For a parent of a child with disabilities, one of the hardest decisions that has to be made is what type of environment will provide the child with the best education. While sending your child to a school that only serves students with disabilities might seem like a safe choice, there are other options such as mainstreaming. Because of this, it is important to closely investigate the potential disadvantages. However, some disadvantages of schools that only serve students with disabilities might be overcome if you are vigilant about providing social experiences outside of the school.
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Lack of Community
Oftentimes, schools that are specifically for students with disabilities are not located in the students' home neighbourhoods. Because of this, a child with a disability will not get to know the children that live around him as well as he would if he attended their school, and might not be as connected to his community.
Lack of Role Models
A school that serves students with disabilities may not have any regularly developing students without disabilities. Because of this, the role models that your child will encounter will have similar characteristics as she does, decreasing her potential for improving her skills by modelling. For example, a child who is in a mainstream class will be able to see the majority of her class sitting and listening. This may not be the case at a school that only serves students with disabilities.
Lack of Proper Social Interactions
School is not only a place for children to learn academics. They also spend time learning how to interact socially in the world around them, which is just as important as knowing how to read and write. When children with disabilities attend a special school for children with disabilities, the opportunities for healthy, positive social interactions with peers decrease because the people around them also have problems with social interactions.
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