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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Different Types of Schools for Kids with Autism

At long last (and with many thanks to Lisa Kaylie), CHART finally has a list of Triangle area schools that serve students with autism. It is important to understand some of the fundamental differences between the three main types of schools (not including homeschooling) that our children are likely to attend. As each child and family situation is unique; we do not endorse one specific type of education for all children with autism. Our goal is to provide you with the information that can help you make an informed decision that will be the best educational fit for your child.

 

Public vs. Charter vs. Private Schools for ASD


What is IDEA?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) enacted in 1975 is the nation’s federal special education law that ensures public schools serve the educational needs of students with disabilities. IDEA requires that schools provide special education services to eligible students as outlined in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). IDEA also provides very specific requirements to guarantee a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment (LRE). FAPE and LRE are the protected rights of every eligible child, in all fifty states and U.S. Territories. 

LEA = Local Educational Agency - A public board of education or other public authority legally constituted within a State for either administrative control or direction of, or to perform a service function for, public elementary schools or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a State. Often the local school district.

Public Schools


Legally obligated to provide “free and appropriate” education under IDEA
Inclusive environment
Larger class sizes
Academic diversity
Social worker support
Teachers are required to be certified. Background checks required.
Must accept students within the district
Provide transportation to students outside of walk zones (or as a related service in an IEP)
Provide free or reduced lunches to qualifying students

Charter Schools


Legally obligated to provide “free and appropriate” education under IDEA
Inclusive environment? Depends on the type of school
Academic diversity? Depends on type of school
Often smaller class sizes
Strong sense of community
Only 50% of teachers required to be certified. Background checks required.
May require application, lottery process for admission
May not provide transportation
May not provide meals

Private Schools


Not legally obligated to provide “free and appropriate” education under IDEA
Inclusive environment? Depends on the type of school
Academic diversity? Depends on type of school
Often smaller class sizes
Strong sense of community
Set their own admission guidelines
Teachers are not required to be certified. Background checks only required for chief administrator of the school (not for teachers).
May not provide transportation
May not provide meals


Coming soon: why we decided that public school was best for our Twice-Exceptional child...




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