While most children see dream jobs, spouses and freedom in their futures, Brian Bailey saw only death. The autistic boy, who stopped speaking at 18 months, grew up with anxiety about getting older, and his rocky educational track record early on didn't allay his fears.
"I was obsessing from the beginning about his future, asking 'What am I going to do?' " said his mother, Jennell Bailey, as she recalled his one week in a Baltimore public school general-education classroom, where she said he wasn't flourishing.
But in 2014 when Brian Bailey graduates from the St. Elizabeth School in Baltimore — a nonpublic institution that is part of a group called the Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities — he will be eagerly anticipating the next stage of his life.
MANSEF, which is made up of schools that take in special-education students who are referred from public schools that can't meet their needs, recently commissioned a report that showed that their post-graduation results outpace national outcomes for students with disabilities who receive services in public schools.