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Essential Tips for Homeschooling Children with Special Needs

Updated: Apr 22

More Than One Way An IEP in public school is not the only path to educational success for your special needs child. I do not doubt or dispute that teachers in traditional schools are doing their very best in providing specialized therapies and services to special needs students. I am not debating this topic here. In this space I will explore teaching special needs students at home, without IEP’s, without any judgement of the amazing teachers that are serving kids in our public schools. I am not bashing the system, teachers who serve our children, or the families with kids in public school. My purpose is to encourage and support parents of special needs kids who want to do it a different way-to do it at home.

Yes, You Can! Homeschooling can be intimidating. To say raising kids with special needs is tough is an understatement. Is it truly possible and beneficial to bring these two worlds together? Yes! If you have a kid with special needs and want to homeschool, be encouraged. You can do it! It will take work to find and get support where and when you and your child need it. If you don’t have a diagnosis yet, consider getting one so you can begin to narrow down where to get the help that you need. If you already have a diagnosis, you are already on your way. Mama Knows Best You are (and have always been) your child’s best advocate. You have primary and deep insight into their struggles and strengths. You want more than anyone in the world to see your child have a successful and fulfilling life. Because you are the most invested in our child, and know them best, you can successfully homeschool your special needs student; if you are committed to do the work and solicit assistance when needed.

Seasons Sometimes you can find information, support, resources, and guides online as well as exercises and therapies you can do on your own at home. Other times, you will need to call in the support of professionals. There will be seasons for various methods and practices. When you are in a period of needing professional help and start to feel burdened, take heart, in many cases it will not go on forever. When therapy is done privately, progress will look differently than what you might be accustomed to with an IEP. Everything will be more intense and financially tight while you drive to and from appointments. Everything will feel strained when you dedicate your family to doing the work at home to support your special needs student amidst your other responsibilities. The results will likely be more drastic and rewarding as well.

My Experience One of my sons was severely speech delayed. We got him set up through the early intervention system in our state. They provided in home speech and occupational therapy. We then moved into an IEP in a local school. They worked really hard with him, but I didn’t see the progress I knew he was capable of making. He was miserable and so was I. I pulled him out and we went to private speech therapy. I picked up It Takes Two to Talk: A Practical Guide for Parents of Children with Language Delays for myself to read, Signing Times videos to watch together, and no spill bubbles for him. I got to work educating myself so that I could work with him at home. I shared what I was learning with my husband and my sister who was watching him while I worked, and we all worked together to teach him how to talk. He progressed exponentially faster through our work and the private speech therapy than he did in the school environment. It was successful, and he learned how to talk and well. One of my other sons struggles with dysgraphia. We were able to use Dianne Craft’s Brain Integration Therapy manual to help him with his writing. He will likely never be completely comfortable with a writing utensil in his hand, but he made huge progress in his writing and is not intimidated by writing the way he used to be. He is no longer scared when I say it is time to write and he has much more confidence in himself. He is able to joke around and says that he is allergic to pencils. He learned how to type and recognizes when he feels that he needs to make an accommodation to be able to do his school work.

Diagnosis Help For information on how to get a special needs diagnosis and what to do after receiving one, check out the following resources: a Special Needs Diagnosis Videos National Institute of Health- How are learning disabilities diagnosed?

In conclusion, special needs homeschooling is not just about academics; it's about recognizing and embracing the unique abilities and challenges of each child. It's a journey of patience, flexibility, and unconditional love, where caregivers become advocates, educators, and allies in their child's growth and development. Whether homeschooling a child with Down syndrome, anxiety, dyslexia, or other special needs, the principles remain the same: personalized learning, supportive environments, access to resources, and celebrating progress. By prioritizing the well-being and individualized needs of children with special needs, homeschooling empowers them to thrive academically, emotionally, and socially. It's about fostering a sense of belonging, resilience, and self-confidence, where every milestone achieved is a cause for celebration. Through the dedication and commitment of homeschool educators, children with special needs can unlock their full potential, enriching their lives and shaping a brighter future filled with endless possibilities. Our Homeschool Coaches can come alongside you as you homeschool your child with special needs. We exist to serve you.

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