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What are private schools for students with learning disabilities and ADHD?

By Geri Coleman Tucker

At a Glance

  • There are private schools that specialize in teaching kids with learning disabilities and ADHD.

  • Most of the teachers at these private schools have master’s degrees in special education, plus extra training.

  • These schools tend to cost a lot, but there may be some financial aid.

Parents, caregivers, and others may wonder about school options for kids who learn and think differently. Would a private school that focuses on kids with learning disabilities and ADHD be a good match? 

These kinds of private schools are designed to serve students with certain challenges. Some may just be for kids with , for example.

Some kids may feel more relaxed in schools like this. They may be more willing to take part in classes if they’re not afraid of seeming “different” or getting teased.

Like all private schools, these schools can vary widely in how they’re set up and in what they offer students. But they tend to have these things in common:

  • All of the students have a learning disability or ADHD.

  • All of the teachers have special training to teach and support students with learning disabilities and/or ADHD.

  • All of the school’s programs are designed to support the needs of these students.

Many of these schools offer smaller classes and a lower student-to-staff ratio than public schools. Most teachers at these private schools have master’s degrees in special education, plus extra training. And there are often specialists on the staff, like .

Dive deeper

Cost of specialized private schools

Private schools for kids with learning disabilities and ADHD charge tuition. Typically, the cost is very high. But there may be some financial aid. And tax deductions may help cover some of the cost of a specialized school.

In some cases, public school districts will pay for a child to go to private school. But this doesn’t happen very often.

Learn more about tax deductions and asking public school districts to pay for private schools

Special education and private schools

Private schools don’t have to offer (IEPs). That includes private schools for students with learning disabilities and ADHD.

But a public school district may be responsible for evaluating a student who attends a private school. The district may also have to provide some services to students at private schools. But funding for this is limited. So it isn’t likely to bring down the cost of attending a private school.

When private school students qualify for public services, they get an Individual Service Plan (ISP) instead of an IEP.

Learn more about evaluating private school students and the difference between IEPs and service plans .

Questions for families to ask a private school

Here are some questions families may want to ask if they’re considering a private school for students with learning disabilities:

  • Does the school serve kids who have the same kinds of challenges? Or does it serve students with a wide range of challenges?

  • What schools are the other students coming from?

  • How does the school monitor student progress?

  • How does the school communicate with parents about their child’s progress?

  • What is the school’s average class or instructional group size? What is its overall student-to-faculty (not faculty and staff) ratio?

  • What does the school do to promote kids’ strengths and interests while it provides support for learning challenges?

  • How does the school coordinate services with the public school district?

  • How do families pay tuition at the school?

  • What are the school’s expectations for family involvement and financial support beyond tuition?

  • Do students typically get additional support outside school, like tutors?

  • Where do students go after leaving this school? What percentage continue their education and where?

For more information, see a checklist of what to look for in a private school .

Next steps

Choosing or changing schools is a big decision. Explore more resources to help figure out if a school is a good fit:

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  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom