Anonymous asks:

What questions should I ask when comparing Special Ed Programs of two different school districts?

My Son is 5 and starting kindergarten next month.  His IEP said that he has a learning disability (language/speech, math, ect).  We are trying to put him in the best possible location for his needs, but we are unsure of what questions to ask each school.  So, how do we know which is best?
In Topics: Choosing a school, Special education, Special needs
> 60 days ago

Jul 16, 2009

Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
It is great that you are looking into schools before he starts kindergarten, and your search is narrowed to two choices.

You can speak to the director of special education and kindergarten teachers at each school to help you make your choice.  Make appointments with each school so you can speak to teachers in person.  Sense if they are amiable to meet with you and how they behave at the meeting; if the schools are willing to accommodate you, you can sense if they would be willing to accommodate your son.  If the school will not meet with you, then you know that they will not meet with you for an IEP meeting.

Some questions to ask teachers:

1). How would your school accommodate my son’s IEP?  What specifically would you do to make sure all of his needs are met?

2). Would my son be included in the general classroom?  Would he receive all of his instruction in a separate resource room?  Would a special education resource teacher pull him out for additional help in a resource room?

***It is preferable that your son receives instruction in the mainstream classroom.  You want him to be educated in the least restrictive environment.***

3). Would there be a special education teacher or an instructional aid in his classroom?

4). Would your school form an IEP team and meet with me annually to renew his IEP?

5). How would the general classroom and resource teachers communicate my son’s progress in class to me?  

Here are questions for you to consider in the long-term:

1). What are the special education programs, services, and inclusion policies in the middle school and high school of the district?

2). Does the school district have the funding to accommodate your son?

If you can, talk to other parents of children with special needs who attend these schools.  Ask about their experiences with the district.’s school finder may also provide information for your search:

I hope you find this information helpful, and you find the school that is right for you and your son.

Best wishes,


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Additional Answers (1)

ASimon writes:
It's great to hear you're really doing research on the best learning environment for you child's education! Picking schools can be incredibly difficult with the number of options, and certain special education programs will work better for certain learning disabilities. However when visiting schools there a couple of tell tale signs to look for which indicate a good learning environment.

While these aren't all necessarily direct questions to ask, here are a couple things to consider taken from one of our reference articles.  Take a look at the link for a whole checklist when choosing a special ed school. Hope this helps!

How do professionals work together with families to meet the needs of the children?

How does the program determine the strengths and needs of the child and family?

What does the classroom look like (if it is a center-based program)? How is the day structured?

What are the teachers and other adults doing?

What are the policies of the program, and how are they communicated to families?
> 60 days ago

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