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Choosing the Right School for a Child with Additional Needs

When it comes to their needs and abilities, it goes without saying that all children are different. Whilst some may thrive best in a competitive or strict environment, others tend to do better in a smaller and more relaxed setting where their creative and communication skills can be nurtured and expanded. Choosing the perfect school for your special needs child may seem like a daunting task to start off with, however, it all comes down to finding the perfect balance of academic excellence and extra support to ensure that attending school is a memory that they enjoy. Children with disabilities are just as entitled to a well-rounded education as any other, and selecting the right school is essential for ensuring this. Here are some of the main things to look out for.

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#1. Management:

Special needs children are all unique with their own personal needs and requirements, so don’t be surprised if you come across some schools that just don’t seem to be a good fit. Bear in mind that just because a school is designed to cater to students with additional needs, this will not always mean that your child should be attending. It’s important to take the time to look around and speak with the head teacher and other members of the management team to ensure that their views and opinions on education – and how it is delivered – are in line with your own. More importantly, do they understand your child’s needs on a personal level?

#2. Facilities:

Secondly, it’s a wise idea to check out all the facilities available and do some comparisons to determine which school is going to offer the most for your child. For example, if your child is living with a physical disability, then a school such as Spero Academy, which provides physical therapy as well as regular learning, may be the right choice for him/her. On the other hand, children who are on the autism spectrum may benefit from gentle sensory-based and self-led learning. The best way to ensure that you match your child with the right school is to first understand how he/she learns best.

#3. Classroom Size:

For many children with additional needs, simply being in a large classroom full of other children can be hugely overwhelming for them, particularly when it comes to children with autism. Before enrolling your child in school, it’s a wise idea to find out how big you can expect the classrooms to be. Some special needs schools will operate with regular sized classes, whilst others tend to adapt to a more one-on-one, personal approach. Of course, this will depend on your child’s needs and personality. If they’re easily overwhelmed by large groups of people and tend to distract easily, smaller classroom sizes are the way forward.

#4. Supportive Community:

Lastly, the best type of school for your child is one in which you will both be part of a supportive community of teachers, parents, and other students. This is especially helpful for parents of additional needs children, who can discuss their concerns and share advice to help them understand their children better.

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