Special education schools are designed to educate children with behavioral, emotional, physical, or cognitive needs that can not be met in a general education classroom. These types of needs include, but aren't limited to, the following types of diagnoses or conditions. There is a wide variety of special education schools, some private and some public. They serve different types of populations and have different missions. Though these schools vary widely in their programs, they may share some of the following common features such as small class sizes. Most special education classes are very small in size, and many have a 12:1 or 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio. The smaller class sizes allow teachers to pay more attention to each student and to possibly care for children who need more intensive care than children in a general education classroom. The smaller class sizes are also beneficial for children with sensory integration disorder or who experience sensory overload in a traditional classroom. Such children may react strongly to loud noises, bright lights, too much commotion, or the noises of other children, making them anxious and generally unable to learn in a traditional classroom.  Many special education schools even have low-level light (no fluorescent bulbs, which are too bright) for children with sensory integration issues and are designed to be quiet, have small classrooms.

Students with special needs

The teachers at special education schools are trained to help children with specific issues or disorders. The school may have other specialists on staff in addition to this. These specialists may work with your child, in addition to the classroom teachers, to help your child express himself better or more clearly, process and express his emotions, and integrate his incoming sensory information. The general classroom education may be combined with break-out sessions in which the child visits specialists, or the specialists may work with children in the classroom. Special education schools often make changes in the standard curriculum, or they offer accommodations or students with learning or other issues. For example, certain students may be exempt from taking state-mandated tests, particularly at private special education schools. They may also change classes such as physical education to concentrate less on learning sports and more on accommodating children with physical disabilities. Adaptive physical education classes can also help children with disabilities develop their physical strength and coordination. Special education schools offer students techniques to help remediate, or improve, their learning issues.  Schools geared towards students with dyslexia often offer strategies such as Orton-Gilingham techniques for example. Orton-Gillingham uses a multi-sensory approach to teach children how to read and write; so, for example, while the children are learning letters, they also write them in sand or shaving cream or construct them out of blocks. This multisensory approach is just one of the many ways in which children with reading issues can be helped. The remediation offered at schools depends on the specific problems of the students; for example, students with social skills deficits often receive social-skills training to help them understand their own emotions and how to interact with other children and with adults.