When choosing a private ESE school for you child, it is important to take your child’s specific needs into account. Many private schools, especially those with a focus on special needs, will have a number of ESE services available for you and your child to take advantage of. The best option is to make sure you do your research beforehand, and know exactly what to look for when it comes to you and your child’s needs.

What is a private ESE school?

ESE stands for Exceptional Student Education, which refers to the programs and services schools provide for students with disabilities and who require special needs. These services and programs can come in a variety of forms, including but not limited to: specifically designed instruction, technology and devices, therapy, and methods of transportation. While many public and private schools are required to have ESE programs, some private schools may specialize in these services with deeper development, funding and care. 

Who qualifies for ESE in Florida?

It is also important to know whether you child can qualify for ESE, and what level of schooling they need. Fortunately, ESE can benefit a wide range of students across age and their specific needs. Students are eligible from birth until they are 22 years old and have one of the qualifying disabilities. The list of disabilities that ESE covers is robust, but includes: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Hearing Impairment/Deaf, Dual Sensory Impaired (Blind-Deaf), Developmentally Delayed, Homebound or Hospitalized, Intellectual Disability, Emotional/Behavioral Disability, Language Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Speech Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Visual Impairment. 

Finding the right ESE Program

After learning exactly what ESE entails and how your child may qualify for these services, you will have enough knowledge to make an informed decision on what private ESE school to choose. Your child’s specific needs or their disabilities are a great guide to start from when choosing a school. For example, if your child is visually impaired, you may want to find a private school that not only focuses on special needs education, but actually specialized in visually impaired students. These schools can provide a wider range of literature using braille or audio-enhanced technology, instead of spreading out development over a wider range of needs. 

Ask About ESE Faculty Qualifications

You may also want to look into the teachers and faculty at these private schools. A private school has a lot of freedom in who they choose to hire, and may not always require special needs education from their teachers. If you can find a school that puts forward their teacher’s and faculty’s experience with special needs and how relevant they are to ESE programs, that may be a better choice than a school that dances around their teacher’s education. 

The IEP or Indivdualized Education Plan

When applying for ESE services, as a parent you will be involved in developing an IEP, or Individualized Education Plan, for your child. IEPs can only be created by your local public school. This takes into account what your child needs that other students may not, and what learning methods would best work for your child. Following your child’s IEP can help steer you towards what private school to enroll them into. An IEP adds a lot more information and may open up understanding towards your child’s needs that you would not consider before. Using this plan and the information it grants you, you can make the best decision for your child’s education!

Choosing a private ESE school for your child takes a lot of research and a deep understanding of your child’s needs as well as what the school can offer. Knowing just a few key pieces of information, and having a well developed IEP in your pocket, can help you choose the best option for your child’s growth and well-being.