The excitement of the new school year is universally palpable; the smell of the new school supplies, books, shiny new shoes, and “school clothes.” Although many years have passed, I can still recall the fun of shopping for my school supplies after the first day of school, meeting my classmates in the local “five and dime”, and covering my books with brown paper shopping bags. Shopping with my own children years later brought the same level of anticipation for the adventures ahead in the new school year.
For parents of a student who may have some special learning needs, the level of anxiety and apprehension is heightened. We cross our fingers in the hopes that the new teacher(s) will be patient, understanding, flexible, experienced, and knowledgeable in alternative teaching methodology.
But… if this proves not to be the case, this is the time to do your research and explore the programs, supports, and options that are available for students with special needs. Open House events are already scheduled, both in-person and virtually. Spaces tend to be limited so it’s critical to register and get the ball rolling as soon as possible.
Open House Tips
When researching and visiting alternative programs, it’s critical to pay close attention to the mission, educational philosophy, curriculum, and methodologies employed by the staff and faculty.
Here is just a small sampling of the important questions and points to have at the ready when you attend an open house event:
- Class size
- Support services
- Individualized instruction
- Student profile
- Teacher training
- Self-contained vs. inclusion
We have a list of over 30 questions to keep in mind when visiting a special education program. Some are specific to the classroom, some are more general questions pertaining to the program and facility. This should be part of your “bible” during the process of exploring and researching all the options available to your child. Let us help you build your “bible” as you navigate the special education admissions process.