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Choosing the Right School for Your Child: A Significant Decision


For parents, selecting the right school is a momentous decision, and for families with children who have additional needs, it becomes an even more crucial choice. Whether your child is embarking on their first school experience or you’re contemplating a school change, the guiding advice remains consistent: keep an open mind, conduct thorough research, and trust your instincts.

Australia offers a diverse array of schools, encompassing local public schools, Catholic schools, and private institutions. These schools can vary widely, with some boasting student populations numbering in the thousands, while others, often situated in rural or remote areas, cater to just a handful of students. Some students may attend boarding schools, while others may engage in remote learning.

Spot Therapy Hub Southeastern Sydney

So, where does one begin? We recommend initiating a meeting with the school, preferably in person. During this encounter, be forthright about your child’s unique needs and share information regarding the support they are likely to require. The objective is to discover a community that will wholeheartedly join your team with enthusiasm and commitment. Families invest considerable effort in supporting their children and collaborating with educators to nurture their development. Effective communication and positive relationships are at the core of this journey.

Some families may harbor concerns that their preferred school might be unwilling to accommodate their child’s support requirements. In the rare instance that a school demonstrates unsupportiveness, you’ve essentially ascertained that it’s not a conducive environment for your child, and you can strike it from your list of options. It’s important to remember that most educators are in the profession because of their passion for educating children and helping them reach their full potential, much like therapists. They share a duty of care to ensure every child leads their best life.

Here are some pertinent initial questions to pose:

  • What are the class sizes?
  • Is there a learning support program, and if so, how is it structured (e.g., in-class, pull-out, small group)?
  • How frequently is support provided (e.g., weekly, three times per week)?
  • What types of programs are available (e.g., Sounds~Write, MultiLit, MiniLit, Spalding)?
  • Who is responsible for running the program (e.g., a teacher, learning support officer, or volunteer parents)?
  • Are there opportunities for one-on-one support?

These questions should be easily and confidently addressed by schools. Approximately 1 in 10 children in Australia has a learning disability, so even in smaller schools, there should already be a few students receiving support. If a school struggles to provide clear answers, it may not be as experienced in accommodating diverse learning needs. However, many educators and schools that are new to providing additional support enthusiastically embrace the opportunity and introduce creative strategies to create a positive learning environment for your child.

Additionally, consider questions that offer insight into the school’s culture:

  • What is the atmosphere like during lunchtimes?
  • Where do children play?
  • Are there extracurricular activities, and are they adequately supported?
  • What are the school’s policies concerning pastoral care, friendship support, and anti-bullying initiatives?

Remember, while you want to make an informed choice, the decision is deeply personal. Your child’s needs and your family’s values will differ from others’ choices, including those of your close friends, relatives, and even families with children sharing similar diagnoses. Each child is unique, and every family possesses a distinct set of values that influence the decisions made on behalf of their children. Therefore, it’s advisable not to be unduly swayed by feedback from other parents in your social circle. Make in-person connections, book school tours, and involve your child in the orientation process.

A final note: Trust your instincts. If a school visit fails to convey a nurturing atmosphere, it’s perfectly acceptable to reassess your options, weighing the pros and cons of different settings. Choose an environment that feels right for your child and family.

If you wish to delve deeper into this subject with a professional, feel free to reach out to us at SPOT Therapy Hub, either at 9389 3322 or through our email at