While most children are typically enrolled in public school from K-12, there are some cases in which it’s better to enroll your child in special needs schools. However, these schools can be hard to find and aren’t available in all areas. Here’s how to determine if you should send your child to a special needs school near you and where to find one if you decide it’s right for you.
Define your child’s needs
Identifying your child’s needs is a difficult task. There are many nuances to take into consideration when selecting a special needs school for your child. It can be helpful to narrow down your options by writing down what you know about your child, and how they learn best.
For example, my daughter has autism and attends a special needs school. The staff at her school are trained in autism, so they know how she learns best and can help her with behavior interventions if needed. They also offer other therapies like speech therapy that I might not be able to afford on my own.
If you’re still having trouble deciding which school might be best suited for your child’s specific needs, ask yourself these questions:
1) What types of services does the school provide?
2) How much does the tuition cost?
3) Does this special needs school offer transportation for students who live outside of walking distance from their campus?
4) What will happen after graduation from high school or college?
5) Will there be any out-of-pocket expenses during my child’s attendance at this special needs school?
6) Do the teachers specialize in any areas where I feel my child could benefit from some more instruction or support (e.g., math)?
Do your research
The first step in choosing a special needs school is to find out what your child’s needs are. A process of elimination can do this: if you know your child is intellectually disabled, then a school that only handles emotional disabilities won’t do. Talk to a professional about any specific challenges your child has and see which schools handle those issues.
If you’re not sure where to start, contact the local chapter of The Arc or The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY). They have lists of schools that match up with your preferences.
Next, visit three potential special needs schools in person. While talking to school representatives, ask plenty of questions and get an idea of how they would accommodate your specific situation.
Consider your budget
If you want to find a special needs school near me, you need to make sure that you’re looking at schools within your budget. I know this sounds obvious, but it’s really important not to stretch yourself too thin financially. Sometimes parents will take out a loan or get another credit card in order to afford a more expensive program, and then they’ll have trouble paying back the debt. If you can’t afford it, don’t do it! Find a school that is right for your child without taking on more debt than you’re comfortable with. You might be able to save money by comparing prices, even if the program doesn’t meet your standards.
Remember, most programs are going to work just fine if you aren’t picky about every detail of their facilities; remember that these programs exist primarily because of the children who attend them and not because of what material their classrooms are made from or how modern their building looks from the outside. Most students go through day-to-day life pretty much like any other student, so don’t worry about being particular about everything else as long as the care given is excellent.
Schedule a tour
Visiting your potential schools is an important part of the process of deciding where to enroll your child. The tour will be a good opportunity to see how your child’s needs will be met and get a feel for the school’s culture.
Before you visit, it is helpful to prepare by making a list of questions you want to be answered. Some things to think about are:
How will my child spend his/her time in class?
What types of activities does he/she participate in?
Who does my child report to?
How are children disciplined? Is there an occupational therapist on staff, and if so, what services do they provide?
If there is a behavior specialist, what type of support can I expect from him or her?
If my child has autism or another sensory processing disorder, can the school accommodate this need?
Asking these questions and getting answers before touring schools may help narrow down your choices and save you some time. You may find that one campus simply feels right more than any other. That feeling might be enough to confirm that it is the right place for your family!
It can be difficult to make a decision on where to send your child to school. There are so many factors to consider and you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of special needs schools near me. One way to narrow your search is by looking at different special needs programs available at each school. For example, some schools specialize in sports or art. You may also want to research what types of services are offered, such as speech therapy or occupational therapy. Finally, talk with parents of children who attend that school and ask them about their experience and if they would recommend it.
The more information you have, the easier it will be to choose the best place for your child. If you’re still having trouble deciding which school is right for your child, contact us and we’ll help you find one that meets all of your criteria. We know how hard this can be and our goal is to connect you with the perfect special needs school for your child. Contact us today for more information!
Even though there are so many different special needs schools near me, not every school caters to every type of disability. Before choosing a school for your child, it’s important to fully understand his or her unique educational requirements. Whether your child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or has ADHD and ADD/ADHD-PI, these conditions require certain kinds of care from qualified staff members and experts who understand how specific conditions affect people over time. Once you understand exactly what type of care your child requires, search through our database of specialists close by!