Picking the Right Special Needs School
When the time comes for a child to go to school, many parents of children with special needs can find the school selection process to be overwhelming. While it is good that schools for children with special needs are becoming more common in the community, it can be difficult to figure out which is the best for each individual child. Parents may be concerned with the staff’s experience working with special needs or the school district’s willingness to accommodate non-traditional students.
When meeting with a teacher from a school for children with learning disabilities, parents are sure to have many questions. Because they are so inquisitive, parents may accidentally come across as combative or belligerent, even though they are just trying to be sure their child will be safe and thrive in a new environment. To avoid any misunderstandings, parents should have a list of questions ready, and remind themselves that the staff are doing the best they can to help the students.
An important question to ask is what the average classroom size is, and about the student to teacher ratio. Smaller classes tend to be best for students with special needs, as they can receive individual attention when they need it. The best schools for children with special needs will try to have a teacher’s aide in the room to help individual children when the teacher needs to address the entire room.
Parents may also want to ask how often the special needs students will interact with their neurotypical peers. Some schools integrate classes as often as they can, while others prefer working with learning disabilities at their own pace in a separate class. The ideal level of integration is up to the parents to decide what is best for their child.
If possible, the parents may ask to observe a portion of the class their child would be joining. Classroom observation and frank discussions about the curriculum will help the parents know what to expect during the school year. Many schools for students with learning disabilities encourage parent involvement, and may allow parents to view average test scores, if the records are available.
When it comes down to it, no one aspect of a facility will be better than all other schools for children with special needs. It is up to the parents to decide what program best fits the needs of their families. By choosing a school with this priority in mind, and by working with the child’s teacher during the school year, parents can help their child to flourish in their educational career. Helpful links.