What are private special education schools?
Special needs private schools focus on special education programs to meet the needs of children and adolescents with learning disabilities and physical challenges. Students with severe ADHD, moderate-to-severe physical or behavioral obstacles, and other specialized educational needs receive customized instruction with individualized lesson plans, special counseling, adaptive physical education, speech therapy, modified curriculum and other supportive services. Private special education schools ensure that students can learn despite educational barriers caused by a medical condition or learning disability.
The evolution of special education over the recent decades has resulted in gains in educational opportunities for students with special needs. More and more students are finding success in traditional classroom settings with specialized supports. Parents may prefer that their child is educated in a classroom with typically developing students. However, sometimes additional supports are needed beyond what a traditional school can provide. Fortunately, there are private special education schools which are able to provide those supports. These schools offer day programs, boarding or residential programs, after care or in home support, parental support and community integration opportunities.
Most special needs private schools serve students with a particular diagnosis
- Blind or Visually Impaired
- Deaf or Hearing Impaired
- Developmental Disabilities
- Social/Emotional Disabilities
- Learning Differences
Parents should be clear about their student’s particular needs and diagnoses. This is especially important in order to make a good school match. Families should summarize all cognitive testing results, teacher commentary, current supports received and diagnoses into a concise document. Special needs students may often present with several disabilities and having current testing results and a thoughtful needs summary supports selection of optimal private school for special needs.
Even discovering the special needs private schools that address your student’s particular challenges, does not automatically make it the best fit school for your family. As with all school searches, do your research. Visit, speak with personnel and make sure that the school culture, location, classroom management, facility, student demographics and teacher qualification meet your expectations.
Evaluate these key criteria when considering private special education schools
- School is licensed and/or accredited by an appropriate entity relative to the types of services they provide.
- School offers a low faculty to student ratio allowing for individualized instruction when possible.
- School offers community outreach or support as students re-enter the mainstream.
- School can be paid (at least in part) with funding from the student’s home school district.