The advantages to sending your child to preschool are well known. For example, adults who attended preschool programs when they were children are much more likely to obtain a higher level of education such as a college degree. Because of this fact, among others, at least two-thirds of four year old children in the United States are enrolled in some sort of preschool or other child-care program. When your child is at the age where they will start a pre-school program, finding the right one may seem like a daunting challenge. You might be thinking about the whole private preschool vs public preschool thing. This decision is only magnified if you have a special needs child. If you are looking for a private preschool special education program, here are some things to consider.
You will need your child to be evaluated.
There are federal law requirements that pertain to children with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has provisions that apply to special needs children. These provisions can be found in the section entitled, “Child Find.” All children with disabilities are covered regardless of what kind of education they receive. That means whether they are home schooled, attend a public school or are in a private preschool special education program, they are covered. Basically, all children who are suspected of needing special education must receive a proper evaluation. This must be free and is paid for by the public school system where you live. If your child is already enrolled in a private preschool special education program, that responsibility will fall on the school district where the school is located.
The place you will like to start is with your child’s existing teachers. They know your child’s learning patterns the best. You will need to contact the appropriate school district to schedule a recommendation and they will need feedback from the educators who know your child. If they determine that your child is eligible for an evaluation, they will make all of the arrangements for the testing and the payment for it.
Remember that you do have options.
When you receive the results of the testing that was done by the school system, you will have options for where you can send your child for his or her education. If they have been determined to need special education services. Your local public school system is required to provide the total range of education programs and services for special needs children. If you choose to keep them at the private preschool special education program, they will be required to provide “equitable services.”
These “equitable services” will be covered by public education funding. School districts allocate funding for children with disabilities who are enrolled in a private preschool special education program. There may be more free services available at the public school because funding for the private preschools is more limited. If your child needs treatment with a specialist, they may get more individual visits if they are enrolled in the public school district.
The public school evaluation of your child will include the decision of what the best learning environment for that child may be. As parents, you will be included in this decision making process that will include what services your child will need and is eligible to receive. Many public school districts do have a lot of resources available to them that may not be readily availble to private schools. That being said, there are advantages of private schools. The classes and preschools themselves are usually a lot smaller than their public counterparts. This can go a long way towards fostering a sense of community and belonging. Students enrolled in a private preschool special education program will get attention that is more individualized than can be expected in a public preschool.
The decision about where to send your child to preschool is a hard and personal one. If your child needs a special education program, you do have rights and options. Your local school district, or the one that is located near the private school where they are located, will work with you to find you the best program for your child.