This article will explain the best schools for special education in 2022.

Special education (known as special-needs education, aided education, exceptional education, exceptional student education, special ed., SEN, or SPED) is the practice of educating students in a way that provides accommodations that address their individual differences, disabilities, and special needs. 

Ideally, special education is a process that involves individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials, and accessible settings.

SchoolS for special education are interventions that are designed to help individuals with special needs achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success in school and in their community.

These special education interventions may not be available if the student were only given access to a typical classroom education. 


Special students are students with physical, mental or emotional disabilities, depriving them of learning in common classrooms.

Students who need special treatment to learn enroll in special schools.


Disabilities vary among special students, ranging from physical to psychological, developmental and mental issues. Some common disabilities among special students include:

  • Emotional/Behavior Disorders
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Developmental Delays
  • Neurological Disabilities
  • Visual Impairment
  • Down Syndrome
  • Seizure disorders
  • Cystic Fibrosis Mental Retardation
  • Dyslexia

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A special school is a school catering for students who have special educational needs due to learning difficulties, physical disabilities or behavioral problems.

Special schools may be specifically designed, staffed and resourced to provide appropriate special education for children with additional needs.

Students attending special schools generally do not attend any classes in mainstream schools.

Special schools provide individualized education, addressing specific needs. Student to teacher ratios are kept low, often 6:1 or lower depending upon the needs of the children.

Special schools will also have other facilities for children with special needs, such as soft play areas, sensory rooms, or swimming pools, which are necessary for treating students with certain conditions.

In recent times, places available in special schools are declining as more children with special needs receive education in mainstream schools.

However, there will always be some children, whose learning needs cannot be appropriately met in a regular classroom setting and will require specialized education and resources to provide the level of support they require. 

We have curated 10 best schools for special education, which will aid the learning needs of special students.



Whytecliff Centres in Langley & Burnaby offer a highly successful Gr. 8-12 curriculum tailored for youth with diverse learning/personal challenges.

The Whytecliff caring and competent staff gently weave the academics with a positive strengths-based therapeutic program, paving the way for whole-life success.

Despite struggling in other schools, attendance here soars, and course completion increases 4 to 8 times.

95% of students entering grade 12 graduate, and later self-report as 9.3 out of 10 for being on a solid life path!  

  • Safe, empathetic, supportive community for students with a diverse range of learning needs
  • Low student-to-educator ratio of less than 5:1 lets us really get to know you
  • Each child gets a personalized program tailored to their unique gifts, strengths, and talents

The school began operations in 1993, though is an expression of a larger program of activity that dates back to 1975 with the creation of the Focus Foundation, a non-profit intending to provide social and educational support for youth aged 13-19.

Since the beginning, the force of the programs was in working with assets, rather than deficits: finding talents and passions, and using those as the means of developing skills and engagement. 


New Haven offers high-quality, evidence-based education and treatment programs for children with ASD that are thoughtfully designed to be as unique as the children served.

Programming is to needs; based on ongoing assessments and personalized data collection. More than just an education and treatment centre with trained and certified professional staff, New Haven is a network of caring individuals passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of those living with ASD.

Together we can SOAR!

  • Evidence-based data driven programming based on the scientific principles of ABA
  • Individualized curricula
  • Specialized focus on autism
  • Private and government funded programming

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Oakwood Academy is the only recognized school in Canada using the Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based (DIR®) Model. 

Located in Mississauga, its unique developmental approach teaches students (pre-school to Grade 12) to think rather than memorize, and uses social relationships as the cornerstone of curricular development.

Oakwood Academy School is designed for every student to reach their academic and social potential. 

It was found by Trillian Taylor and Michele Power, who remain directors at the school today. 

The school is intentionally small, allowing for a very individual attention to the unique needs of each student, including an overt attention to social and emotional development.


Applewood Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for students requiring individualized academic, clinical, and behavior-management solutions. The staff have specialization in special education, psychiatry, psychotherapy, and child/adolescent management.

We maintain academic and residential placements by establishing therapeutic relationships; applying cognitive-behavioural management techniques; implementing individualized learning programs; and utilizing continuous clinical and academic support.

Every private school exists to meet the needs of a specific set of learners, which is something that on the whole differentiates private education from the public system. And in that sense, you can’t find a better example than Applewood.

It isn’t the right school for all students, but for a specific set of students—principally ones that require therapeutic support and individual learning programs—it is unequalled.


Triad Academy, a division of Summit School, provides the extra attention required by students with dyslexia and language-based learning differences. 

As a school, Summit’s goal is to inspire its students to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.

