Homeschooling Special Needs Children
The first special education law in the U.S. was signed on December 2, 1975 and the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) was into law on December 2, 1992. Among other accomplishments, this law made education available to all American children regardless of physical or mental status. Under this law, whether your child is homeschooled or not, federal law requires each state to evaluate children who may need special education. Each state will vary in how they handle to next steps after the child is evaluated. Some states may require the child to receive special education services by attending public school, while other states may allow the needed services to be received at home. Do not feel intimidated by what your state decides. If you do not agree with what has been decided, you do have a right to speak up as your child's parent. Many homeschool parents seek their own private professional services that they pay out of pocket for or that their insurance covers.
None of our children are special needs children, however I want to share some information that I have researched about educating special needs children at home. As a homeschool coach, part of my responsibility includes being well-versed in as many aspects of homeschooling as I can to be able to help as many families as I can.
One of the top questions I get asked has to do with choosing curriculum. I always say I will never recommend a specific curriculum because what works for my learners may not work the same for your learners. With this suggestion, my clients are also told to take a learning style quiz to determine how their children learn best. Typically, you will find there are three to four learning styles. Those are:
Kinesthetic (tactile, hands-on)
Auditory (learn best by hearing)
Visual (need to see things)
Your goal is to try to match up your child's learning style with the curriculum options available to you, which can be tricky and a bit time consuming. I understand how important this is to parents of special needs children because you want your child to be able to get the most out of their learning experiences. A few months ago, I came across a blogger who combined both of these tasks into a blog post just for us home educators! Her list does not include ALL homeschool curriculum options, however there are enough included in her searches to start you on the right track. Click the links below to be take to her blog posts with the recommended curriculum options for each learning style:
All of our children were created unique in God's eyes. They may not all learn the same, but there are definitely ways for everyone learn something. Advocate for your child so that they can receive the services you know they need! Do not feel that it is necessary for your child to attend public school in order to receive the special services they may need. You are perfectly capable of providing those services yourself or finding your own aid. Don't lose hope! Find your village of support and do what is best for your child.
Are you a special needs parent? What are some tips you can share that may help another special needs parent?