptist (OT, PT)
St. Michael (OT, PT, ELS)
St. Aloysius (OT, PT)
Christ the King (OT, PT, ELS)
Corpus Christi (OT, PT, ELS)
Holy Cross (OT, ELS)
Holy Family (OT)
St. Adalbert (OT, ELS)
St. Anthony de Padua (OT, ELS)
St. Jude (OT, ELS)
St. Matthew Cathedral (OT, PT, ELS)
Saint Joseph High School (OT, PT, ELS)
Resources for Parents
This guide provides an overview and is a practical resource to help parents, advocates, school personnel, and students understand the requirements of Indiana’s special education rules. It is published by the Indiana Department of Education.