6 Things to Know About Private Special Education in New Jersey
One of the most important choices facing the parents of children who have Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), learning disabilities, or other disabling conditions, is finding the right school. If a public school is not the choice for you, then you will want to know all there is to know about private schools that specialize in teaching kids with such needs. You will want to know what kind of support your child will receive or if the school even admits students with your child’s specific issues.
Know these six things about private school education in New Jersey, and you will be off to a promising start:
Your district is responsible for arranging and paying for the evaluations it agrees to. An evaluation is necessary for public schools, private schools, and homeschooling. Districts are required by federal law to look for and evaluate students who show signs of having disabilities. The request for an evaluation can originate from either a teacher’s concern or your own. Either way, your public school district must pay for it. Before any decision is made, it would be best if you talk with your child’s teachers.
- 2Equitable Services
Your child has been evaluated and now qualifies for special education. You have a choice to make. Public school has its range of special education services. A private school has what’s called “equitable services.” These are specifically for students with disabilities, so that their parents can make the best decision for the “least restrictive environment” the student can be in. Just bear in mind that equitable does not necessarily mean equal. There may be differences between services in public school than in private.
- 3Service Plan
So what’s the plan? That’s the pertinent question. What services will your child receive? In public school, this information is spelled out in an Individualized Education Program, or IEP. The IEP is a document that is developed for each public-school child who needs special education. It is created through a team effort and reviewed periodically. If you transfer to a new school but remain in the same school district, it does not change. If you transfer to another district or state, your child may need a new plan. A different state may have different rules.
- 4Teacher Certification
Private schools sometimes have different hiring standards than public school. It all depends on the type of private school. If we are talking about an independent school for students with learning disabilities, ASD and other developmental conditions, staff will likely be hired according to the same qualifications, delineated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and state education laws, as public-school teachers. Do not assume this to be true of a military academy or a parochial school.
What is included in the plan? What instructions are teachers given in regards to your child’s education? The correct term is ‘accommodations’. Accommodations include extra time on tests, assistive technology, and behavioral support to help the student complete their work. We also offer counseling, speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Before choosing to place your child in a private school, be sure to learn about all the accommodations that will be available to your child. Pay particular attention to disability-specific needs, whether physical and behavioral.
The final factor you must bear in mind in regards to your child’s education is the learning environment. Once a child is deemed eligible for special education, this must be decided on, along with the appropriate special services. If this is not a general education classroom in a public school, your district may agree to an out-of-district placement. It will agree to pay for the cost of sending your child to a state-approved state that caters to students with a specific range of disabilities. This happens when you and the district agree that the local public school is unable to meet your child’s needs.
The Gateway School an private special education school in New Jersey
Our Mission at The Gateway School is to help all of our special needs students with the learning, social, language, and behavioral support they deserve. Our highly skilled staff are committed daily to helping each student to becoming the best they can while providing a safe and nurturing educational environment.
We would be more than happy to discuss your child’s specific needs and challenges, so please call us at 732.541.4400, or request a tour of The Gateway School located in Carteret New Jersey, just minutes off of the New Jersey Turnpike.
Chris Hoye, Principal-The Gateway School of Carteret, NJ
About RKS Associates
The Gateway School is part of special needs network of schools located in Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean County New Jersey. Since 1980 the RKS Associates schools have been leaders in helping special needs helping students with various disabilities including autism, Down's syndrome, communication, learning, social, behavioral and emotional disabilities. The range of services RKS schools provide is academic instruction and speech, occupational and physical therapies. In addition to Life Skills, Technology, and a full complement of Support Services.