How to Find the Best Charter Schools for Dyslexia
Any time you're moving, it's stressful, but when you have a child with a different learning style, it's doubly difficult. Kids with diagnosed differences such as dyslexia, ADHD, or autism can thrive academically—as long as they are in an environment that is cognizant of their unique needs. You can begin your search for by asking your current school's teachers or administration for references or asking your child's doctors for guidance.
Which Is the Better Option—Public, Private, or Charter?
Public schools are good at a lot of things, but teaching dyslexic kids is typically not their strongest suit. While many parents want to give their kids the most mainstream education possible, elementary and middle school children struggle with the pace and structure of learning—particularly in an environment that isn't tailored to dyslexia.
There are hundreds of private schools in the US that are designed to teach kids with learning differences, and these are typically a much better option than a public school. The cost can be prohibitive for many families, although most schools do offer some financial assistance.
The middle ground between public and private education, charter schools, can be a wonderful option for kids with dyslexia or autism. They have the benefit of being tuition-free while also having the flexibility to tailor their teaching to match the student's needs. Charter schools also usually have a low student-to-teacher ratio, so your child is sure to get the individual attention they need.
How Do Charter Schools Work?
Charter schools are publicly funded alternatives to public schools. Because charter schools are publicly financed, they must accept applicants with all kinds of learning styles. Not all charter schools offer specialized programs for learning differences, but the small class size and individual attention for every pupil mean that your child will get instruction that is more geared to the way they learn.
Will a Charter School Work With My Child’s Iep or 504 Plan?
Yes. Again, public financial support requires a charter school to work with your child's individual education plan. The US Department of Education mandates that charter schools have the responsibility to provide free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all students with learning differences and disabilities. According to the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS), over 250,000 kids who learn differently are enrolled in charter schools.
How Do I Get My Child Into a Charter School?
The one big downside to a charter school is that acceptance is by lottery. The neighborhood guidelines that determine the boundaries for traditional public schools do not apply to their charter counterparts. The only "leg up" you can get with admission to a charter school is to have one child get in through the lottery—that gives you legacy status, and your other kids will get the first refusal if a spot opens up.
What Are the Advantages of a Charter School for Dyslexic Kids?
Families choose charter schools for a variety of reasons, but these are the most common.
- High academic standards
- Smaller class size
- Flexibility in approach to teaching and learning
- Less standardized curriculum
Most have fewer than 300 students in a K-12 environment. Some of the more established schools offer the same athletics and extracurricular activities as other schools, and in some states, it's mandated that they provide transportation.
Do the Teachers Have to Be Certified?
The US Department of Education simply says that all students should be taught by a highly qualified teacher. However, each state's charter laws govern local requirements for certification.
|Georgia||Does not require teachers to be certified|
|New Jersey||Require teachers to be certified|
|New York||Teachers with qualifying life experiences are allowed to teach|
How to Find the Best Charter Schools for Learning Differences in Your Area
As we mentioned earlier, asking your child's teachers or doctors for charter school recommendations is a good starting point. Here are some other ideas.
- Join a local social media group for parents in your area
- Network among friends who have dyslexic, autistic, or ADHD children
- Contact the local Board of Education for a list of charter schools
- Research websites like niche.com and thebestschools.org
- Contact local schools and request information on their specialized programs
DoNotPay Can Help You Narrow the Field
Our school search technology makes it easy for you to find the charter schools in your area that fit your family's individual needs. Even if you live in a small town, there are probably good charter options. DoNotPay's sophisticated AI will create a unique report listing the top five schools in your area based on the criteria you enter.
How to find the best schools in your area using DoNotPay:
If you want to find the best schools in your area but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in four easy steps:
- Go to the Best Schools Search product on DoNotPay.
- Let us guide you through the different priorities you can filter by, including whether you're looking for a private school vs. public school, your ideal student-to-teacher ratio, and what grade level you are looking for.
- Tell us how you want us to rank the results (by what's most important to you!) Some examples include, best schools overall, most diverse, best teachers, etc.
- Enter the search area you want to search in for. The wider the area, the more schools we can match you with.
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