Important Things to Look for When Touring Special Education Schools for Your Child
Being a parent is the most rewarding job on earth, it’s also the toughest job on earth — hands down. Sure, there are a number of parenting classes expecting or even seasoned parents can take, and there are number of books, webinars, videos, and guides now available online to help parents discover their parenting style. But the fact remains that there is no “general rulebook” or guidelines in terms of parent. It’s not like after the baby is delivered, the doctor hands over a massive parenting book with highlighted notes! Parents are tasked with learning as they go, learning through experience, and learning from others.
As such, it’s no wonder that when the time comes — and boy does it come quickly — for your child to leave the safety of your nest and attend schools or a preschool program, the search for the right facility can be confusing, daunting, frustrating, tiring, and even drawn out in some cases. After all, finding the right school is not a decision that should be taken lightly, as there are a number of important factors and variables at play. School is an extension of a child’s life at home, so it’s imperative to find a school that aligns with your specific parenting style and values in order to create a sense of stability. The right school can help to reinforce and support the lessons you’re already teaching your child at home, helping them grow into happy, healthy adults.
However finding the right school can be especially difficult for parents of special needs children. This includes children with a learning disability, a social disability, mental illness, post traumatic stress disorder, or even a physical disability. Education reform has come a long way in terms of special education schools, special education programs, and schools for children with learning disabilities.
In the past, children with learning disabilities or special needs were simply put in the same classrooms as other children without special needs. Teachers would carry on with instructing all children in the same way, which often caused children with special needs or learning disabilities to fall behind. Luckily, this ineffective method of education has now completely changed! Nowadays, teachers, teacher aides, and classroom assistants at special education schools are well versed and experienced in working with learning disabilities and providing an enriching learning environment for children with special needs.
When it comes to finding the right special education schools for your children or child, there are a number factors to consider. First and foremost, take note of the facilities, the grounds, and the overall appearance of the space. Is it clean or littered? Is it well maintained with modern facilities and comforts, or does it look like it hasn’t been updated since the 1970s? Typically speaking, it’s better to choose special education schools with large budgets that allow them to impeccably maintain their grounds and facilities. Usually, this is a good indication that they’re education programs are solid too.
Next be sure to take not of the staff and their behavior. When you call, are you politely greeted by a human voice, or is there a confusing automated system to navigate, complete with long hold times. Is the staff helpful in answering your questions and patient, or do they seem stressed, short tempered, or annoyed with your questioning? When you sent an email inquiry, how long did it take to receive a response and was the communication clear and helpful? Although one negative experience may not be enough to completely write off a particular special education school, but series of poor experiences as well as an overall sense of staff dissatisfaction can potentially be a red flag to look out for.
It’s also very important to take note of the food the school provides for their children. This is especially important for parents of special needs children that have severe food allergies or sensitivities. All it takes is one peanut for a potentially dangerous allergic reaction to take place. For some parents, eating organic foods is important and they’d like their children to eat organic foods at school.