Updated: Feb 21
The search for an appropriate educational setting for you or your child may be time-consuming and stressful. Here are some considerations.
1. Public options
Public schools, both primary and secondary, are the most economical choice. Some school districts allow a choice of several schools, but others are limited. Public schools offer Individual education plans (IEPs). Be sure to learn as much as possible about the IEP beforehand, and bring an advocate if at all possible. An advocate can be any person who has knowledge about IEPs, an educator, a social worker, or a special education lawyer.
2. Private options
Some private schools offer scholarships, so don't discount any program. Selecting a private organization that takes scholarships is a great option to explore.
3. Social media groups
In addition to school, look to join online social media groups in your area for inside scoops on many different schools and programs. Some of these groups even host in-person social events for both parents and/or autistics.
4. Education for higher levels
At Autism Research Texas, we have found that students are more successful when they approach higher education in a stepwise fashion. Living at home and commuting to a local campus allows for easing into a new setting. Learning life skills before moving out of the family home is also important and more programs are popping up to assist in this important area. Attending a smaller community college before a larger college/university allows students to complete many of the large-core courses in a smaller setting. Then when transitioning to the larger school, the upper-level classes are often smaller.
If you are interested in disability advocacy or educational possibilities, you should follow the Autism Research Texas blogs. Don't hesitate to contact us if you or someone you know is interested in learning more about our organization and applying for a scholarship for autistic students with special needs (currently only for higher education).
Social, emotional, and educational needs may be met in a variety of settings, and you now have more freedom to choose what works best. When possible, look for organizations that cater to each student's unique needs rather than treating all the kids in a class the same.