Williams Syndrome Association Ireland

WS and Education

Choosing a Suitable Educational Placement for Your Child

This is one of the hardest decisions you have to make for your young child. Recent research done with Irish parents of children with WS shows an increasing trend towards choosing mainstream placements. In 2011 there were four children with WS in mainstream primary schools, two in special schools and one in a special class attached to a mainstream school. Parents of these children described the process of choosing a school to be very complex. Figure 1 shows that this was a two-step process.
Step one involved choosing the school type (mainstream or special) and then choosing the actual school. Different factors were at play for each step. School-type factors were the results of psychological assessments, parental attitudes to different educational settings, the child’s needs and available placements. Parents’ choice was subsequently determined by school structure, supports, and school leadership which encompassed the principal’s attitude to SEN.

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© Fionnuala Tynan 2014