Special Education Private Schools in California

Instructor: Bill Sands
Students who require special education have over a hundred schools from which to choose in California. Read on to learn more about these academic programs and how they can benefit students with special needs.

Private Special Education Schools in California

Many private schools designed for students with special needs are members of the California Association of Private Special Education Schools, or CAPSES. CAPSES boasts over 140 members and is a cooperative effort to provide quality education to students with special needs in a non-public setting.

The following list contains profiles of a few schools who are CAPSES members and the various benefits that they offer.

Exceptional Children's Foundation (ECF)

The ECF was initially founded as a daycare program for students with disabilities, but has since diversified its services and now provides a wide range of programs to over 3,500 students of differing ages as well as their families. One such program is the Kayne Eras Center (KEC). This private, K-12 special education school boasts an impressive staff that includes licensed clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and post-graduate interns as well as speech therapists and occupational therapists.

These professionals work alongside teachers to help students meet their academic goals, whether they're pursing a general education curriculum to earn a high school diploma and attend college or a modified curriculum tailored to meet their needs. All students, regardless of their track, also receive vocational training through volunteer opportunities and internships.

The Creekside School

As a nonprofit private school catering to students in grades 1-12, The Creekside School focuses primarily on students with autism. Creekside employs a team-based approach to education, and each classroom includes a speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, and teaching assistants.

In addition to academic matters, the school also strives to teach important life skills that will benefit students for years to come. It offers students opportunities to participate in weekly field trips into the community as well as enrichment activities that include art, music and physical education. They can also take part in small group activities with general education students attending schools nearby.

The Institute for Effective Education (TIEE)

TIEE is a private institution located in San Diego. This nonprofit accepts students of all abilities from ages 3 to 22 into three different programs. The Urban Skills Center prepares students who are 18 to 22 years old for independent living, all while providing them with job skills training and, in some cases, the necessary coursework for a high school diploma. The COOK Education Center provides behavior intervention, language and speech therapy, and counseling services to elementary and secondary school students with learning and behavioral disabilities. The Children's Workshop is designed exclusively for younger students and features a 12-point curriculum that addresses all the major learning areas for students with disabilities.

Timothy Murphy School

The Timothy Murphy School provides special education to 1st through 12th grade students with emotional and behavioral problems. The school teaches a state-sponsored curriculum tailored to meet each student's needs while also providing counseling and behavior management services to help improve their social skills and overall mental health. The high school program also assists students with life and job skills as they prepare for college or employment and awards both diplomas and certificates of completion. Students also have the chance to explore personal interests through extracurricular courses in music and art.

Additional Resources

The schools listed here are but a sampling of the available options in California. The state's many private schools offer endless opportunities for students with disabilities and their families.

To get a better idea of the various types of therapeutic activities, instructional strategies and materials available to these schools' special education teachers and parents, check out this course outlining Resources for Teaching Special Education. You can also use this History of Special Education course to explore legislation impacting students with disabilities along with current trends.

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