Does my child need a special needs school?

Monday, November 18, 2019

If your child tends to be struggling with progress in school or meeting developmental milestones, you may be considering a special needs school or a more supportive mainstream school. Many independent schools can accommodate mild challenges and a variety of learning styles, but how do you go about figuring out which environment is best for your child?

Common Questions:

I’ve been informed that my child may have special needs. What do I do now? What is the first step?

Depending on the age of your child, the first step would be to speak with your pediatrician. If your child has missed some developmental milestones, you may request an evaluation through NYC's Early Intervention Program. The Early Intervention Program helps New York City children from birth through age three who are not learning, playing, growing, walking or talking like other children their age. It provides services at no cost to families to help create a plan for children to set and meet meaningful developmental goals. If your child is already school age, a neuropsychologist can evaluate your child's needs and make recommendations for a beneficial school setting.

How do I get my child evaluated for special needs?

Your pediatrician or school may be able to help with professional recommendations, and the Parents League is a great resource as well. We refer families to hospital settings with established neuropsychological departments for evaluations.

How do I find the right school for my child with special needs?

Parents League has a list of schools for children with special needs and members can call to make an advisory appointment to discuss them anytime. Additionally, your neuropsychologist, therapist, education attorney, or current school may be able to help with your search in finding the right special education school. 6 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Special Education School by Carolyn Salzman, Head of School, The Gateway Schools will give you practical tips as you begin your search.

Where can I get support from other parents who are going through this transition?

Parents League holds special needs group discussions four times a year. Following a support group format and facilitated by our special needs advisors, these sessions are opportunities to discuss all aspects of educating and parenting children with special needs. Attendance at the group discussions is included with membership.

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How can I help my child make this transition?

Navigating the school process with a special needs child can be a stressful time. Educating yourself and finding resources and support for your child and family can help. Ultimately, the right educational setting for your special needs child will help them to grow and thrive.

If you are thinking that your child has special needs, come to our workshops or reach out to our advisors for personalized and customized advice for your child and family.