How to Find the Best School for a "Problem" Child

Find the Best Schools How to Find the Best School for a "Problem" Child

How to Find the Best School for a "Problem" Child

Being a parent is tough on the best day. Parenting a child who sees the world differently is hard every day. Choosing a school that can successfully teach a kid who "acts up" in class and is disruptive to the classroom is a tremendous challenge.

The first thing you need to do when you are researching schools is to drop the phrase "problem" child. The vast majority of children who are labeled as "problems" have an undiagnosed medical condition, and intervention can help solve the problem.

Medical Causes for Misbehavior

If your child needs a special academic environment, that's fine. But before you make that decision, have your pediatrician conduct a complete physical, and have a child psychologist assess their learning style. Here's what the doctors look for.

  • Vision and hearing problems
  • Thyroid abnormalities
  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Dyslexia
  • Unusually high IQ

You read that right—extremely gifted children are often predetermined to be difficult because they are simply bored witless in a traditional classroom setting. That's why it's critical to assess your child's mental health early on so that a potentially brilliant student and extremely successful adult doesn't fail early on.

What Is the Best Type of School for a Child With Problems?

  • If your child's behavior can be managed with glasses or some sort of medical intervention, then the chances are good that they can thrive in a traditional public school setting.
  • If they are more extreme, as with some autism or ADHD, then a specialized environment may be best—one where they'll get more individual attention and serious adherence to their IEP.
  • Some public schools are really good at developing individual curricula for gifted kids. In larger towns and cities these are usually magnet schools. In a smaller city, a charter school may be the better option for a tailored learning plan.
  • On the other hand, if psychological testing indicates sociopathic behavior

(cruelty to people and animals, aggressive or threatening behaviors), then a school that is dedicated to helping truly troubled children is necessary.

How Do I Choose a School for My Unique Kid?

Start by asking your pediatrician and psychologist exactly the kind of environment your child needs. This is most critical in elementary school, where the learning is pretty much one-size-fits-all, and a child with differences will struggle to thrive. 

A charter or private school has more leeway in designing a curriculum and is probably a better option than a public school.

Teaching Methods

Teacher-basedThe most traditional teaching method is when the kids all sit facing the teacher and they lecture. Great for college students, not so much for active seven-year-olds.
Student-basedChildren work in small groups and are free to move about the classroom. This works well as long as the teacher can maintain discipline.
Project-basedThis is a subset of the student-based approach. Students are assigned grade-appropriate, in-depth projects that address real-world problems. This method stimulates critical thinking and problem solving, and is great for kids with ADHD and other learning differences.
MontessoriThis method teaches by doing. Students learn by participating in activities that they choose and usually work independently. The activities are chosen with an academic end game—a puzzle of a bird that identifies the parts of the bird, for example. This can be a wonderful environment for kids with dyslexia or autism.

Great. How Do I Find These Schools?

  1. Join a social media parent group for your child's problem. Better yet, join several to get lots of perspectives.
  2. Ask your child's doctors
  3. Research online for specialized or magnet schools in your area
  4. Network with other parents in your sphere. Just because a friend doesn't have a child the same as yours doesn't mean they don't have resources.
  5. Contact schools in your area and ask for information

Let DoNotPay Do the Research for You

DoNotPay can actually research the best options for you and generate a report that lists the five best schools in your area, based on the information you provide. If your child is interested in the arts, we'll factor that in. Same thing for kids who gravitate towards a STEM curriculum, or need a really small class with lots of physical activity. If your child needs a therapeutic environment, we can find those schools, too.

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 4 easy steps:

  1. Go to the Best Schools Search product on DoNotPay.


  2. 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.


  3. 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.


  4. Enter the search area you want to search in for. The wider the area, the more schools we can match you with.


DoNotPay Handles All of Life's Little–and Big–Problems

Finding the right school for your child is a huge life priority; arguing with Visa over a chargeback, not so much. What DoNotPay can do for you, aside from curating a list of school options, is manage the little things—and some big ones—that are so aggravating.

Whether you need help getting that refund, figuring out how to get a free trial for a streaming service, or finding help with Section 8 housing, DoNotPay is here for you—so you can ditch the frustration and focus on what really matters. 

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