Making sure children have the best education possible is a very important job for parents. It can be difficult to weigh all the options and make the right choice for any child, but that responsibility becomes even more challenging when special needs come into play. Parents of children who face obstacles in a traditional classroom setting must find special education schools that offer the best possible educational opportunities while catering to the specific needs of their child.
Here are a few questions you can ask that can help you find the right fit for your child’s needs when choosing special education schools.
What is the Mission Statement of the School?
Find out what the school’s purpose is and how does your child with special needs fit into that overall vision. If it is a traditional school with a special needs program, what is being done to encourage inclusivity and how interactions between typical and special needs students are handled.
What Types of Specialists Do They Employ?
Look at the scope of services that are offered by each school you consider. Will your child be able to receive the therapy and services that they need, such as speech, occupational, or cognitive therapies? Are there additional programs available for students, like aquatic, music, or art therapy? How often do students get to take part in these programs?
How Does the School Handle Communication with Parents?
Ask about the school’s communication policy. Find out if you will have daily or weekly updates from your child’s teachers. Find out who handles any disciplinary communication and what the protocol is for behavior management. Talk to administration about their expectations of parents and their role in their child’s education.
Are There Assistants or Paras in Place Who Can Manage Needs?
Check out the student to staff ratio for children who have similar needs to your child. Does it feel like aides or paras are overworked, or do they have an adequate balance of students? Are there individuals on staff who understand your child’s medical issues and treatments? If not, is there someone willing and able to be trained?
Can You Visit a Classroom During Instructional Time?
The best schools have an open-door policy that will allow you to observe classrooms not only to make decisions about whether to enroll your child, but also to check in to see how your child is fitting in once they are enrolled. When there, watch for the connection between students and teachers. Get a feel for the overall mood and attitude of the students and staff.
There may be many other questions that you will need to ask to make sure that a special education school is the right fit for your child. Don’t be afraid to ask anything of the staff and administration. And always follow your instincts. Your gut will be your best guide as to whether a school is the right fit for your child.
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