For parents of children with autism, the decision to place their child in a residential school is among the most difficult they can make. It is important that they choose the right setting, one that combines quality educational services in a loving and nurturing home environment that is supported by trained and experienced staff. Questions to ask when choosing a residential school for your child
Does the school offer a full range of high quality educational, therapeutic, and health care services to children with developmental disabilities?
Is the school accredited by government agencies such as the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities or the New York State Education Department?
Do the students receive rehabilitation, nursing, adaptive physical education and other clinical services that are needed to support and enhance their education?
What type of curriculum does the school employ and is it based upon state standards?
What is the training and qualifications of the staff, and what is the staff to student ratio?
Parents may wish to consider placement in schools that have a Basic Life Skills Curriculum based upon the New York State Learning Standards and Alternate Performance Indicators for Students with Severe Disabilities. This type of functional curriculum is concerned with the acquisition of those abilities, skills, and understandings that lead to greater independence, social competence, academic and vocational proficiencies and focuses on five primary life skill areas: Communication Skills; Skills in Activities of Daily Living; Motor / Mobility / Movement Skills; Social / Leisure / Community Living Skills; and Academic and Vocational Skills.
In addition, it is important to choose a residential school that has a staff trained and certified in a variety of interventions and support services, including: