Are you looking for the best school for your child with special needs? Parenting a child with special needs presents a unique set of challenges and obstacles to seeing your child succeed and be their best.
Like most parents, it’s tempting to keep your child to yourself. You know what methods of care work best for them. It’s hard to trust your child with another set of capable hands. Nothing seems more challenging than sending them to school for the first time.
Luckily, most schools offer a special education program that can tailor your child’s education to fit their limitations while offering standard concepts and ideas.
A special education teacher has been trained to handle various disabilities in a caring and nurturing environment.
Disabilities such as:
However, choosing the best school for your child can be difficult, as not all schools are equal.
Choosing the Best School for Your Child With Special Needs
When selecting the best school for your special needs child, here is what to consider.
#1 Get information from your local disability services
These organizations know what special education programs are available in the schools in your area. They can help provide information on which schools have the services to best fit your child’s special accommodations.
If you live in a large city, there may be quite a few options, such as:
- Private special needs schools
- Public schools
- Private schools
- Charter schools
Also, if your child received pre-school special education through a source other than a traditional school, make time to speak with those officials to gain insight on the best course of action.
#2 Contact your school district’s Board of Education
Who better to tell you in-depth about special education services than the organization running the program? Unfortunately, some schools do not participate in special education programs.
Instead, they may follow a school structure known as full inclusion. Full inclusion is where all children learn together simultaneously, regardless of disabilities or limitations.
It’s best to check with the Board of Education before enrolling your child in a specific school to make sure they can handle your child’s learning disabilities or other special needs as severe as they may be.
The transition from home to school can be a troubling one for children. Make every effort to ensure that experience will only happen once.
#3 Visit the schools you are considering
If your community has more than one school to choose from, contact each school individually to set up a time to tour the facilities. Gathering information from outside sources will give you a general idea of the special education programs and school structure.
But it takes actual hands-on interaction to make the right decision. Speak with the school’s special education teachers, school officials, and other paraeducators that might have a hand in your child’s education.
Prepare a list of questions you would like answers to, and take notes along the way so you can easily refer to them later. Finally, write down what each school offers its students and weigh the pros and cons.
There’s no harm in thoroughly inspecting a school before making a decision. Your research will help your child succeed as a student in reaching their educational goals.
#4 Consider the typical size of the classroom
In America, the average size of a typical classroom is between 20 and 30 children. Being around that many children daily might cause agitation, anxiety, or frustration for a child with special needs.
Some schools have a self-contained classroom design. This is where children with special needs are in smaller groups in a calmer environment. This allows them to receive more one-on-one attention away from the pressures of their peers.
Other schools might choose to go with a separate classroom environment, which means special education is taught away from the regular classroom during the school day.
A school might choose to use partial inclusion methods. This means a child with special needs could spend part of the day in a regular classroom and the rest in special education classes.
Finding the best method that works for your child is the ultimate key to educational success. But it might require some dedicated research before you reach a conclusion.
#5 Standards of Special Education
Every child from the age of 3 on up has the right to free formal education in the United States, even if they require the assistance of special education programs.
The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 mandated that all states offer the ability to learn to children of eligible school age, regardless of limitations or disability.
In 1990, this act was renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Then the No Child Left Behind Act became law in 2001.
The history of special education doesn’t go back very far. Before EAHCA, children with disabilities often did not attend regular schooling.
School districts did not equip teachers to handle specific disabilities, so these children were often either homeschooled or sent to an institution that could address their limitations.
It was a heartbreaking decision for a parent to make, but modern times afford your child with learning disorders or other special needs the same chance at traditional education as the rest of the children.
Making an informed decision about the best school for your child will provide a learning environment that can mean the difference between success and struggle.
Schools that offer a special education program will require you to participate in creating an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to set forth concise, definable goals the educators will work towards with your child during their school year.
The IEP goals help you mark milestones, celebrate educational achievements, and know what to work on with your child outside of the school environment.
Additional Help for Your Child
Special Education Resource understands that choosing the best school for your child with special needs is critical to their success in meeting their goals.
However, there is no “right path” or “wrong path” to take when it comes to learning, and this should be done at a child’s own pace.
Alternatively, seeking the help of supplemental special education services can inspire confidence, self-esteem, and pride in your child with special needs.
Would you like to find out how we could help? Get a free consultation today!