If your child has been diagnosed with autism, you can take comfort knowing you are not alone. 1 in 50 American school-age children have some form of autism, a disorder characterized by repetitive behaviors and difficulty with communication and social interaction. These challenges can also manifest in the classroom, making it hard for your child to excel in a traditional public school class setting.
Fortunately, you have options when it comes to education for your child. There are many special needs schools that offer specialized therapy and help for children with autism. Below are a few benefits from choosing a special needs school instead of a mainstream public school:
Individualized learning program
Many special needs schools offer an Individualized Education Program (IEP)that is customized for every child and dictates how the school will work to meet your child’s needs. Every child is different and therefore requires a unique approach to their education and therapy.
Similar peer group and protection from bullying
Unfortunately, because children with autism have trouble with normal social interaction, they are often ostracized or picked on in a public school setting. By sending your child to a special needs school, they are surrounded by other kids who are similar to them. This allows them a safe setting to build confidence, work on social skills and make friends.
Different assessment types
Mainstream schools are expected to meet certain assessment requirements, requirements that may not be suited to your child’s learning style or level. Special needs schools test their students based on their specific challenges to determine how to adjust their therapy and education. These assessments catered to your child will help them succeed in the long run as they focus on their personal needs.
While choosing a special needs school or a private school for your autistic child is an excellent choice, it would be remiss to ignore your other options. Many public schools have wonderful special education programs catered to help children with autism. You may also want to keep your child in a mainstream setting to expose them early on, a technique known as inclusion. Whatever you choose to do, know that there are many ways to help your child to succeed in his or her education. Autism does not have to take away from their success in life.