This is the time of year when, slowly, parents begin preparing for back-to-school season. For parents of typically developing children, this can involve some stress (filling back-to-school supply lists, wondering about next year’s teacher, etc.), but for parents of children with special needs, there is often a great deal of anxiety. Whether your child is 3 or 13, you may worry about how your child will do academically. You may worry how they will do socially. And, quite frequently, you will wonder whether you have chosen the right school for them.
In New York City–where the school application process is notoriously difficult–choosing a school for your special needs child can be extremely anxiety-provoking. The stakes are higher, the costs are higher, and the number of available spots is much lower.
Here are some of the things you will need to consider when choosing a school for your special needs child in New York City:
1) What grade/age level is your child applying for? Are you looking for a preschool or “ongoing” (elementary and higher) school? Should your child stay back a year (a decision commonly known now as “red-shirting”)?
2) Does your child require a special needs school? Or could your child do well in a mainstream school with support?
3) Which schools provide the right learning environment, curriculum, and specialists/therapists (if necessary) for your child?
4) Are you looking at private schools or public schools, or both? What are the advantages/disadvantages of both for your child? And for your family?
5) How do you choose a “top choice” school? Which schools are the best choices for your child? What is the step-by-step process to apply to those schools, and how can you increase your odds of an acceptance at one of your top choices?
These questions can be overwhelming, and the answers are not always clear-cut. It is tremendously helpful to have an expert to guide you through the process.
Joanna Dreifus of Special Kids NYC has nearly a decade of experience with NYC schools–from preschools to ongoing schools, from public to private schools, from mainstream to special education schools. She has navigated the system to find just the right schools for her own two children with special needs, and has guided countless other parents in the right direction as well (see testimonials). She can do the same for you.
Getting ready to apply to schools this Fall? Thinking of switching schools next year? Unsure where to begin? Contact Special Kids NYC for a customized consultation.