Homeschooling Special Needs Children : You’ve Got This!

April 15, 2020

For parents of special needs children, the sudden shift to virtual learning has been more than inconvenient. While most students logged on to virtual lessons with their peers, some with more apprehension than others, students with special needs have faced unique struggles and parents of these children can feel overwhelmed and unprepared.

As any parent of a special needs child can attest to, quality education requires a team effort. Often this team includes everything from physical and occupational therapists to nurses and classroom aides – along with an array of equipment and tools. How are you expected to suddenly wear the hats of so many trained professionals?

For many, the answer lies in the resiliency you’ve developed over the years of raising your kids. Parents of special needs children are all too familiar with riding out the ups and downs of diverse disorders. From suddenly becoming an expert on something you’ve never heard of before to developing a backbone stronger than any trial lawyer, special needs parents have seemingly superhero reserves of grit.

Tap into that grit and remember a few key facts.

Homeschooling is Temporary

Homeschooling during this trying time isn’t actually “school.” You are not actually your child’s teacher, physical therapist, or speech therapist. This is a temporary situation that you and your child are working to make the best of. Your kids will be less focused. They will have less access to the critical supports they need. There will be progress they simply won’t be able to make. Educators and experts want to reassure you that this is perfectly fine.

Kids Thrive in the Driver’s Seat

Yes, many schools and districts have sent home work that requires completion. Your child doesn’t get much of a say in this. But, the more opportunities you give your child to make decisions, the more success you both will experience. Whether it’s allowing them to dictate the schedule, offering the ability to say they need a break whenever it’s needed, or allowing them to come up with their own list of things they want to learn; putting your child in the driver’s seat whenever possible inspires a sense of ownership of their own learning and confidence in their ability to contribute.

Plan, Plan, and Then Plan Some More

All children thrive on schedules but this is even more true with special needs children. They’re coming from an environment where their days are planned down to the minute. This provides a sense of emotional security for children who often struggle to feel like they’re in control of their bodies and brains. Involve your child in the process of creating the schedule and then hang it somewhere they can review it daily.

Still struggling? Reach out to your child’s teacher. They are often a wealth of emotional support and actionable suggestions.

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