In most cases, special education requires a school that has a number of choices for the student as well as parents. Such choices range from the allowance of mid-session withdrawal, resource classes for your child to receive additional assistance, adequate staff support per child and a dedicated special education classroom. Researching the best special education school for your child is often difficult for parents. The best way to start your research is by identifying the needs of your child. Children with special needs often require different methods of instruction and their learning needs are rarely met in traditional classrooms.
Four key areas to keep in mind as instrumental for a child with special needs growth are; emotional, intellectual, physical and social. While researching special education schools, parents must ensure that these four key areas are adequately covered in the schools curriculum. Achieving success in these four key areas promotes better independence and enables easy achievement of social and emotional education. There are an ever-increasing amount of special education school options throughout the US and keeping up with the differences, pros and cons can be quite a challenge. Different types of classroom settings such as an inclusive classroom or self-contained classroom are options based on the specific needs of your child. Alternatively, many parents are turning to special education tutoring as a viable option to assist their child with special needs reach their excellence. No matter which option you choose, here are some tips to use during the search process.
4 Tips For Finding The Perfect Special Education School:
1. School Environment
A large part of finding the perfect school for your child has to do with your gut feeling. When you first walk into the building, what’s your initial reaction? If you feel at all uneasy or things just aren’t quite as they seem, it’s usually a good sign to dig deeper or perhaps walk away. Additional questions to ask regarding the schools learning environment are;
Does the school have varied methods of instruction tailored to the specific learning needs of your child?
Does the school have projects that assist the students in understanding diversity and do they promote inclusion beyond the confines of the classroom as well?
Do you feel welcome at the school?
Will your child feel active and safe at the school?
2. The Principal
Meet the Principal along with the teachers with which your child will be interacting. Ask the Principal what training they’ve had as it relates to educating children with special needs. Find out if they are a certified special education teacher. Similar to the CEO of a business, the principal largely sets the tone for how the school is run and directly affects the overall moral of everyone. Finally, make sure you know how the school ensures accountability from its staff and special education program.
3. The Teachers
The biggest influencing factor on your child is their special education teacher. It is the teacher who can impact the child more than the curriculum, the program and even the school itself. After all, the reason you’re researching special education schools is because the traditional classroom your child came from hasn’t been effective in teaching to the specific learning needs of your child.
In some schools, a special educator and the teacher may not be the same. In this case, a special educator may work between multiple classrooms and be viewed more as added support instead of a full-time teacher. You need to understand how the teacher and the special educator communicate with each other, frequency and effectiveness in understanding the specific learning needs of your child.
Communication is paramount in life. As a parent, it’s vital that you remain informed of your child’s progress at school. Important questions to ask in the area of communication techniques are;
How often does the school conduct parent-teacher meetings?
How often do the teachers ask for input from the child’s family on their progress?
What is the channel used for parents to communicate any information or knowledge they want to share with the school staff.
Most important of all, can you envision your child being happy when they return home from school?
While there may not be a perfect method to choosing a special education school for your child, these tips have been used by hundreds of parents across the US. The primary takeaway from this article is to ask a ton of questions. A simple measure of success in these situations is when people begin to get visibly frustrated with the number of questions you’re asking. When their faces begin to turn red, you’ve done an excellent job!