Public or Private? Choosing the Right School for Your ADHD Child

Factors to consider when choosing a public or private school for your child with ADHD or learning disabilities like dyslexia.

ADHD children can benefit from reading with the teacher.

Don't fall for the public school versus private school trap.



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When researching schools, don't fall for the public school versus private school trap.

Instead, concentrate on each individual place. Just like a kid with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD), whose symptoms swing wildly from mild to severe, each school has its own pluses and minuses. In fact, public or private schools can work for children with ADD — in different ways. Here's how:

Going Public

  • Children don't have to test into public schools.
  • Children don't have admissions "interviews," which can easily call attention to ADD.
  • By law, public schools must prove they are doing everything in their power to help all children thrive.
  • Homework tends to be lighter in public schools.
  • There's less pressure to over-stimulate your child with after-school activities and tutoring.
  • Your child can't be forced out — even if he isn't excelling.
  • They're free.

Private Lessons

  • Class size is usually smaller than in public schools, with better teacher-to-student ratios.
  • Zoning doesn't restrict your choices. Your child can go almost anywhere — if he can test in.
  • Academic programs may be more challenging — a plus for bright children who get bored easily.
  • Many private schools offer extra help (e.g., speech therapy) after class instead of during regular classroom time, which is less stigmatizing.
  • Once you get in, testing isn't as crucial as it is in public schools.

This article comes from the April/May 2004 Issue of ADDitude.

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