There are a variety of special education schools and programs in both private and public settings. Because every child has unique needs, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. With proper planning and support, your child’s education can be a successful and positive experience.
Fully inclusive classrooms
In this type of setting, a child with special needs will learn alongside other children who do not have learning disabilities. The child is not singled out as different, as none of the other students know about her special needs. There is usually a special education teacher present in the classroom alongside the regular teacher. Teachers will share assignments and instructions, helping all students.
Inclusion classes allow each student to learn at their own level and pace. Children who are not eligible for special services, but who struggle to keep up, will also benefit from this type of class. While this type of learning works well for most children, some will have difficulty coping with the stimuli of a typical classroom full of students.
The self-contained classrooms are separated so that a child with special needs can receive more individual instruction. These types of classes usually group a small number of children with similar learning needs. Depending on the size of the school, the age and level of the children within the class can vary.
Most education experts believe that spending time with peers is an important part of learning. For this reason, some children with special needs enrolled in self-contained classes will share the same time every day in a regular class. Depending on the child, a paraeducator may accompany them while they are in regular class.
Children who need one-on-one help to keep up with grade-level work, but don’t need the structure of a self-contained classroom, may benefit from a placement in a resource room.
Out of district arming
In cases where a child with special needs requires a higher level of classroom structure and instruction, an out-of-district placement may be the best option. These types of classrooms can be found in residential, private, or public special education schools. In order to participate with State Board of Education funding, the family must first go through an application process.
Private special education schools
Private specialized day programs and residential programs are generally for children who are not successful in any of the other types of special education classes. However, sometimes educational services in the private sector also serve infants, toddlers or even adults.
Before choosing a private school program for your special needs child, you should visit and spend time there. This will allow you to get a genuine and direct feel for the school to decide whether the atmosphere, activities, courses, opportunities and arrangements will suit your child’s needs.
Other things you may want to consider are staffing, facilities, health services, visitation policies, meals, and how supervision is handled.
Your child with special needs deserves the best education available. Don’t forget to ask for your child’s input during the research and planning process. Once placement in one of the special education schools has been made, continue to monitor and be involved in your child’s education and care. And remember, you can always make changes if something doesn’t work.