When it comes to finding the right private school for a student with Autism Spectrum Disorder it’s important to ask the right questions about the school’s programs. When doing your research you’ll want to make sure you consider these 5 features in any autism program for your child.
Meeting the needs of your child with autism is a formidable challenge. Besides the complex problems in almost all areas of living, there are countless approaches, techniques, and therapies to promote learning and development.
Some of these approaches are experimental; others may be potentially harmful. You want to find the ones that are “tried and true”!
Here’s a sure-fire way to navigate through the maze of options. Seek out the answers to the following critical program features:
(1) Program Focus
What is the main focus of the program? Is it behavioural management, language development, socialization, sensory/motor integration, literacy-based learning, or activities of daily living? All are important but once you know the priorities of your child, the school/program you chose must focus on that area.
(2) Role of the Parent in the Program
Will the school/program respect and support you? What will be expected of you? A positive relationship between you and the professionals is critical for success.
How much experience and know-how do the teachers and/or therapists have? A minimum of 4 years experience is a good rule of thumb. The last thing you need is someone ‘cutting their teeth’ on your child.
What teaching methods and approaches are used to deliver the program? What happens if a program/approach doesn’t work? Will you be informed? Will changes be made? Never accept the explanation that your child is the reason for the failure.
What evaluation tools are used to assess whether or not the program is working and that your child is learning? Will the findings be shared with you? Will the program shift/change to better meet the needs of your child?
The answers to these questions will give you the power to advocate for your child and to make good decisions.
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What other questions are important for parents to ask private school administrators and special needs teachers? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.