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What Questions To Ask When Looking At Schools?

What Questions To Ask When Looking At Schools?

my family and I are relocating from SC back east to NY/CT. we have a son 7 years old with Aspbergers and he is in the first grade. we have decited to make this move before the school year is out and transfer him directly into the new school....we have a couple of school districts in mind and my question is when I call/visit these schools what questions should I be asking about their special services/special Ed?? we have an IEP in place now but the school he is currently in has been horrible… read more

A MyAutismTeam Member said:

If you were shopping for private services than you normally will get straight answers to any questions you ask.

But public school districts are generally not very good at directly answering any questions that a parent may ask. Ofter principals and special education directors have very little direct knowledge about what goes on in each of the classrooms. So you might ask questions but all they are going to say is some generic answer like "all of our teachers are highly qualified". Which is not helpful because what you really want to know is their level and types of experience, how well their children make progress on the IEP goals on average, what methodolgies are used, how do they collaborate with parents, how do they handle problems, etc. In order to get a sense of that, you need to talk to the sped teacher. And often its not just their words but how they act which will give you what you need to know.

Another source of information regarding a school districts programs are parents. But it too is unreliable. What one person thinks is great, another thinks is horrible. So I normally base it on what I know of the parent.... or try to get a lot of responses so I can see if flushes one way or another. Sorta like ebay rating system. Post questions about the specific school districts on this site and on various yahoo autism group sites. Check with the local Autism society group. See what happens.

posted about 10 years ago
A MyAutismTeam Member said:

In addition to the suggestions above the BIG key is be VERY involved at your child's school. I'm a retired teacher and I can tell you not all teachers are able to handle children that are "different". I taught first grade and they usually put the different or problem children in my classroom. I LOVED every single one of those children and they loved me. I just saw one of them now grown with a child) and he recognized me. He told me I was always his favorite teacher. Sure made my day. Make sure they know you want to volunteer at the school and probably not in your son's class. There is ALWAYS a need for volunteers at every school. Just make yourself visible until you get to know the teachers. I promise you it makes a difference. Hope this helps.

posted over 10 years ago
A MyAutismTeam Member said:

I would ask what programs they have for autism, you may want to go out and visit the different districts if you can before making a choice.

posted over 10 years ago
A MyAutismTeam Member said:

Just remember, all schools aren't going to be the same, and neither are school districts. We recently moved from one part of SC to another, and the difference in the school districts has been amazing. We initially pulled my oldest daughter (ADHD) from the school she was in and put her in a virtual school program because the teachers at her school couldn't handle her, and no one could give us any information or referrals to get her to the services she needed. The virtual school was great, but when we moved to a different school district she expressed interest in wanting to go back to "regular school" so we're trying it here to see how she does. As another option to consider, if the schools where you'll be moving are awful, and you can swing it, virtual or home school can sometimes be a good option too to get them the schooling they need without a bad public school experience or lack of services. One thing we ran across though was that the virtual school program we were using, they didn't seem to know much as far as what services were in our area as far as special ed goes, so that might be an issue, but if you can find the programs and services, even if your child is virtual or home schooled, you should be able to access the programs and services he needs. Hope that helps :D

posted over 10 years ago
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