Special Needs Schools
Do you think your son has a learning disability? Not sure what to do? A special needs school might be the way to go.
Perhaps you have come to this site because you have just found out that your son has dyslexia. It is a scary feeling on many levels when you find out something like that. I know. When we were living in Nassau, Bahamas, we discovered that our eldest son read on a second grade level even though he was in 7th grade. The lad had been socially promoted with one of his previous teachers ever flagging his learning disability. (Our adopted son had only come to live with us at age 12, so we had no idea that he even had a learning disability.) Our first reaction was to get him into one of the private day schools. However, since he could not read, we were referred to a special needs school run by a caring, brilliant, patient person by the name of Gail Wisdom. She spent a lot of 1 on 1 time with her handful of students. In a matter of months and with much encouragement at home, our son was reading at his grade level.
We had very few options in the Bahamas back then. But you will discover that you have plenty of education options. Perhaps you are reading this article because you have decided that your child needs the best teachers available to help her with her learning differences. She is very bright and highly motivated. That's not the issue. She just learns differently. Or maybe your child has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and is having difficulty learning in her present class setting.
Hundreds of thoughts flash past, but the reality is that you know that your child needs to be in a school which offers experienced specialist teachers who can show him how to cope with his syndrome. You also know that he will succeed in a small class setting with plenty of personal attention.
Forget any stigma when it comes to choosing a school for special needs. These schools are great. They have spent years perfecting their learning strategies. They understand young people like your son. They know what needs to be done. I know. My eldest son read at several grades below his grade level. The one on one instruction which he received in the wonderful special needs school he attended fixed that. Here is a brief look at one of the great special needs schools, The Forman School in Litchfield, Connecticut.
Special needs schools know how to teach children who have been diagnosed autism, deafness and blindness and many other syndromes and conditions. These schools offer plenty of patient, one on one teaching and activities geared specifically for their young charges.
Where do you start? First thing to do is to have a professional diagnose your child. You need to know exactly what you are dealing with. Having that professional assessment done will confirm your suspicions and help you make the right decisions for his treatment plan. The next step is to choose the right school to remediate the syndrome or condition which has been diagnosed.
Here is a list of schools in the United States which you can use to begin your research. Explore the web sites. Call the schools and ask questions. Arrange for visits. One or more of these schools will fit your needs and requirements. As you research schools, examine the depth and breadth of what each school offers. Some schools may just deal with one or two symptoms as opposed to all of the issues a child has. Others offer a comprehensive approach. Once again you need to be prepared to ask questions. If you are not sure what to ask about, ask the professional who diagnosed your child in the first instance..
- American School for the Deaf, West Hartford
- Ann Arbor Academy, Ann Arbor, MI
- The Academy at Swift River, Cummington, MA
- Aspen Ranch, Loa, UT
- Atlanta Speech School, Atlanta, GA
- The Bedford School, Fairburn, GA
- Beverly School for the Deaf, Beverly, MA
- Brehm Preparatory School, Inc., Carbondale, IL
- Bridges Academy, Bend, OR
- Bromley Brook School, Manchester, VT
- Brush Ranch School, Tererro, NM
- The Carroll School, Lincoln, MA
- CEDU Schools
- Centreville School, Centreville, DE
- F.L. Chamberlain School, Middleborough, MA
- Chelsea School, Silver Spring, MD
- Children's Institute for Learning Differences, Mercer Island, WA
- Churchill Center & School, Town & Country, MO
- Copper Canyon Academy, Lake Montezuma, AZ
- The Cottage School, Roswell, GA
- The Cotting School, Lexington, MA
- Coutin School, Canoga Park, CA
- Crater Lake School, Sprague River, OR
- Currey Ingram Academy, Nashville, TN
- Davidson School Elwyn, Inc., Philadelphia, PA
- Denver Academy, Denver, CO
- DePaul Institute, Pittsburgh, PA
- Devereux Glenholme School, Washington, CT
- Dore Academy, Charlotte, NC
- Eagle Hill School, Greenwich, CT
- Eagle Hill School, Hardwick, MA
- Eagle Hill-Southport, Southport, CT
- Elan School, Poland Spring, ME
- The Fenster School of Southern Arizona, Tucson, AZ
- The Fletcher School, Charlotte, NC
- The Forman School, Litchfield, CT
- The Foundation Schools, Rockville, MD
- The Frost Center, Rockville, MD
- Glenforest School, Cayce, SC
- Greenhills School, Winston-Salem, NC
- The Gow School, South Wales, NY
- The Greenwood School, Putney, VT
- Great Lakes Academy, Plano, TX
- Gretchen Everhart School, Tallahassee, FL
- Guilford Day School, Greensboro
- The Hadley School for the Blind, Winnetka, IL
- Harmony Heights School, Oyster Bay, NY
- The Hill Center, Durham, NC
- Holden School, Boston, MA
- The Howard School, Atlanta, GA
- The Ivymount School, Rockville, MD
- The Kingsbury Center, Washington, DC
- The Lab School of Washington, DC
- Landmark School, Prides Crossing, MA
- Little Keswick School, Inc., Keswick, VA
- The Melmark Schools, Berwyn, PA and Woburn, MA
- Model Secondary School for the Deaf, Northeast, DC
- New Haven, Provo, UT
- New Leaf Academy, Bend, OR
- The New York Institute for Special Education, New York, NY
- Oakland School, Keswick, VA
- Oakwood School, Annandale, VA
- Memphis School for the Oral Deaf, Germantown, TN
- The Oxford Academy, Westbrook, CT
- The Phelps School, Malvern, PA
- The Piedmont School, Inc., High Point, NC
- The Porter School, Roswell, GA
- Red Top Meadows, Wilson, WY
- The Schenck School, Atlanta, GA
- The Siena School, Silver Spring, MD
- South Dakota School for the Deaf, Sioux Falls, SD
- Stewart Home School, Frankfort, KY
- Stone Mountain School, Black Mountain, NC
- Stonesoup School, Crescent City, FL
- Storm King School, Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY
- The Summit School, Edgewater, MD
- Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children, San Antonio, TX
- Three Springs, Inc., Huntsville, AL
- The Timber Ridge School, Winchester, VA
- Triad Academy, Inc., Winston-Salem, NC
- Turn About Ranch, Escalante, UT
- The Vanguard School, Lake Wales, FL
- The Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, Brattleboro, VT
- The Vincent Smith School, Port Washington, NY
- The Woodhall School, Bethlehem, CT
Like any other private school a special needs school will need your involvement and cooperation as a parent. That is a critical factor in your child's success in dealing with her condition and/or syndrome. The sensitivity, concern and skills which your child's teachers offer will go only so far without your constant encouragement and support.
Questions? You can contact me on Twitter: @privateschl
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