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How to Know When it's time for Your Child to Attend a Learning Differences School

Every day in my office I get a phone call that goes a little like this:

“I am just calling for some information about your school. I have a son/daughter that has been struggling in school since elementary school. We have tried everything, extra tutors, resource room help, even summer programs, but it hasn’t gotten any better. I don’t want to have to switch my child’s school, but we are running out of options.”

I understand the struggle it was for each parent to even pick up the phone to make the phone call. They are frustrated and emotionally spent and not sure what to do next. They love the idea of a school that caters to their child’s learning profile, but the thought of sending their son or daughter off to a boarding school seems impossible.

The benefits of your child going to a school that teaches specifically to the learning style of your child are numerous, but how do you know when it is time to take that step? There seems to be two large signs:

1. Even with all of the extra help and support, your child’s reading still has not progressed

2. You start to see signs of that their social and emotional health is being affected

There are many options for families to explore when it comes to schools that cater to specific learning needs. The boarding high schools are typically meant for the student to stay for the duration of their high school career, with an outcome of college placement. There are programs designed for a few years, hopefully with an outcome of transitioning back to a traditional school. Most of these schools are designed for a younger student, typically grades 2-8.

So when you know when the time is right? How do you know if your child is ready for this? The most successful transitions happen when both parents and their child are both invested. Making the decision for your child without them being on board is not recommended. They need to visit the school, talk to the students and faculty and be able to visualize themselves at the school. Also, an acknowledgement that this moment in time might not work, but perhaps in a year or two. Making the decision to shelf the idea for a period of time is a brave thing to do.

There is so much information out there regarding schools. My recommendation is to look under every rock: websites, social media, and printed material. Ask to speak with current and past parents, they will be your best resources.