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my children are developmentally delayed and ADHD, should I go with Private or public school?


Love2beme10 February 19, 2009

They are at a public school now in resource classes but I am not seeing much progress. Help!

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michellea February 19, 2009

Hi and welcome,
The decision to place your children in a public or private school depends upon many things. In general, public schools have a legal requirement to provide your children with the services and supports needed to make appropriate progress. Private schools do not have this legal responsibility. On the other hand, private schools might have smaller class sizes, more flexible policies that would work for your children. If the school specializes in teaching children with learning disabilities and attention issues, they may be more supportive and effective in their approach.

Tell us a bit more about your children's situations. What grades are they in? What are their strengths and challenges? What kinds of specialized instruction does their current school provide? Have you had any recent evaluations? If so, what were the recommendations? If we have a bit more information, we might be able to help you assess your options.

Also, you may want to check out the Learning and attention difficulties group here at Great schools. I think you will find a great group of people that are familiar with the legal, educational and emotional issues that parents of children with learning disabilities face. Here is the link:


Love2beme10 February 19, 2009

My son is in 2nd grade he struggles with Dysgraphia and ADHD. His teacher is working on paper work to get him into resource classes. My daughter is in Kinder, she is developmentally delayed by about a year or year 1/2. My son is very frustrated because his writing is never good enough. My daughter is behind in learning to read. I want to have my students in the best place for them. I know that the school they are at right now is not good for them because of the academic/ curriculum programs that they use. It is mostly visual and teacher made (no textbooks). I'm really torn on what to do. I know that in public schools they can get the resource classes with more one on one help that they need. however private may be more patient ? I don't lknow...


healthy11 February 19, 2009

Hi. Michellea asked many of the same questions I was wondering about. I have an older son with ADHD, Dyslexia, & Dysgraphia. I'm trying to figure out if your son is currently just getting some kind of in-class remediation under RTI (response to intervention?) You mentioned that the teacher is doing paperwork now: is that to get your son an IEP and into a resource class, or does he already have an IEP? Are they willing to do any kind of OT (occupational therapy) to help with handwriting, or to introduce keyboarding or other AT(assistive technology)?

Truthfully, when you say that the academic/curriculum programs they use are mostly visual and teacher made, I've found many kids do better with that type of presentation than with typical textbooks and worksheets...visuals are usually helpful for kids with ADHD, and they tend to be more "hands on" learners than auditory or book learners.

As far as your daughter goes, was she identified under a "Child Find" program in preschool, and/or has she had a formal educational evaluation that shows she is really a year developmentally delayed? Is she just struggling with sound/letter recognition and reading, or in other areas as well? It's really difficult to advise you without knowing more details.


Love2beme10 February 20, 2009

My daughter was in Pre K under child find. She has IEP and gets pulled out for resource. She has had testing and the delay was concluded from the results. She gets OT, PT and Speech.
My son does not have an IEP. His teacher is working on getting the accomodations and modifications though the hundreds of pieces of paper work that needs to be filled out.


healthy11 February 20, 2009

Based on what you've said, it sounds like the public school hasn't yet had a chance to work with your son. I'm wondering if your daughter should be in a self-contained class, since she already is missing part of the regular school day for OT, PT, and Speech, but it sounds like they could also add goals for reading, and probably math.

Regular private schools, like those affiliated with churches or even Montessori or independent private schools might offer smaller class sizes (every school is different) but they are not obligated to offer any remediation services. While I know it is frustrating, unless you are in a position to place your children in a private school for students with learning difficulties, I think they will get more assistance in your public school.


michellea February 21, 2009

I agree with Healthy - it might be a bit early to give up on the school. That said, you are wise to stay on top of your children's progress and the services that are delivered.

At some point, you may want to have your children evaluated privately. When schools evaluate, their main objective is to determine if the child is eligible for services. Private evaluators are more diagnostic in nature. A private neuropsycholigist can often integrate the findings from a variety of experts including OT, PT, speech and language and medical to help you determine priorities, best approaches to re-mediate and support your child. They can also give you objective measures of your child's skill level and whether or not there has been sufficient growth.

My son had OT and PT services from age 2 through early intervention and then at age 3 thorough the school system. In Kindergarten, we had him tested further and found that he needed support in reading and writing. The school was able to provide all of these services.

Most private schools do not have OT's, PT's and special ed teachers on staff. If you decide you want to move your child to a private school, make sure that they are able to give your child the specialized instruction. Make sure that the classroom teacher is able to carry the strategies and techniques to the regular classroom.

My son now attends a private school that specializes in language based learning disabilities. This has been the perfect solution for him. It offers the small class size that he needs as well as the expert instruction in reading, writing, oral language. While they do not offer OT - many of the students struggle with handwriting, and they are experienced with accommodating and supporting poor handwriting. They also implement technology into the curriculum - which will be a life-long solution for my guy.

In short - I think it is too early to move. I think you will need more information about your children's needs to determine the best placement. Once you have that info, you should explore your options - but be sure that the new setting has the expertise to help your children.

Best of luck.


irenecb April 25, 2009

We have an eleven year old boy in 5th grade and doing poorly in a private school. He is on focalin for ADD/ADHD. We are looking for a summer school and/or full time school in El Paso to help bring him up to speed for 6th grade. Actually, we are physically in New Mexico so he would have to go to a NM public school and I am not sure about their curriculum for ADD/ADHD children. We really want him to attend summer school in El Paso for the immediate future. Does anyone have any ideas.


healthy11 April 25, 2009

irenecb, you might also want to post your question in the Learning and Attention Difficulties group at


addyb2 June 16, 2009

I have a sever year old boy who is developmentally delayed and has ADHD. I haven't taken the private school route, but found that as long as you stay on top of your childs IEP and take antvantage of your resouces you can make great strides. He's currently going to summer school and I just started him on Adderall. I'm hoping this will help him focus better. Is your child on any medications?


healthy11 June 16, 2009

addyb2, I'm not sure who you were asking your question to, but my son takes AdderallXR for his ADHD and it does help his focus. Please join us in the Learning and Attention Difficulties Group at, and you'll find many other parents who understand what you're dealing with.

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