If you have a child who has special needs for their education, it can be a real challenge to find the right educational environment for them and their needs. There are a number of different kinds of special education schools that tailor their cirriculums to a wide variety of issues and needs. With some work, you can find the best school for your child.
Tips for Evaluating Special Education Schools.
- Get the right diagnosis.schools. For example, the number of children who have been diagnosed with Autism has dramatically increased since the 1980s. An Autism diagnisis is based on a spectrum and the school can tailor your child’s learning program to their specific needs but they will need an accurate diagnosis.
- Talk to parents of children with similar issues. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Reach out to support groups for parents of children with similar issues. They may have both suggestions for specific special education schools or have ideas about ways to find them. If your child has been diagnosed with Autism, (1 in 5 kids today fall on some part of the Autism spectrum. This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) talk to parents of Autistic kids. They can also help you come up with the right questions you should ask when interviewing different schools.
- Talk to your local school district.
- Visit a few special education schools. Once you have decided that your child would be best served in one of the special education schools and you have a list, make it a point to go out to a few. Get to know the staff. Look at the facilities and ask the teachers about their approach, experience and cirriculum. Think about how you would feel going to the school and ask yourself if you can see your child being happy there. Talk to ther parents, find out about activities and take note of how happy the current students are.
Before you send your child to any of the special education schools, make sure you have asked about the following:
- How much training do the instructors get? Find out about their level of training and experience dealing with special needs children. Make sure you meet at least a few of the teachers. You can ask them individually about their approach and cirriculum.
- Talk to the principal. A good principal can make all the difference at any school. This is even more true with special education schools. What is this person’s education and experience working with special needs kids? Make sure you really understand their positions and policies. For exmaple, many schools tout their policies of “inclusion” but some so not specify what they mean. Ask the principal to explain their policies thouroughly.
- How much communication can you expect from the school? Ask about how much input they will accept from their students’ family. You need to be sure you have the same philosophy the school as regarding communicating with them about your child’s performance and progress. When they are working on developing an Individualized Education Plan, which will outline how they plan to specifically address your child’s needs, make sure you can offer input and feedback.
Special needs schools have come a long way in recent years. If you take some time to research the special education schools in your area and the various programs offered at mainstream schools, you will be able to find one that will have the right cirriculum and offers everything your child will need to succeed in their education and in life.