Choosing the right school for your special needs child
Every parent's aspirations are for their child to have the best education, but this can prove to be a perplexing affair when you have a child with special needs. Parents with such children often do not know which is the right school let alone the programs that their kids are eligible for.
Where To Start?
When searching for the right school for your special needs child, start by getting in touch with the Department of Special Education to have your child evaluated, and the team of experts sent by the department will also recommend suitable schools for your kid.
Remember to consult with the school's faculty about your child's IEP (Individualized Education Plan). The IEP should list the various services the child will need detailing both the long-term and short-term social and educational goals. For instance, your child is entitled to learn in a "least prohibitive" environment; that means that he or she should be allowed opportunities to mingle and socialize with other kids who are not necessarily disabled or with special needs.
The Available Options
Special education schools offer different programs that vary according to the school district. The programs can run half or full day and will include the following choices:
• A self-contained learning environment where the schools have classes that only have students with special needs. Such classes are designed to ensure each child gets individualized instructions from a trained teacher on various developmental delays. The students will nonetheless have opportunities to interact with other developing peers which serves to model their skills and behavior.
•A learning environment that includes students without disabilities where the class setting ensures the child has every opportunity to interact with other students who do not have disabilities. Nevertheless, the child will get individualized attention for the teacher.
• A community-based education program center supported by the district's special education department. The center has a staff who are regularly trained by special education teachers sent by the school district.
Pick What's Right For Your Child
As you do all you can to make sure your special needs child gets the best education, ensure that your objective is guided by what's right for your child based on his or her needs. Consider the following:
• Take the time to visit the school and evaluate their program. Talk with the faculty and let them be aware of your child's challenges. Ensure the school and the teachers are willing to take in and care for your kids.
• Make sure you know how the IEP goal will be met and if there will be a need for any support services. While at it, ask about the curriculum to know ensure that is it both developmental and play-based. The school should be willing to work closely with you or the child's therapist (if he or she has one).
• Consider a learning environment that has a small number of pupils, no more than 12 per class and with around two teachers.
Ultimately, the school your choose should be right for your child, based on the disabilities. For instance, if your child has complex needs, then a community special education center is suitable since it will allow your kid to learn how to socialize. However, an established special education school will be an ideal option if your child can learn how to master functional skills.
Ivy Norton is a mother of 3 and founder of mommasbaby.com. She’s a passionate mommy blogger and focuses on providing parenting news, tips and advice.