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Should students with a disability attend public or private school?

You want the best care and education for your child just like any other parent. So, you may be wondering whether choosing public or private school will impact their education for the better or worse.

Here are a few of things that are and are not so different between the two.

Your child’s rights

Children with a qualifying disability have a federal right to an education that is appropriate for them. Whether you choose to place your child in public or private school, they should still be getting the care, attention and challenges they need to succeed.

If you believe that your child’s needs are being neglected, you can take action to address the issue — whether he or she is in public or private school. Your child’s needs include their physical safety, emotional well-being, education goals and social opportunities.

Differences to consider

There are still differences between public and private schools. Public schools, for example, oftentimes have a larger student body. This may help your child develop social skills by teaching them about working on a team, different perspectives of different students and different skills and interests among a diverse student body.

On the other hand, private schools may claim to offer your child more individual attention. Although your student has a right to an appropriate education in a public school, a private school may claim that they’re able to go above and beyond in a more intimate setting.

Other big differences to consider is the curriculum between the two types of schools and any special interests in sports or clubs that your child may have. Private schools do not need to follow certain staples in the education curriculum that the state has set. This may mean certain subjects are censored or it may allow instructors to teach on other texts and subjects.

Private schools and public schools may also differ in the rigor and type of sports, clubs and activities they offer to students.

Get an expert’s opinion

To weigh out the two options appropriately, it may make the most sense to seek the guidance of a child psychologist. This expert may be able to advise you on what sorts of environments your child may thrive in depending on his or her disability, personality and background.

However, neither environment should cause your child to suffer because of the disability. If you have found that this is the case, you should seek the help of another type of professional. Meagan Nuñez is on the board of the Disabled Services Advisory Council and is passionate about standing up for the rights of these kids.

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