Search Tips on Finding the Right School for Your Child with Special Needs
It’s one of the most important decisions you can make for the wellbeing, support and education of your special needs child when he or she is not with you – what school to enroll him or her in. At Port View Preparatory®, we understand the unique challenges you face as a parent of a special needs child. The task can seem overwhelming, but a little research can go a long way. Following are four tips to help make your search more manageable:
- Research: Nothing can substitute for time spent researching schools. Research should always start online by visiting school websites. Once you find schools that interest you, all reputable schools will offer in-person school tours openly or by appointment, schedule a visit to the campus and meet the administrators in charge. Of course, word-of-mouth and references help a great deal as are unbiased opinions from trusted friends and acquaintances. In this age of information, online ratings and reviews (GreatSchools.org) provide insight about all a school has to offer, the good and the bad.
- Administration/Communication: There’s no doubt that chemistry and rapport in human relations counts for a lot. Finding the right school with the right people managing it is no different. Do you feel comfortable with the principal(s), the teachers and the specialist(s) onsite? If the answer is no, continue your search. If the answer is yes, inquire about their communication policy: Are they reachable during school hours? Do you have multiple and effective ways to communicate with them real-time? Do they have behavioral and discipline policies? If you don’t agree with their policies, then continue your search.
- School/Building: We’re not talking architectural style here, rather is the school secure? Is the building up to code and are the grounds well kept? Is your child safe and protected while they are in their school environment? It’s important for your child to be in an environment that’s conducive to learning and free of obstacles that can interfere with his/her wellbeing.
- Expertise/Teachers/Specialists: Nothing can replace the right experience and credentials of the staff and administers at the school. What are their areas of expertise in special education? Do they have the right amount of experience in both years and in handling the unique disability of your child? Does the school provide speech, occupational and physical therapies? If your child has speech or language challenges, what communication methods will be applied? Is technology used to assist and support learning?
If you have questions about Port View Preparatory® policies and procedures or would like to schedule a campus tour, please don’t hesitate to contact Co-Principal Edward Miguel at 714-463-6391 or Co-Principal Melaura Erickson Tomaino at 714-463-6392.