31 Days of Parenting Kiddos with Special Needs: School Choices

31 Days of Parenting Kiddos with Special Needs

If you read my post on IEP’s and 504 plans, you’ll know that all children with disabilities are guaranteed a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive setting. This can look different depending on what schools are available in the area.

Public schools: In California, the school district takes over services at age 3 and I think it is the same situation in Washington. In any case, the district would pay for certain evaluations to be done as well as accept reports from any therapists already working with the child. All of these evaluations are compiled together into a report and an IEP or 504 Plan meeting is called. The results of the evaluations are discussed and you are given a choice of programs. I think our choices for Daniel were the ABA classroom, a special day class, or neither one but to just receive certain therapies.

Private schools: This wasn’t an option for Daniel but it might be for your kiddo. If you can ensure that they have whatever supports they need and you’re willing to pay for it, go for it!

Charter schools: Sometimes a charter school exists like Land Park Campus in Sacramento. If the school meets your kid’s needs, this might be a workable option.

Homeschooling: If you feel like this is your best option, there are curricula like this one from Memoria Press. (HT: Julie.) You can get therapy services from the school district but educate your kid yourself.

What we decided to do: Jon was homeschooled from K-12 but I had no desire to homeschool Daniel, even if he had been neurotypical. With the added issues from the autism, there was just no way I could do it and retain my sanity because working with Daniel would require more patience than I possess. We were very fortunate to have the ABA class at our local preschool in Galt and that was the option we chose. I’m still in contact with his teacher and she was such a wonderful resource for me. It also gave me the morning for doctor’s appointments and to get done what I needed to get done. For Daniel, it became a fun place for him to go and meet people and grow as a child, something that doesn’t happen with a mother who is as introverted as I am. It was honestly a win-win for all of us.