By making available specially trained teachers and individualized classes, Triad Academy permits students to learn the techniques and gain the help they need in order to succeed in a traditional classroom environment. 

Students at Triad concentrate on developing their unique talents in all subjects, and daily partake in two hours of language development, with step-by-step reinforcement of knowledge gained in all subjects. 

With this knowledge firmly in place, students may then transition to a different division of Summit School, aware of how their learning styles work, and knowing that the teachers and methods they gained at Triad Academy are still here to support them.


Vanguard started in 1960. After The Vanguard School was directly hit by three hurricanes in 2004, the entire campus renovation brought new dormitories, classrooms, administrative buildings, clinic, and a Visual and Performing Arts Center. 

With both boarding and day school options, Vanguard serves students aged 10 through high school, and also offers a unique post-graduate program to help students prepare for the transition between high school and either college, vocational school, or the working world. 

The school serves students whose struggles with Asperger’s Syndrome, dyslexia, dyscalculia, or an attention deficit affect academic progress, but it does not provide therapy to students with significant behavioral needs. 

Vanguard is particularly popular for its competitive sports teams—students have the opportunity to play myriad sports with area schools—and for its emphasis on life preparation.

Graduating students receive an award of either an academic diploma if they plan to go on to college, or a practical arts diploma if their goal is to pursue a vocation or career.

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The Hill Center helps students with learning differences and attention deficit disorders understand and accommodate their educational needs.

Each student attends the Hill Center for part of his/her school day, and returns to his/her own private or public school for the rest of the day. This allows him/her to effectively transition to traditional school full time after this instruction is complete (usually in 3-4 years). 

The Hill Center provides specialists who acknowledge academic difficulties, such as spelling and math comprehension, and social struggles, such as immature behavior and trouble standing still, who teach students to understand their learning differences.

While graduates of The Hill Center learn the skills to successfully integrate in a mainstream school, they have not suppressed their personalities or unique ways.

Rather, they leave with a keen understanding of their own learning styles and the tools they will need to succeed in a world that doesn’t always embrace learning differences. 

After participating in The Hill Center’s individualized, multi-sensory instruction, students gain the self-confidence, motivation, and knowledge they will need to successfully negotiate their future education.


New Leaf Academy offers therapeutic services for pre-adolescent and adolescent girls who grapple with behavioral issues which prevent them from succeeding academically and adjusting socially. 

The school helpS girls learn to make healthy choices; from making friends and following school rules to eating well and studying, New Leaf Academy attends to each student’s needs and aims to assist in the personal growth required for each girl to become a successful, positive woman. 

Nestled in the heart of mountainous Bend, the program features equine studies, team sports, dance classes, and various electives including artistic expression, modern history, and gardening.


Ann Arbor Academy’s middle and high school programs work with students of average to above-average intelligence whose learning needs—autism, language-based disabilities, or attention disorders—require particular attention to certain academic subjects or personal management. 

While the school serves the needs of students within a particular age range, it does not assume that one’s age or grade corresponds to one’s skill set.

Rather than unceremoniously distributing grades, Ann Arbor Academy analyzes students’ performance on individual progress,. They access each student’s strengths and weaknesses and discusses them with parents/guardians throughout the school year. 

Among its many offerings, the school supports an “experiential learning” trip to Europe for upper level students, and emphasizes self-advocacy and personal organization techniques for all learners.


Autism In Mind Children’s Charity’s (AIM) continued commitment in providing innovative and supportive learning programs to enhance the lives of children with autism, is proud to launch AIM Without Limits (AWL) Private School. 

AWL’s Multidisciplinary and Educational Team’s ABA based curriculum provides instructional and learning opportunities with the latest evidence-based educational practices aimed at ensuring the highest quality education that best meet each students unique learning needs serving Grades JK-8.

  • 4:1 student to teacher ratio
  • Evidence-based ABA curriculum
  • Registered private school delivering Ontario approved curriculum
  • Multidisciplinary team – Clinical Psychologist, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, ABA team
  • Strength focused afterschool programs
  • Vocational/Life/community skill training
  • Emotional Regulation

AIM is a strong, established program offering accredited instructors and therapists, and delivering an evidence based curriculum. Supports are varied and vast, though there’s a personal touch as well. 

When students enroll, they enter a setting in which they are truly understood and appreciated.

Here, they aren’t unique, being called out of the room to engage with supports, but access them around the clock.


Being able to find the best special education school gives your kid the ideal learning environment suitable for the well-being and specific educational requirements of the individual.

In special education schools, children are encouraged to take pleasure in striving to do their best, and to recognize value from encountering and overcoming obstacles.

There are opportunities for self-discovery and creative expression. 

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