Friday, August 28, 2009

When public schools fail, consider private placement

Source Link - When public schools fail, consider private placement

Public schools don’t always accommodate special needs children with the services they require to succeed in school. Public schools may blame lack of funding or resources to give your child the education he deserves.

“We’d love to provide Eric a smaller classroom, but the school doesn’t have one.”

“We understand that Bella needs help with oral expression, but we don’t offer that here.”

If the public school system is failing to meet your child’s needs, private school might be the answer you are looking for. There are a multitude of private schools that cater to children with learning disabilities. Worried about the tuition? If the public school system is failing to meet your child’s needs and your child has not made effective progress, your school district must pay for it.

It is important to do research before you choose the right private school for your child. Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Schools lists all approved special education schools in Massachusetts. The directory includes the disabilities each school specializes in. For example, Brightside For Families and Children offers, day, residential and summer programs for children with a wide range of disabilities from Asperger's Syndrome to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder to Psychotic Disorder while the Clarke School for the Deaf specializes in hearing impaired and deaf children. Be sure to call the schools you are interested in and talk with them on the phone to see if they offer services that cater to your child’s specific needs.

Interview schools. Schedule appointments for you and your child to visit potential schools. A private school will want to interview you and your child to see if you are a good candidate. Remember, the interview is for your benefit as well. You want to ensure that the private school you choose is the best fit for your child’s needs.

Be prepared. When you go to your interviews, prepare a list of questions for the administrators and bring a pad of paper and pen to take notes. Also bring a folder for information the schools may give you.

Be honest. Do not hold back any information about your special needs child. It is important for the schools you look at to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, if your child has emotional or social behaviors and the school you’re interviewing is not equipped with an adjustment counselor, psychologist or onsite staff who can help your child succeed in social settings, it may not be the right school for you.

Private placement is not an option for all students. Work with your child’s public school before exploring private options. It may take time to get approved funding for your special needs child. You need to prove that the public school system is not providing your child with the free and appropriate education he deserves. However, it is an option worth pursuing if your school district is not providing your child with the services he needs. Private schools for children with learning disabilities have the resources and specialized staff to help your child succeed.
For more info: To order the most recent printed version of the MAAPS Directory of Member Schools, please send an email message to info@maaps.org. MAAPS willl send it right out with an invoice for $10 -- this fee covers printing & mailing costs.
For states other than Massachusetts, call your school district's Special Education Director or the Department of Education and ask about the listing for private schools in your area.