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Private Schools for Students With Learning Disabilities and ADHD: What You Need to Know

By Geri Coleman Tucker

At a Glance

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

  • These schools can provide a place where your child doesn’t feel “different.”

  • Like all private schools, they don’t have to offer IEPs.

If your child has a learning disability or ADHD, you may wonder about school options. Would a private school that focuses on kids with these challenges be a good match?

There’s no simple answer. Like all private schools, these schools can vary widely in how they’re set up and what they offer students. Costs vary, too, but they’re typically very high. Here’s what you need to know about independent schools for kids with learning differences.

What Are Private Schools for Students With Learning Disabilities?

These private schools are designed to serve students with certain learning disabilities and ADHD. Some may just be for kids with dyslexia, for example.

Private schools for kids with learning disabilities and ADHD charge tuition. But they tend to be not-for-profit. And no matter what their focus is, they have these things in common:

  • All of the students have a or .

  • 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.

These schools are set up to give kids a place where they’re not “different.” All the teachers and staff are trained to support each child’s learning and growth.

Some kids feel more relaxed in schools like this. They may be more willing to take part in classes if they’re not afraid of teasing.

How Do Private Schools for Students With Learning Disabilities Work?

Many of these schools offer smaller classes and a lower student-to-staff ratio than public schools. The teachers are trained to work with students who learn and think differently. Most teachers have master’s degrees in , plus extra training. And speech-language pathologists and psychologists are often on the staff.

What to Watch Out For

Be aware that private schools don’t have to offer Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). That includes schools for students with learning disabilities.

Also, public school districts don’t have to pay for a child to go to private school. (There are exceptions to this.) But your local public school district may be responsible for doing evaluations. And it may have to provide some to students in private schools.

Here are some questions to ask if you’re considering a private school for students with learning disabilities:

  • Does the school serve kids who have the same challenges as my child?

  • 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?

  • How do families pay tuition at the school?

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

  • Will my child miss having social experiences with kids in general education?

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

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

  • Do students typically receive additional support outside school?

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

If you’re thinking about a private school for your child, use this checklist to help figure out if it’s a good fit. You can also look into tax deductions you may qualify for if your child attends a private school.

Key Takeaways

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

  • These schools may have smaller classes than public schools.

  • Public school districts usually don’t have to pay for a child to go to private school.

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  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom