How to choose the right high school for my child with Aspergers

For children with Asperger’s, high school can be very overwhelming.  Finding the right high school for your teen can positively influence his attitude towards his future.  Many people have no choice in the matter other than the local public high school due to limited finances and a lack of alternatives.  If you have access to more than one high school option for your child, your teen and your family are very fortunate.

There are several things you must keep in mind when choosing your teen with Asperger’s high school.  You should focus on these key areas:

1. Your teen’s specific needs

2. The school’s credentials

3. The school staff’s credentials

4. The school’s Special Education policies

5. The overall environment

6. Financial concerns

7. Convenience

With notebook in hand, expand each of the above-mentioned areas for each school to determine the fit for your teen with Asperger’s.  High school options you decide to consider should meet your expectations in all areas.  Of course, you can expect to compromise in some areas; no option will meet every need in every area.  Under each of the key areas, list your requirements and any questions you have for each selected school.  Here are some examples.

Does this school offer one-on-one support, daily and weekly therapies, medical support, help with organization (written schedules, time management support, etc.), and peer mentoring for social skills?  Does this school have much experience with Asperger’s students?  Are the therapy staff members available daily?  These questions refer to your teen’s specific needs.

Has this school seen successful graduation of students with Asperger’s?  Do the local or state authorities accredit this school?  Is this school ranked as a passing facility? These questions will reveal the school’s credentials.

Are any of the staff members board certified in specialty areas, special education, or Autism specific teaching methods?  Have any of this school’s staff been recognized by state or federal organizations for outstanding service?  These questions will reveal the credentials of the individual staff members.

How does this school handle new incoming students with existing special education plans?  Does this school work well by collaborating with other schools and the student’s parents to create a smooth transition?  Does this school have adequate special education staff to meet the student’s needs?  These questions will reveal the state of the special education services.

Is there order in the classrooms and common areas?  Are the students and staff members cheerful?  These questions will assess the environment of the school.

Does this school have a statement of the parents’ financial obligation?  Does this school offer a scholarship for special needs students?  Can families make payments over time?  These questions will guide your financial decision.

Does this school offer bus service?  Will transportation issues create a hardship?  This is very important information.

Choosing an appropriate Asperger’s high school will be straightforward if you take the time to ask questions, make observations, and assess the environment.  Weigh all of the pros and cons and make an informed decision that will best benefit your teen with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Thanks for reading,

Dave Angel

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