Questions about School Placement

I am getting ready to go through the transition process from Early Intervention into school and we will soon be determining the best classroom for Nathan.

My question is – has anybody placed their special needs child in a typical classroom?

I’m hoping maybe some of you that are ahead of me and have done some research might be able to give me some guidance about what to consider when deciding placement.

The school district wants to place Nathan in a class with kids that have multiple disabilities.  On the one hand, this would be good because they would understand his needs and work with him on functional skills.

On the other hand, I feel that if he is in a class with typical children he will be stimulated more and will learn more and quicker.

I believe in “self fulfilling prophecies” and believe that children learn as much as they’re given a chance to learn.  So part of me wants to put him in a situation where he will be stimulated to learn more, but the other part of me wants him in an environment which is more supportive and understanding of his needs and limitations.

I’ve called a local Waldorf school and am hoping to talk to them as well.

Thanks so much for any help/advice!


  1. Ryland is in a regular preschool classroom but then our school distict isn’t that big. I asked about him going to Children’s Care Hospital and School CCHS, which is in Sioux Falls 25 mins away and they didn’t even want to look at it. I think the main reason was because it would cost them to much. At first I was a little upset but also thought it would be better for him with normal kids.
    Ryland is the only kid in grade school in our district that is in a wheelchair. It is hard at times because they don’t have much (anything) for sp. needs kids. Since Ryland will be in Kindergarten next year I am making a list of WHAT I want him to do throughout the day like being in a walking, stander, getting out of his wheelchair and having a special needs swing for when he’s out at recess. From a 1 to a 10, 10 being the best our dis. for speciall needs kids is a 2. I would make sure if he does go to a reg. preschool that you see first what they would change for Nathan. Also Rylands PT, OT and ST in school are not that great, that’s why we go to CCHS for extra PT and OT.

  2. Veronica says

    Hi Marcela, I’m a regular reader of your blog. I have CP myself and have always attended typical classrooms from kinder to university. I strongly feel the best you can do is place your son in a typical classroom and provide him with the supports he needs in there. Check out for some great ideas.Feel free to email me if you want to.Kind regards, Veronica

  3. Hey!! Its been awhile since I’ve talked to you. Emily is now five so its been awhile since she transitioned. It is important for you to know that you have options. Make sure you tour the schools they are suggesting to you. Emily attends a school that is close to 45min away because I felt it was the best school for her. In the beginning they had her in a classroom with children that had severe disabilities. None of them could walk or talk or even make eye contact. Yes their goals were the same(rolling, sitting,talking) but there was no stimulation for Emily. Emily seems like a typical five year old she just can’t move like one. I complained to the school and they made her stay in that classroom but she was able to go to a higher functioning classroom in the afternoons. Her second year she was moved into the higher functioning classroom. Now she is with children with all different types of disabilities, some can walk, some can talk, but most important she is getting the stimulation that she needs. She also goes for a full day! I love the school, its for special needs children only and I find that reassuring that she is in good hands. If you would like to talk more about it give me a call or email me.

  4. Matthew is 4 yrs 4 months. He goes to a special needs children school out of district. The school in our town does not have a program that addresses all all his needs right now. He goes to a full day program that has four pre-school groups for different functioning levels. He gets a lot of stimulation because of the variety of activities they do through out the week. There he gets PT, OT, ST, Feeding therapy, movement actities, Yoga, Music therapy, Hippotherapy. They bring children from other schools to be reading buddies and do activities with them.
    I am happy where he is now. I know I have more choices when he turns five. This year I want him to learn to communicate better. I do hope we can place Matthew in a regular classroom in a year or two.
    I suggest that you visit different school programs and then follow your instinct where you see Nathan going. What will meet his needs now. You can always change next year.
    Best of luck!

  5. I was legally blind and attended most all normal classes. I had trouble reading because of my vision, and used large print books. I could not do board work – I could not see it.

    From the flip side, I resented being in a “special” classroom because I had a vision disability NOT A MENTAL DISABILITY. Understand each child is different… Most of the kids who where in my LD class liked to goof off… SO, my advice would be, try normal school first, with support… IF it don’t work, there is always special school.

    A friend attend normal school with support, but sadly do to a lackluster diacritic is now being home schooled.

    Just because your in a special school or supported class, don’t assume your child will be ell card for and educated… Head my warning…

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