There are a lot of strong opinions out there about proper placement for students with special needs. Some parents feel that every last special student belongs in the regular education mainstream; others hold on tight to out-of-district placements they feel have transformed their child. All that matters is what makes the most sense for your child right now, but each of these four types of special-education classroom has its supporters and critics. In mainstream placement or in an inclusion class your child will be in a regular education class with his age peers. There will ideally be a special-education teacher whose job it is to adjust the curriculum to your child's abilities in addition to the regular teacher. Inclusion placements have the benefit of keeping children in the mainstream of school life with higher-acheiving peers, but may not be able to provide the intensive help some students need. Students who need intensive help to keep up with grade-level work in a particular subject may be placed in the Resource room. In it  a special-education teacher works with a small group of students, using techniques that work more efficiently with a special-needs population.

Choosing the right special education placement

Resource Room placements have the benefit of providing help where needed while letting the student remain generally with the mainstream, but they lack the structure and routine of a self-contained classroom. Placement in a self-contained classroom means that your child will be removed from the general school population for all academic subjects to work in a small controlled setting with a special-education teacher. With different textbooks and different curricula students in a self-contained class may be working at all different academic levels. Self-contained classes offer structure, routine, and appropriate expectations, but some students may require a higher level of specialization. An out-of-district placement places her in a specialized school specifically designed to address special learning or behavioral needs while a self-contained class may require your child to go to a school outside your neighborhood. These schools have the benefit of providing the highest degree of structure, routine, and consistency throughout the school day. They remove, however, any possibility of interacting with regular education students, and they are extremely costly for school disricts. That's a question that needs to be answered based on your child's particular, individualized needs. Ask yourself what kind of setting your child learns best in, and what kind of setting is the least productive. Think whether he mainstream has been dangerous and unfriendly or about whether he has friends he wants to keep in touch with in the mainstream. Think about whether he needs structure and routine, or enjoys being with different teachers and kids. Think about whether there are one or two areas in which she needs academic help, or every moment in school is a struggle. Speak to your child's teachers, other parents, special education personnel, advocates in your area, and most importantly to your child, and try to gauge what setting would be the most productive, most beneficial, most stimulating and least threatening place for your child to learn.