As a parent of a special needs child, you also serve as an advocate for his or her educational needs. One of the many decisions you must make is deciding whether a public or private school education would be more beneficial to him or her. If you are considering enrolling your child in a private school program, here are some questions to ask before making a final decision.
What Are the Teacher Certification Requirements?
Public school teachers are required to meet strict guidelines that are set by the state. For special education teachers, there are often additional requirements that must be met. If a teacher fails to meet the guidelines, he or she will not be certified to teach within the state.
Private school teachers do not necessarily have to adhere to the same guidelines. Private institutions have the right to set their own standards. Before enrolling your child in a private school, find out what requirements he or she had to meet to be hired to teach in the school and specifically, in a class for special needs children.
What Accommodations Are Available?
Public schools have a range of accommodations available to assist students with special needs. The schools also make concessions to help your child get the best education possible. Many private schools also have those accommodations.
If your child requires accommodations, such as adaptive listening equipment, you need to ensure the private school has it. You also need to know what concessions the school is willing to make. For instance, if your child sees an ADHD coach while at school normally, will the school allow the coach to continue his or her work with your child during the school hours? Will the school have a room or area setup for the work to continue?
How Are Behavioral Problems Handled?
Public schools have protocols in place to handle behavioral problems. If your child has occasional problems, you need to know exactly how the private school handles them. In addition to this, you need to know how the school monitors the strategies that are used to handle behavioral issues.
If the private school has a policy that could eventually lead to suspension or expulsion, find out what it is. You want to know ahead of time if the policy could have an impact on your child.
Keep track of the answers you receive from the private schools you are considering and be sure to also ask questions that pertain to your child's specific needs.