Education has always been one of the cornerstones of our society because of how it prepares us for adulthood. Special education does the same for children who can benefit from individualized techniques. Special education is a wonderful way to help children with disabilities learn, socialize, and mature.
Where can children get a special education?
The United States government feels so strongly about education that they provide Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to not only the general public but also to children with disabilities.
However, this does not mean that public school is the right choice for every child. Let’s examine the three options that children with disabilities have to ensure they receive the
1. Public School
Public schools provide general and special education to over 90% of the American population! They also offer assistance uniquely tailored to children with cerebral palsy.
Public schools may be the best option for parents looking for a cost-free education. But, unfortunately, the system is not always reliable, as not all schools are equally equipped to foster the academic growth of children with CP. There are many considerations that go into choosing a school. Doing homework to find the best district to live in which has the best opportunities for children with CP is the best bet to making this difficult decision.
Within Public Schools, there are two options regarding the level of participation the child will have with the rest of the class:
- Inclusive education
- Special education (also called Self-contained education)
The advantage of the inclusive method is simple. Being in the same classroom with the rest of their grade allows children with CP to be in an environment where they can interact with children their age. In this way, they are able to watch and learn from others who are demonstrating age-appropriate behaviors.
The problem is that individualized attention is more limited when in a large classroom with tens of students. Therefore, a child with a disability may not get the attention he or she needs to thrive. Additionally, children who are physically or mentally restricted may become overwhelmed or disruptive in a traditional classroom.
The second choice is for the child to be in a self-contained classroom. Although there won’t be the added benefit of being around kids his or her age, he or she will hopefully get the attention necessary to learn and grow appropriately.
2. Private Schooling
A private school may be an excellent option for children with disabilities.
There are two forms of private education:
- Conventional private Schools
- Special education centers
Conventional Private Schools
What’s great about conventional private schools is that they usually contain smaller classrooms with fewer students. This is great for children with disabilities who need extra attention and support. The child gets the best of both worlds – a somewhat specialized education with attention from the teacher, and the ability to join the general student body and feel like they are part of the class.
Another reason parents may want to send their child to a private school is to receive a religious education in addition to their general studies. This is a great choice for parents who want to integrate faith and education.
Special education Centers
Special education centers are great for parents who want their children to get specialized attention by teachers specifically trained to work with children with disabilities.
However, the costs of this type of education can add up, and therefore, may be difficult for those with limited personal funds to afford this education. That said, many of these schools offer scholarships for children in need and it is worth looking into them to see if the child will qualify.
For children who have a particularly hard time in a classroom setting because of limited mobility or unpredictable sleeping patterns, homeschooling may be the best option.
Parents who are interested in taking on this monumental feat should be prepared to provide a tremendous amount of patience, devotion, and care. But when done right, children who are homeschooled can thrive, in some ways more than in other forms of specialized education.
Many organizations offer proper resources and teaching materials to provide a child with disabilities with a high-quality education. Take advantage of them! It's also a great idea to join one of these organizations for the social aspect as well. They often provide extra-curricular activities for children with disabilities, such as field trips and group events, to help develop their social skills.
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