BC's biggest cities, Victoria and Vancouver, offer a plethora of support systems for sending your child with special needs to one of the best independent or private schools. Other cities, including Kelowna, Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, do as well.
For example, private and independent schools in BC receive provincial grants for students with special needs if they meet the following criteria:
- The special needs school provides the student with services that are above and beyond an ordinary program.
- The school's program is plainly recognizable as special education.
- The school spends extra money on the special needs program.
Other private school financial aid options in British Columbia include the following:
- scholarships and bursaries, both of which you must apply for (preferably 16 months prior to your planned time of enrolment);
- support from local community organizations (e.g., non-profit organizations);
- medical or religious tax breaks (paying a religious school's tuition may count as a charitable donation).
Why choose a British Columbia special needs school?
BC special education specifically geared toward students who have any type of physical disability, behavioural disorder, mental disability or communicative disorder, such as dyslexia, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or ADD (attention deficit disorder), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), or Asperger's syndrome (AS).
A school that specializes in students with special needs will best understand your child's challenges and complexities and, thus, what will foster his or her success. Their staff members are professionally trained in dealing with all kinds of special needs. Moreover, many special needs independent or private schools have more funding than public schools and can therefore offer small and supportive class environments. While British Columbia's public schools must legally have special needs programs, they don't necessarily have access to the vast resources of an independent or private special needs school.
Unique benefits of special needs schools in BC
A three-way partnership
At special needs schools in BC, learning is a partnership between education's three primary stakeholders: students, their parents, and teachers. Indeed, parents and teachers can communicate to identify a student's strengths and weaknesses. Private school encourages a constructive dialogue between the school and the family to ensure the student is getting the best support he or she needs.
Resources, resources, resources
Because private or independent special needs schools typically have plenty of resources, they can significantly enrich your child's education. Extracurricular activities and help outside the class are common in British Columbia's private and independent schools. These resources are especially important for students with special needs, as they provide extra academic and social support to ensure that children are not left behind.
Small class sizes
Simply put, small class sizes are vital for special needs children, as they allow instructors to closely monitor every child. They also promote a comfortable and inclusive class atmosphere in which all students can participate and ask questions. In short, small class sizes keep students on task.
Meet with British Columbia's top ranked private schools and the best boarding schools across Canada, including boarding special needs schools, at the Vancouver Private School Expo in November. This one-day event is a must for any parent or student considering an alternative education.