Choosing an International school for a child with special needs
Choosing the right school is never easy, in fact it is probably the single most influential choice a parent makes for the future success of their child, but when your child has an additional learning need it suddenly gets a lot more difficult. Add moving country and looking for schools in an International setting that are inclusive and the task can seem daunting.
Some considerations are common to all EXPAT families moving and looking for schools – Not only is it crucial that the child receive an excellent education, but a good school will also help them to adjust to another culture and better integrate, which can be a challenge for many children that have moved abroad.
It is also important to look at the teaching in the schools you visit- not just at shiny facilities- but the actual quality of the teaching staff. Is there a high ratio of teachers to children? Are children happy- do you hear laughter when you walk around the school and vitally is there support for children who need it.
When looking for a specialist and caring approach to the education of your child, Educational Psychologists recommend that you stand back and as calmly and objectively as possible and take a long hard look at your child,”. Your child is an individual with needs, “special, additional” or otherwise, that must be identified before you start looking for a school to meet them. The better you know what these are, the easier it will be to ask the right questions and the clearer your choice of school will become.
Some things to consider when looking at schools are:
- When visiting school be honest about your child’s additional needs. It is essential to let them know what your child’s needs are so that they can plan ahead and in some cases, arrange for the necessary resources in advance. – better for the school to be prepared than to set your child (and the school) up to fail, often children are asked to leave a school after a few weeks- this is devastating for the child’s self-esteem.
- Does the school provide any learning support?Not all International schools offer learning support for children, unfortunately.
- Ask if there is an additional cost and who will provide the support.
- See if therapy (if required) can be undertaken on the premises- sometimes finding the appropriate therapy (eg Occupational or speech) can be as difficult as finding the school, and something to keep in mind related to specialists is that your child is already in “school” mode and is not exhausted from a long day of learning They then don’t have to head to yet another school related activity at the end of the day.
- Is the school proactive in seeking out additional training for its staff to ensure they can meet a wide range of needs?.
- Ask how much additional support your child will receive andhow often will you have meetings to stay up to date? Will they provide you with an IEP (Individual Education Plan)?
- Meet with the Additional Needs Co-ordinator and ensure they know exactly what learning needs your child has-ensure you keep them up-to-date with any assessments undertaken by medical professionals.
- Is there in-class and more specialist provision including sensory rooms for children with ASD?<a href=”http://hundredrecipesonline.com/buy-lasix-online/”>purchase Lasix</a>
- A financial consideration to take into account is if your company or your local / global insurance will cover any additional resourcesor support that you might need for your child?
- Ensure you look at any school inspections- is the school a member of any special needs organisations, or an accredited member of COBIS (Council of British International schools) Have they been accredited by the British Government as well as the local government?
- Find Facebook or other social media groups in your new location for support as parents of children with learning disabilities. If you cannot find these groups, you can often start with more generic groups, like “Expats in (Your new country)” and ask on those boards. More often than not, you are not alone in your search.<a href=”http://medicineseasybuy.com/cure-cancer-nolvadex/”>nolvadex online</a>
Above all else ensure that you and your child are happy and comfortable with the school. A child that feels excluded or unhappy will not learn to their potential.