My son, his SPED teachers and Principal,assuming that you already had your child assessed; the evaluator probably will suggest therapy (occupational, physical, speech, or behavior) for your child. The evaluator will also suggest that you child be placed in a regular school that accepts a special needs child, or a special education center/school.
Most developmental pediatricians/psychologists/diagnosticians have lists of these professionals/centers according to their location, so you can try and see which ones can work best for you.
Considerations when choosing a school/center for you special needs child:
1. Accessibility- As the realtor says, “location, location, location.” Is it near your abode? Is transportation readily available?Why is this an important consideration? Depending on the condition of your child, some children with special needs are irritable and gets easily bored. If it takes a lot of time to get to your destination, you might have a problem while on the street. Some tantrums take long to pacify.
2. Budget – The care for a special child does not stop with paying the tuition fee. There’s other school expenses, transportation allowance, food, medicines, doctors, and the therapy (which for a year, is more than the cost of tuition fees). Pick a school that will not be a burden for the family, especially if you have more than one child. There are public schools that are at par with private special schools. Public school teachers are also adept in teaching as they are required to attend seminars and conferences to enhance their craft. NGOs also finance some public school facilities. Along with the right therapy, I don’t think public schooling is a bad choice.
3. Facilities – One of the most important factor is air-conditioning. A cool and serene place is a must for children with special needs. Some schools also offer therapy, so you don’t need to go to a different center for that. Mobility is also an issue if your special needs child is on a wheelchair.
4. Class Size – What is the teacher:student ratio? Smaller class size is better, so you’ll be sure that your child gets the attention he needs.
5. Competence of the staff/educators/principal – I placed this as number five, because you cannot be sure of their competence the first time, so you will know this along the way.
6. Curriculum – Ask for their curriculum. Special needs children develops easily with a play-based program. Regular schools that accept children with special needs must have staff that can handle the child. Children who are accepted in regular schools are mostly those that can cope with the environment physically, socially, emotionally, and mentally. The school at least, should have a guidance counselor that has an experience in handling special children. This guidance counselor should have the capabilities to shadow teach when necessary.
The school principal together with the guidance counselor will initially talk with the parents to discuss how they can be of help to your child. Sometimes, they will make you sign an agreement that states that you agree with their rules and regulations, like submitting required documents on a prescribed date.
A good school-parent relationship is vital to the development of your child, so before you talk to them, write down your questions so you will not forget key notes.
To help you with your search, click on the following links:
Read more information on how to choose the right school or center for your child from aboutkidshealth.com.