Special Education or a Special School? Parents of Disabled Children Have a Choice


The trend in the United States for decades now has been to “mainstream” children with autism and other learning disabilities in regular classes. But there are alternatives that some parents prefer, including putting their children into special education schools.

One of the biggest issues that special education teachers deal with these days is autism. Whether it is an actual increase in the disorder or just better diagnosis, the number of autism cases has increased dramatically since the 1980s, and it is now estimated that one in every 50 children has some form of autism. Kids with mild forms of autism may simply appear socially awkward and have no real cognitive deficits while those with more serious forms can be non-verbal and unable to read or write. Some autistic children exhibit expert skills in certain disciplines such as math or music while being unable to care for themselves.

This can present a problem for schools in how to deal with such children. Large school districts with many specialists may be able to adequately serve such children, but smaller schools may not be able to. That can make special education schools a good option. Such schools can provide specialized care and instruction to kids with autism or another type of disability.

Whether you send your child to a special school or have them enrolled in a special education program at a public or private school, it’s important that your child gets individualized instruction. All special needs students need to receive an individualized education program that is tailored to their needs and to their specific disabilities. Children with autism need different programming than kids with other mental or physical disabilities.

The good thing about children with autism is that symptoms usually show up from a young age; in fact, most children identified as autistic are diagnosed before the age of three. This allows the parents and educators to get an early start on specialized education for the student. Many other learning disabilities do not appear until much later on in life.

Whatever your child’s disability, it is important that you find the best educational situation. That may simply be a traditional special education program in a school or it may involve sending your child to a special needs school.

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