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Cniles
Cniles asks:
Q:

My son has been diagnosed with ASD, I would like to know how to research special ed school ratings. Is there a list of the top schools in the country?

In Topics: Choosing a school, Special education, Autism & Aspergers Syndrome
> 60 days ago

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Answers (1)

jcactus
jcactus writes:
I don't know of any listings, but as someone that's diagnosed on the spectrum too (Asperger's), may I give you a little advice from the student end?

It sounds trite, but be sure your son needs the extra help: if he clearly needed help before the diagnosis and that's why you sought out someone to diagnose him, good for you: just keep doing what you're doing, and the world needs more parents like you. But if you were told by an "expert" that he needs help, you and your son can probably tell better than anyone else if that's the case. If he is not so severely handicapped that he will never live a "normal" adult life, be sure that the school you choose is not targeted at "more special" needs than what he really needs, or he may be sort of over-protected. School ratings may also be biased more towards how good they are for those with physical handicaps (blind, deaf, etc.) or more time-established mental disorders, so just because they have high ratings doesn't mean they will be a good fit for your son: the most important thing is to visit the school with your son, and be sure both of you feel that it is a good challenging, nurturing environment.

Also, if he isn't a "severe" case, you may look at other alternatives like charter schools or private schools (or even homeschooling if one parent doesn't work full-time): the small class size and better peer environment may be all he really needs, especially if his disorder is more on the social part of the spectrum like mine. A low student:teacher ratio is also often sufficient for teachers to make special arrangements for him where it matters while not entirely separating him from "normal" students. I find when I get too much help in too many areas I'm not challenged enough, get bored, and start having a lot of trouble with my grades, so most of the time it's easier to go without accommodations at all to avoid getting "babied," but I'm also only a mild case, and not entirely sure if my diagnosis is legitimate even since it's a really over-diagnosed disorder.

But the bottom line is, make sure your son and you are BOTH happy and confident that the school you choose is actually a good fit for him and that he feels comfortable (or even excited!) about going there, and be sure you offer a good home environment where he's allowed to be himself at the end of the day. Your gut instincts will tell you way more than any online list ever will about how a school will meet YOUR needs.
> 60 days ago

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