Learning difficulties can manifest in many ways, but the result is the same: Children struggle to master the same concepts as their peers. For example, children with learning challenges might have trouble processing verbal or visual information, reading and writing, or engaging with numbers. Thankfully, there are schools available to help these children reach their potential. However, there are so many different specialist schools to choose from that it’s easy to get confused. What exactly makes one school better than another? There are numerous factors you should consider when choosing a school for your child with learning difficulties. In this article we’ll discuss some of them and explain which ones matter most when selecting a remedial school.
The Importance of Finding the Right Fit
When choosing a school which offers assisted learning, it’s essential to find a good fit. As we’ll see, there are a number of factors to consider when assessing a school’s suitability, but you must find a school whose strengths match your child’s needs. Otherwise, your child won’t get the help she needs, which can cause her to fall even further behind her peers. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to schools for children with learning difficulties. Each school has its own approach to serving students with learning challenges, which means you must closely examine the offerings of multiple schools before making a decision. Remedial schools are often better equipped than general schools to meet the needs of children with learning challenges. In addition, remedial schools tend to have more individualised learning programmes, which can be helpful for families with more than one child with learning differences.
Types of Schools for Children with Learning Difficulties
There are many different types of schools for children with learning difficulties. Some are private, others are public; some offer day programs, others boarding. You can find schools that cater to children with a wide range of needs and ages.
Public schools: There are public schools who cater for children with learning difficulties. Many cities and towns contain a wide variety of services for children with learning challenges, and it is much more affordable to place your child in a public school than a private one.
Private schools: These schools are often very expensive, but they’re also extremely varied in approach, size, and location. Some private schools also offer programs for children with more significant disabilities or health issues, which may make them better options than public schools.
Boarding schools for kids with learning disabilities: If your child’s learning challenges are significant, you may consider boarding school. Boarding schools offer more intensive therapies and more flexible academic schedules than day schools. They also tend to be significantly more expensive than day programs.
Independent schools: Japari is an example of an independent school with a specialty in providing tailored remedial programmes to assist young learners in entering the mainstream schooling system. Many of our Grade 7’s are placed in mainstream public or private high schools and excel in that system.
Consider the Academic Strengths and Supports
As with any school, you’ll want to be sure the remedial school you’re considering offers a strong academic program. You can evaluate a school’s academic strengths in a few different ways:
- Talk to the school’s principal or head of department: As you’re scheduling tours of prospective schools, make sure to ask to speak with the head of the remedial program. This person should be able to give you a snapshot of the academics in your child’s grade level.
- Visit the school’s website: Each school’s website should contain mission statements and academic reports, which can tell you a lot about the school’s offerings.
- Call the school’s references: Some schools have a References page with references you can call to learn more about the academic program.
Check Out the Environment and Culture
Along with academic strengths, you should also evaluate the general environment and culture of the school you’re considering.
Visit the school, talk to students and teachers, and get a sense of the overall culture. You want to find a school where your child feels comfortable, happy, and safe.
Here are a few other things to consider:
- What is the average class size? Smaller class sizes tend to be better all around, especially for children with learning challenges who may need more one-on-one attention.
- What is the overall student-to-teacher ratio? You want your child to feel like she’s getting ample attention, but you don’t want her teachers over-extending themselves.
- What is the school’s disciplinary policy? You want a school with a discipline policy that makes sense for your child.
See If the School is Equipped to Help Your Child’s Needs
As you evaluate the academic strengths and general environment of the remedial school you’re considering, also assess how well the school is equipped to help your child.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Will your child receive speech therapy? If your child has a language-based learning difficulty, you will want your child to receive speech therapy as soon as she needs it. If your child’s school doesn’t offer speech therapy, or if the wait time is too long, you may want to consider another option.
- Does the school offer occupational therapy? Occupational therapy is helpful for a wide range of learning disabilities, including dysgraphia (which leads to poor handwriting), dyslexia, and dyscalculia (which leads to struggles with math skills).
- How long will placement take? Once you’ve determined that your child needs learning assistance, she should be receiving it as soon as possible. If the wait time for placement is too long, you may want to consider another option.
What Japari School can offer you
Japari School is an independent school for children with learning difficulties, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia and other common learning challenges. We are based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and provide in-class and online education for children in South Africa. Japari School’s learning programs and school curriculum is specially designed to help children overcome learning difficulties and excel in their education. Our dedicated team of teachers and experts work to help each child achieve their full potential through personalized attention and specialized learning programmes. If your child has difficulty with maths, reading or seems to have a barrier to learning, they could benefit from joining Japari School.
Many children experience learning difficulties at some point during their education. If your child is experiencing learning challenges, you should consider a remedial school like Japari. These schools are specially designed to help children with barriers to learning. However, not all remedial schools are created equal. You should carefully consider each school’s academic strengths, environment, and ability to help your child’s needs before making a decision.