What about Special Needs Students?

As with the question about the poor, we must consider that a large portion of special education students are being badly served in public schools, and for most of the same reasons the poor are not well-served.

Many special education students don’t belong in the classes they’ve been assigned to: their problems are caused by the pressure or inappropriate instruction of schools, not by any deficiency in themselves (many homeschooling parents are surprised to find that when they bring their special ed students home, the problems disappear or greatly diminish).

The move in homeschooling circles to help special needs families is already in full bloom. Homeschooling parents deal with all the challenges you would expect in raising a special needs child but with the support of endless resources — support groups, retreats, books, websites, special curriculum.

Many homeschooling parents have been delighted at the results of bringing their special needs child home to a happier, more cooperative child, a more peaceful home atmosphere, and more progress. To get a taste of the possibilities, check out the A-Z Home’s Cool Homeschooling – Special Needs.

But what about private schooling for special needs children?
 Not all parents want to or can home school. Some needs are serious enough that parents require a tremendous amount of help.

The potential for real help in a private market for these families is huge. Private schools could draw on the expertise of parents (who, after years of dealing with special needs, have much to offer by way of practical advice and help). They would also draw contributions from the many generous people who care about special needs kids. Many of the same resources available to home schoolers apply to all special needs families and to schools.

It is a disappointing fact that many public schools have had to be forced by court order to accommodate special needs students.
 They have no motivation to offer services that are expensive and time-consuming. The motivations of compassion and business opportunity in the private sector would both work to fill the need.

Some may object to the idea that people might profit from serving special needs students, but they should keep in mind that funding would be provided not only by families but by donations and grants from charitable foundations and individuals. There is little outcry when doctors profit from treating the chronically ill or when pharmacies profit from selling medications. These people are providing a much-needed and appreciated service. It is a free market that permits them to offer a variety of options so people are not forced to rely on the government and whatever it chooses for their future.

Finally, parents will have control over the type of services and education their special needs child receives. They will be free to choose the path they consider best. Special needs students need not be lumped together regardless of type of need, as they so often are in public schools. As with the small neighborhood schools where parents pool their resources, special needs families will be free to pool resources to meet their children’s needs, with the added bonus of providing one another with support.

There is no perfect solution to any human problem. Each person is different, each family is different. But some solutions are so much better than others that it is clear they should be chosen.

Families of special needs students can begin today by researching the possibilities for their children. Many have been led to believe that there are no good options outside public schools or that they, as simple “lay people,” are inadequate to the care of their children (except in the summertime). It is simply not true.

Start with the A-Z Home’s Cool Homeschooling site and branch out from there. You’ll find discussion groups and support groups with whom to make contact, lists of resources and ideas for further research.