Visit the school to assess its atmosphere, both inside and outside the classroom. Would it appeal to your child? Take note of what the students are doing. Does everyone appear to be participating in activities that are age-appropriate? Ask yourself if your child’s functioning level is similar to the other students you see.
Find out how much of your child’s day will be spent in the classroom. What courses are available? What is the student to teacher ratio?
For students of high school age, are degrees available upon completion of the program, and if so, what type? Will your child have opportunities for vocational training? Does the school contract with local business for work placement of its students?
The school should hold periodic parent/staff conferences to keep you abreast of your child’s progress. Be sure to ask how often these conferences will be held. If your child’s IEP requires counseling, speech therapy, physical therapy, etc., when and where will these be provided and by whom (are they qualified service providers?).
If the school is a residential facility, is it open 365 days per year? If not, what provisions are made for families who need assistance during summer and vacations? If you are looking into a day program, check to see if summer sessions are available. Many parents find this extra instructional time to be beneficial to their child.