How to Decide on a Good School
When you have children with learning disabilities in school or special needs, finding a good school for them is important whether you decide on public or private school. Here are a few things to think about.
You should always meet with the principal and also the teachers to give you a better understanding of the school atmosphere (which we will cover in a minute.) The principal really is the foundation to determining whether the school is successful. It is part of the principal’s responsibility to implement each child’s education plan. It would not to be inappropriate to question his training in special education. Asking him his opinions and ideas on matters such as inclusion and others will help you gain an understanding of his structure.
The School Atmosphere
A good school environment is crucial to your child. You want the school to immediately feel inviting and extremely safe. Pay attention to how you feel as you walk in because chances are, your child is very in tune with how he or she feels and if you are unsure or insecure or unwelcome walking in, your child may feel the same and not know how to handle it. Visiting during school hours, if possible is a good idea because that way you can see how the school feels during the day time and how it makes the children interact with each other.
Try and meet with as many teachers as possible to give you a good idea of how friendly (or unfriendly) everyone is. Ask if you can visit classes while in session to see how the teachers treat the children. Teachers have a huge impact on children as they see them for many hours of the day, almost every day. You want to make sure your child is being taught by someone who will continue your values, love and attentiveness in the classroom. Find out if the teacher themselves are the special education teacher or will your child have a teacher assigned to them. If so, meet the special education teachers to make a decision about them yourself. If your child will be having a special education teacher to help him or her, you should ask how they work it so that the child does not feel excluded or alienated from the rest of the class, as can so often happen in these situations. The child should not have to feel different from any other child in the classroom.
Pay close attention as to how clearly your questions and concerns are answered. Are they brushed aside or taken seriously? Does the principal and teacher listen attentively to your opinions or do they justify their own, demeaning yours? You can assume that how you are treated will be a standard above your children. If you already get a slightly negative vibe, chances are, your child will not be given the attention he or she needs to improve and learn and grow in a positive environment.
These are just a few things that you can keep in mind when researching schools. There are other areas you might want to research such as what types of specific programs a school offers like an autism program, etc. Private schools tend to have more option in that realm but there is no private school versus public school, only what you deem best for your child.