1. Ask Questions, Be Your Child’s Advocate
If you’re a parent of a special needs child you need to be their advocate. This process begins while you’re choosing educational services. If you’re looking at autism schools in Florida, for example, ask prospective schools about the services your child will be provided and communicate with teachers and staffers as to what you hope the school will do to help your child be successful, both from an academic and social perspective.
Being your child’s advocate is an ongoing process, one that continues apace when your child is enrolled in school. It requires equal parts patience and persistence, and the most effective advocates have good communication skills. Be a good listener and stay calm and respectful, but don’t hesitate to offer suggestions and potential solutions.
2. Develop a Relationship With Your Child’s Teacher(s) and Staff
It’s also helpful to develop a strong relationship with your special needs student’s teacher(s), especially if your child has behavioral issues. You can provide unique insight as to your child’s behaviors and how to manage them.
You should also be an active participant in developing your child’s educational program—and then helping to tweak that program as your son or daughter achieves goals and experiences greater confidence and success.
With this in mind, ask your special needs student’s teacher about their preferred means of communicating with you, which may be by phone, e-mail or in-person. Teachers and staffers understand that parents want to support their efforts and can also help you identify educational services available to assist your child.
3. Think About the Future
It can sometimes be difficult to look past day-to-day challenges when parenting a special needs child, but you should be cognizant of services and opportunities that may be available to your child as they grow older. Conceiving of what your son or daughter may do in the future can also help inform the educational choices you make in the present.
For example, some of the best autism schools in Florida have programs that can help bridge the gap between the classroom and the “real world.” At Atlantis Academies our LIFE Program (Living Independently with Fundamental Experiences) allows young adults with autism spectrum and related disabilities learn the skills needed to live a more independent life, both at home and in the workplace.
The LIFE program blends classroom instruction with work experience and social enrichment opportunities to close the gap between high school and college or employment.
At the forefront of that effort are our job experience training coaches, who help students learn job skills and workplace etiquette. Students also learn independent living skills, including everything from personal hygiene, meal preparation and safety skills, to household organization and financial management.
Want to Learn More About Atlantis Academies?
At Atlantis Academy (est. 1976) we specialize in educating students who have learning difficulties and are struggling in their current school environment. We provide the academic, behavioral, social and emotional supports those students need to reach their potential.
At our campuses—in Miami, Coral Springs and West Palm Beach—we offer a comprehensive education program for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade (up to age 22).
We encourage prospective students and parents to spend at least one day on campus so they can get a feel for the Atlantis Academy experience. You’ll want to observe the classroom, students and teachers; you’ll also want to see how your child reacts to the environment because the best indication of whether a school is “right” can be determined by how your child responds.
To learn more about enrolling, fill out this form or call us at (305) 271-9771. We accept applications year-round and welcome new students every day.