Different Kinds of Schools for Kids with Disabilities

Since your kid has a disability and needs special education, a regular classroom at a regular public school is probably not the best place for them to learn. What other choices are there, though? Fortunately, there are plenty of options available, contingent upon your child’s unique requirements and skills. Study the benefits and drawbacks of each.

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The Public Schools

Your child could do well in public schools if:

Your youngster feels at ease in their public school and is not experiencing issues like marginalization or bullying.

The school’s strengths align well with your child’s specific needs: while most schools are capable of serving students with certain impairments, they might not have the necessary resources to accommodate students with more severe disabilities.

Your schools have adequate funding, enabling the provision of support services, therapists, assistants, experts, and teacher training.


Free public education is provided!

By law, public schools must instruct your kid, offer suitable supports, and cover a wide range of services and therapies.

Since public schools are located in your neighborhood, you may become active in your child’s education and they will get to meet others in the community.

There will be several opportunities for your kid to participate in both in-school and after-school activities.


Public schools frequently lack adequate funding, and the requirements of kids with disabilities can quickly overwhelm them.

Bullying, marginalization, and other problems can be difficult to handle at public schools as they can be big, complicated spaces.

If your child’s needs or talents don’t fit into an established curriculum, public schools might not be able to provide the knowledge or flexibility to support them (sure, they are intended to design a program around your child, but it isn’t always practical).

The Charter and Magnet Schools

Public funding also ensures that charter and magnet schools are free and mandated by law to meet your child’s requirements. They could suit your child better and are smaller than regular public schools in some circumstances. A more experiential, service-learning curriculum is provided by certain charter and magnet schools, and it has the potential to encourage neurodiversity.


Magnet and charter schools could cater to your child’s learning preferences and skills differently than regular public schools.

The free and suitable education that your neighborhood public school provides is also provided by charter and magnet schools.

Students with disabilities generally fit better in smaller schools.


Magnet and charter schools are frequently located far from your house.

They could have less resources and a less flexible curriculum than the public school in your neighborhood.

Working with the school to make sure your child has the help they require might be more difficult for you.

Waldorf and Montessori

Although they differ greatly from those employed in conventional public schools, the teaching methods created by Waldorf and Montessori are effective for a large number of kids. They employ particular kinds of experiences that enable pupils to learn visually and kinesthetically as the main teaching instrument rather than words. These kinds of schools can be a blessing for a good number of children with impairments.

But there are a few disclaimers. Initially, children who fit the description of average or talented and who can function well in a small but highly social environment are the target audience for Waldorf and Montessori schools. Secondly, your child is not obligated to get any form of treatment or support from these schools.


There’s a strong possibility your child will make friends and join a supportive social group if they do well.

There’s a fair probability that you can locate a Waldorf or Montessori school within a reasonable driving distance if your child’s requirements and talents suit either one.

Along with being included with classmates who are neurotypical and not impaired, your kid will receive a high-quality education in a small classroom.


Although you could be eligible for a scholarship, it is quite doubtful that you would be able to secure money for a private school that is open to the entire public.

There is a significant probability the school may ask your child to leave if they truly require more help than the facility can provide.

Due to their impairment, your kid could find it extremely challenging to stay up with the curriculum.


Homeschooling is becoming more and more common, particularly among families with children who have special needs. You have complete control and freedom when you homeschool your child, which makes it simpler to put together the best possible curriculum and environment.

Your district may occasionally offer tutoring, computer-based learning resources, or financial assistance. Along with a host of other local services, you might be able to take advantage of homeschool community programs, public after-school programs, and more.


You are in charge of your child’s education and surroundings, therefore you may create the ideal setting.

It is possible to steer clear of troubles with exam anxiety, bullying, and other school-related problems entirely.

You have a fantastic chance to assist your child in developing abilities by concentrating on their areas of need and on their areas of strength.


Being a full-time worker could make homeschooling unfeasible.

Finding the appropriate homeschool organizations can be challenging (especially in rural regions), and homeschooling can be isolated.

Homeschooling may be daunting and challenging for many parents and guardians, particularly if their kid has needs that the adults are ill-prepared to meet on an emotional, intellectual, or cognitive level.

General Schools for Children with Disabilities

Private schools that serve children with disabilities have grown along with diagnostic criteria and disability acceptance to help those who need them. These institutions are frequently highly costly, but if you can demonstrate that your public school system is unable to offer a free and adequate education (FAPE), the district can be required to cover the expense of sending students to a private school.

However, this is only true if the special needs school is accredited, therefore small, start-up schools are not a possibility. On their websites, general schools for kids with disabilities frequently include a list of conditions that they may handle (dyslexia, autism, and sensory problems, for example).

However, because the institutions are private, they are free to choose whatever pupils they believe they can best assist. Because your kid is different from or needs more care than their “ideal” student, the school may reject you even if your child appears to meet the requirements.


Every employee is prepared, eager, and capable of working with children that have disabilities.

There’s a greater likelihood of social acceptance for your child because every pupil is impaired.

You don’t need to request that your child participate in programs like social skills instruction or remedial reading since these institutions are set up to offer them.


It might be challenging to get to know the community or your child’s teachers, therapists, and friends because they are not in your immediate neighborhood and relatives may reside far away.

You will be spending a lot of money on a private school for kids with disabilities.

Private schools are exempt from the law from following all regulations and guidelines that apply to public institutions.

Schools with a focus on therapy

If one looks even further into specialized education, private schools founded on unique therapeutic philosophies might be discovered. For instance, there are SCERTS schools, Floortime schools, RDI schools, and so on in the realm of autism.8

This type of school can work well for you and your kid if you support a certain therapeutic or philosophical approach to teaching disadvantaged children.


You probably already know and appreciate the school’s philosophy, so it’s likely that you’ll get along well with the faculty and staff.

You’ve discovered the perfect learning environment if you already know that your child responds best to a specific therapeutic or philosophical approach.

Since most schools designed specifically for therapy are small, your child will receive extremely individualized support.


You will have to pay out of pocket for a therapy-specific school because financing is very difficult to come by.

It is quite improbable that your child will be able to attend a therapy-focused school nearby OR get accepted into one. You could thus have to relocate your home or drive a lot as a result.

Smaller schools tend to have smaller staffs and are less likely to provide a variety of activities like sports, music, art, or gym.