Is a mainstream education setting the best fit for my autistic child?

Choosing a school for a child is hard work and every parent will surely agree!  There are so many different schools and curriculums to choose from.  Choosing a school, a special school, specialist school, therapy center or early interventions center is no different. 

When faced with the question: “is a mainstream education setting the best fit for my autistic child” one needs to consider many factors before embarking on the search for the right school. 

Here are our top three considerations:

1:  General school readiness of the child:

In South Africa, a child must go to Grade 1 in the year of their seventh birthday.  It is however permitted from age 6 years.  Age does not equal school readiness! 

Each child is different, and each child develops differently.  So, for a parent to answer this question the parent will need to consider the individual child and the level to which autism has affected the child’s development.  Because ultimately a mainstream education means that your child’s development is on par with the development of other children in a grade, group, or class.

2:  Visit and evaluate:

Every school is different, so we recommend that you evaluate your options.  It pays to look at the level of diversity and the type of support each school can provide your child.

3: Track record of the school:

During your search for answers make sure you look at the track record of the school in respect of inclusion of special needs children into their mainstream curriculum.

Talk to the school about their approach and the teachers training.  Establishing how many children with autism they currently have in their school and how many have successfully completed their curriculum will help you establish a fit for your own child.

Ilse Kilian-Ross

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 - 6 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.