Your child is no longer a kid. He is now a teen. He likes girls. He wants to go to a big school. He is a Special Needs teen. What's stopping you then? You don't know which school to choose? Is that it? No problemo.
Here's how to choose a school for your special needs teen.
- Look for a school that specializes in your kid's special needs. By now you know if your teen struggles with medical, behavioral, cognitive, and motor skills. Therefore, find a school that specializes in one or all of these disabilities. You can start right in your own location by speaking with your teen's school adviser or counselor. You can also go online to broaden your search.
- Decide on a public or private school. The only difference between these two is how much many it will take. There is one advantage to a private school though. There will be fewer students per class so your kid gets more time and attention from his teacher.
- Seek the advice of your teen. Ask him where his friends are most likely going to go when school starts and whether he wants to go to the same school as his friends. The next step would be to interview the parents of his friends for some input and advice. You all are in the same boat so your goal is the same as theirs, to find the best school for their teen.
- Ask members of your immediate family. Especially if you have relatives and close family members who are also dealing with the same situation. It will put you greatly at ease to know that their own teens are in a great school where your teen can go to as well. Solves your search right away.
- Think about location. Very important, this one. Choose a school that will be easy for your teen to reach when he needs to commute. It should also be within a short driving distance in case you need to pick him when a school bus breaks down or is unavailable.
- Pick a school where your teen can easily make friends and be with his own friends when he needs to. This means making it possible for him to meet up with his friends when he wishes (under supervision of course) and gives him the opportunity of making new friends at school. The school environment should be an encouraging place for your teen to make new friends without being ashamed of his personal struggles and without fear of rejection.
- Lean towards a school where a uniform is required. Especially when the cost of tuition is prohibitive, it's better to choose a school that requires their students to wear uniforms. He's going to look cute in it, too!
- Determine how much you can pay for tuition. This is also a very important factor when choosing a school not that you will be scrimping on your teen's special needs education. You need to be realistic in the sense that you can commit to the financial demands it will take to keep your teen in that school. If you neglect this part, you might end up yanking your teen out of the school because you lack the funds mid-term. It's going to be a difficult setback for your teen considering his condition.
- Review the curriculum. The curriculum must address your teen's special needs with quantifiable academic results after each school term. You would want your teen to have fun yes, but more importantly you want him to have a shot at a great professional future that a great education provides.
- Request for an audience with the school principal. When you get a meeting, ask all your questions pertaining to your teen's special needs. Then ask if you can observe a class in session. Finally, walk the school grounds and check out various facilities like the library, restrooms, locker rooms, activity areas, gyms, etc.
Choosing to a school for your special needs teen is something to look forward to. It's a great beginning for you and for your teen. Truly an exciting adventure!