A child starting school is a major milestone for families. It is an emotional experience for everyone involved, but when your child has special needs the milestone brings all of the emotions tenfold. There are lots of things to consider and this can be completely overwhelming. Finding the perfect school for your child is important because you need and want them to be safe, happy and in an environment where they can thrive. As well as ensuring the school is able to provide them the best education tailored to their learning difficulties.
In this blog, SpecialKids Company will provide you with five steps to finding the perfect school for children with special needs.
Top things to consider when choosing a special needs school
It’s important to consider your child’s condition(s) and what school environment would be most suitable for their individual needs. Find out what the schools strengths are and what they excel at. For example, some schools have better facilities and equipment, which might be suitable if your child has physical disabilities, whereas some schools specialise in conditions such as autism.
The first step leads you on to this big one - learning all about the school. Not only what they specialise in, but where they are located, what their policies are, the facilities that they have, what kind of additional support is available for special needs children and their curriculum.
You can view a schools Ofsted report online, which might help your decision-making process.
It’s so important to visit the school and get a good feel for its environment. Sometimes you just know
instantly when walking through a door if something is right for your family, particularly if your child has sensory issues. Write a list of questions, take it with you and don’t be afraid to ask them. This is your opportunity to find out all the information you couldn’t find before visiting. Speak to the Head Teacher and members of staff.
It’s also wise to visit the school with your child - after all it will be them who is attending. This way you can gauge how they feel about the environment and also see how the staff interact with them.
If you’re a parent to a child with special needs then you will know that your community and ‘speaking from experience advice’ is invaluable. Talking to other parents whose children attend the schools that you are interested in is a good way to get honest, real opinions. The kind of stuff that you might not find on the school’s website or when visiting.
Making a final decision isn’t always easy. But following the advice above and trusting your instinct is a good place to start. It is an extremely overwhelming process, so take your time, speak to everyone that you can and take lots of notes. List the positives and negatives. If your child is able to communicate, find out how they feel.
And remember, you - and your child - have absolutely got this.
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