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Special needs schools

Find the top special needs schools and programs in Canada

Chamberlain International School

  Chamberlain International School is a co-educational, therapeutic boarding school in Middleboro, MA, offering programs from life skills through college prep.

Special needs schools are different from regular schools in that they cater to students with education challenges. They’re designed, staffed, and have the resources to provide support for students who have challenges that interfere with learning.

These schools offer a wide range of approaches and services to support students with special needs. This may include individualized learning, one-on-one support, small classes, resource rooms, and learning aids.

Special education support

There are two main ways schools provide special education support. First, there’s the environment or setting in which the support is delivered. Special needs education can be offered in a dedicated special needs school or class, an integrated class, a withdrawal class, or a regular class with resource support or indirect support.

Second, there’s the form of support that’s offered. Most private special needs schools support students through accommodations, modifications, and remediations. These are normally stipulated in an Independent Education Plan (IEP), which spells out a child’s learning needs, services the school will provide, and how progress will be measured.

Ideally, modifications won’t be needed. Changing what’s taught and lowering expectations can sometimes cause students problems later on, for instance, when they move on to a new school.

Types of special needs supported

Schools vary in what type of special education support they provide. They also vary in terms of which special needs they support. The main types of special needs supported by schools are learning, developmental, behavioural/emotional, and physical disabilities.

Many special education schools provide support for one or more of these types of special needs. Other less common special needs supported by some schools include speech and language disorders and chronic illnesses.


Special needs questions (read our in-depth answers)


Special education pros and cons

Private schools for special needs are a great option for many kids. They have many benefits. They also, though, raise some concerns. The pros and cons of special education vary based on the type of program, supports offered, approaches used, and more.



Special needs school costs

The cost of a private school for children with special needs will depend on many factors. For instance, the types of special needs supported, how they’re supported, and the environment the support is provided in can all affect the price of tuition.

In Canada, private schools with full-time special education programs can cost between $20, 000 and $100, 000 a year. Meanwhile, schools with part-time special needs programs (for instance, schools with integrated classes) tend to be cheaper. These schools have annual tuition that often ranges from $15,000 to $50,000.

In Canada, there are many types of funding and aid available for private schools for children with special needs. The main sources of funding are

Choosing a special needs school or program

It’s important to find the right school for your child. If your child has special needs, this can be challenging. You should look at several schools and programs and choose one that’s the right fit. Luckily, there are top special needs schools in Canada, including in Toronto, Ottawa, MontrealVancouver, Mississauga, Calgary, and Edmonton.

What’s most important is whether the special needs school is a good fit for your child. You’ll need to consider some crucial questions.

Helpful resources

There are many great resources to help you in your search for the right special needs school or program. Below, we discuss some of the main ones.



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    Special needs schools

    Our son found himself making friends, getting good grades and working hard on the issues that brought him to Chamberlain.” —Parent, Chamberlain International School