Many thanks to today’s guest blogger, Jenny Wise. She’s a mother and advocate for those who have special needs.
Do you have a young child with special needs? If so, you’ve probably spent countless hours debating over what type of education he or she should receive. An education is an experience. Depending on the needs of your child, the type of education you choose could have a significant and lasting effect on his or her future.
To date, there are four common educational experiences you can choose for your child. These include charter schools, virtual schools, public schools, or homeschooling. In this article, we’re going to discuss all of these options in detail. You can also learn more through Presence Learning.
Charter Schools. While public schools were the first to begin accommodating students with special needs, charter schools have improved their programs in the past decade. Many are now dedicated to helping children with disabilities including ADHD, autism, mental illnesses, and more. Most charter schools are free to attend. Rather than choosing students through a system of approval, they are chosen through a lottery. Students often have the ability to attend on their own time, when classes are most convenient for them. If you want flexibility and understanding throughout your child’s education, a charter school may be the right fit.
Virtual Schools. Whether or not a virtual school will charge tuition depends entirely on the state in which you reside. If charter schools fail to offer the flexibility and experience your child needs, a virtual school may be the perfect way to remain involved in your child’s education without needing to teach him or her yourself. Virtual schools often offer the option of working in teams or working independently. Students are also able to customize their programs to meet specific needs. Rather than simply organizing your own time, you can organize your child’s education – piece by piece.
Public Schools. For some parents, virtual schools provide too much flexibility and demand too much responsibility. If you would rather leave teaching in the hands of in-person professionals, public schools may be the right fit for you. Generally speaking, parents choose to place their special needs students in public school based on the programs offered in their district. If your district specializes in students with specific learning needs, it might be worth considering.
You should take the time to meet teachers, learn about each program, and introduce your child to the building. Public school can be unforgiving if your child is unsure how to proceed and doesn’t feel comfortable in his or her surroundings. Learn more about programs in private and public schools through Great Schools.
Homeschooling. Parents who ultimately want control over the education of their child should consider homeschooling. This will allow your child to remain in a safe, comfortable environment, while still learning the necessary material required to be an independent adult. You can tailor your child’s learning to their interests, their home, and their belongings. You can also use members of your family to help with education. You can learn more about homeschooling through the HSLDA.
Sending a child with special needs to school for the first time can be nerve wracking and daunting. It can be difficult to make a decision if you aren’t entirely sure what your child is looking for in their education. What if you make the wrong call?
You know your child better than anyone else. That means any well-researched choice you make is valid. With the right educational experience, your child’s transition into education will be relatively smooth and your child will thank you in the years to come.
What educational options have you chosen for your child?
Jenny Wise chronicles her family’s ups and downs in homeschooling on her site: SpecialHomeEducator.com.