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How to Choose a School for Your Child with Developmental Disabilities

Updated: Apr 1, 2021

How to Choose a School for Your Child with Developmental Disabilities inland respite socal

Admittedly, choosing which school your child attends is a big decision. After all, education is what will determine what career path your child takes. Furthermore, it is also what will help form the foundation of their beliefs. Children soak up everything in their environment so it's important that the school you choose reflects your values, beliefs, and high standards for excellence. That being said, if you have a child with a developmental disability, this can make the process of choosing a school a bit more complicated.

Inland Respite is dedicated to providing the highest-quality in-home respite care for children and adults with disabilities. Our caregivers have big hearts, and they love to share their passion with your family. You can choose from among our vetted in-home caregivers in order to find the right fit for your family. Then, you can take a break and do some much-needed self-care, even if it's just doing errands for the day by yourself. Our mission is to come alongside you and relieve you of some of the day-to-day activities. Below, we'll take a look at how to choose a school for your child with developmental disabilities. Contact us for the respite care you need today!



Visit the School

While researching online is a valuable first step to take, you really can't get a good feel for a school until you visit. From the moment you step through the door and are greeted, you'll get a sense of how the school is run, how friendly the staff are, and how accommodating they are to your visit. From there, you can take a tour and get all of your questions answered. You may even be able to observe a classroom for a few hours or the day to really get an idea of how children with developmental disabilities are taught, how discipline is managed, and the like.


Ask About Specialists

Depending on the particulars of your child's developmental disabilities, you will want to ask about the types and availability of specialists they have on hand for your child. Do they have speech therapists, physical therapists, counselors, and psychologists? Do they have adaptive classes, such as physical education? Do they offer extracurricular activities to give kids with special needs a chance to connect with other kids who have developmental disabilities? Do they offer other special programs or special services that could be helpful?


Ask About Medical and Food

If your child with developmental disabilities needs medication or may have an underlying medical condition that should be watched, it's super important to find out about the medical support staff at the school. Is there a full-time nurse on site? What is their medication policy? In addition, many children with special needs have issues with food. They will only eat certain types of food and can be particular about how it is presented. Some children have sensitive sensory issues that mean they will only eat food that feels a certain way in their mouth. Some children can engage in disruptive behaviors, and others may lack the muscle development to eat certain foods. It's important to ensure your child has a few problems as possible while in school, and ensuring they have the support they need is critical to their success.


Bring Your Child With You To Visit the School if Possible

While this tip may not be super helpful for younger children, it can be a great gauge to see how your child reacts to the school. Do they immediately begin to start looking for toys to play with? How do the staff interact with your child? Ask your child about their overall impressions of the school, such as can they see themselves there, or do they like the school? While their answers might not be super helpful, they most likely will express a big dislike of school, too.


Ask About the Expectations of the Parents

There's no doubt that communication will be key, especially when your child with developmental disabilities first begins school. When you are visiting schools, find out how often updates are given, who your points of contact will be, from the teacher to any special aids or therapists, and how to address any problems that may arise. In addition, ask about other expectations schools have for you. Will you be required to volunteer or help with certain activities for your child? What is the homework expectation and the parents' commitment? For instance, are you required to read to your child? The point is to find out the scope of what you are getting with the school so that you don't make the wrong choice and have to start from scratch again.



Choosing a school for your child with developmental disabilities can be a challenge, indeed. There is so much to consider and so much at stake that making the right decision can be extremely stressful.

If you are looking for some time to de-stress and decompress, Inland Respite is here to help. We offer the best respite care needs for your family. Our in-home caregiver program offers caring and compassionate providers who undergo a thorough background check and training. All have experience as companion caregivers in the Southern California area. You can meet your caregiver ahead of time and see if they will be a good fit for your family.

If you are interested in our respite care services, get in touch with us today!

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