Judi Munday, M.A.; M.Ed. Special Needs Educational Consultant
In recent years, more families choose to teach their children with special needs at home. Homeschooling can ensure an appropriate education, because one-size-fits-all public instruction has left more children behind. Thanks to the tremendous increase in available information about special needs, many parents can easily research the causes of their child’s struggle. Once you understand the reasons behind a child’s challenges, you have the flexibility to implement instruction and choose a curriculum that will fit the child. Whether your child is on the autism spectrum or struggles with severe disabilities or learning challenges such as dyslexia, or has ADD, the homeschool setting can help the child learn.
Homeschool parents often ask me, “Can I teach this child at home?” The answer is a resounding “Yes!” You, the parent, know your child better than any teacher in public school, no matter how much the schools continue to promote themselves as the only source of expertise for special education! Parents now find support though blogs, workshops, websites, and resources from groups such as HSLDA, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine®, and an endless treasury of books on almost every topic of special needs.
You may have some reservations about your own lack of training, but relax! There are easy-to-learn strategies to adjust curriculum, testing, and instruction so your child can progress in spite of even significant weaknesses. Individualized teaching does require extraordinary amounts of time and preparation. It also requires that you think carefully about all the elements of the child’s education: curriculum, setting, pacing, and even the difficulty level of questions you ask.
Adaptations for teaching and testing your special needs child will fall on a continuum, but you have a full range of tools and strategies from which to choose! Try modifying reading levels, using audio books, or providing online classes. Alter workbook pages by enlarging them, or reprint them onto colored paper. Draw boxes around each math problem. Possibly reduce the number of problems. Maybe your child needs more visual or hands-on activities. Accept short answers instead of requiring a full sentence. If your child consistently struggles to recall previous learning, give a verbal prompt or provide a word bank like those in word searches. No matter what, always teach at the level your child can learn–not at the level he can read! Just do what works! There are endless options! With God, all things are possible!
Judi Munday is an educational consultant for families who are homeschooling children with special needs. She is a Special Needs contributor for SchoolhouseTeachers.com and the author of two books: Teaching Your Special Needs Student and Writing a Student Education Plan. Judi’s website can be found at www.helpinschool.net where parents can learn new strategies and teaching tips to individualize instruction. She has presented at numerous homeschool conferences. Judi has a heart to equip and encourage families that they can meet their child’s unique learning needs!
Take a look below at this month’s resources for additional ideas. Be sure to let us know how you teach your child with special needs in your homeschool. Email Paul and Gena Suarez and share your story. We’d love to hear about it!
Has no one been able to identify your child’s problem? Do you feel that medication is not the answer? Many children are being misdiagnosed with reading, attention, and learning problems. Often, these children struggle in regular classrooms and do better being homeschooled. One overlooked underlying issue is a visual processing problem called Irlen Syndrome. There is a simple solution for eliminating the difficulties resulting from processing problems using colored overlays and/or individualized colored glasses.
For the past 30 years, the Irlen Method has been helping children and adults. The method has been featured on 60 Minutes, ABC World News, and in many articles. Homeschoolers are now using color and performing successfully. Take the self-test to see if your child can be helped:
Does your child skip words, lines, or lose place when reading or copying?
Is reading slow and choppy with errors?
Weak reading comprehension?
Are attention and concentration a problem?
Does your child prefer to work in dim lighting?
Can your child attend and concentrate longer working in dim lights?
Does your child complain of headaches, tired, rub eyes, or take breaks with schoolwork?
Wings to Soar Online Academy delivers customized interactive, adaptive, multimedia courses tailored to each student (pre K-12th). We treat kids with special needs, giftedness, and other “outside-the-box learners” as individuals, not labels.
We assess and place students into customized math, reading, writing, spelling, and language courses targeted to individual needs through online, adaptive curriculum.
Our multimedia-rich science and social studies courses embed opportunities for individual growth in informational reading, writing, presentation, media, and technology skills.
Our Intervention Specialist creates Custom Learning Plans for students with dyslexia, Asperger’s, auditory processing, and other learning struggles which may additionally include:
Fast ForWord, providing a targeted workout for the brain in Memory, Attention, Processing Speed, and Sequencing with applications to reading, spelling, and grammar
online tutoring/mentoring to teach the parent to implement customized Orton-Gillingham dyslexia remediation at home,
parent support, consult, and coaching, and
extra support or accommodations in group classes.
Visit us at www.wingstosoaronline.com to sign up for FREE assessment and initial consultation with our Intervention Specialist to explore how a Custom Learning Plan through Wings to Soar Online Academy for all or part of your curriculum may meet your “outside-the-box” learner’s needs.
A Common Cause of Word and Line Skipping
Reading involves the alternation of eye stoppages (fixations) and involuntary eye movements (saccades). Information enters the brain during fixations and the eyes move to the next text ‘target’ during saccades.
Readers who skip words and lines or encounter pattern glare (words seem to move on the page) may be experiencing irregular saccades. As these readers try to follow a line of text, their eyes land on random spot(s) on the page. Words and letters are then out of order and meaning is garbled.
Word and line skipping caused by irregular saccades negatively impacts recognition of word/sentence patterns and therefore reduces fluency and comprehension. Reduced comprehension may result in the reader losing interest (“This is stupid, I can’t do it“) since the erratic visual input seems to be nonsense. These readers may be labeled ADD/ADHD when, in fact, their so-called ‘attention deficit’ is due to poor control of visual field.
See-N-Read® Reading Intervention Tools (U.S. Patent No. 7,954,444) reduce word and line skipping without blocking surrounding text, helping readers keep their places and focus on content, thus enhancing fluency and comprehension. See-N-Read® is research-based and endorsed by teachers, reading specialists and neuropsychologists.
On March 3, 2014, enter the Great Bike Giveaway by The Friendship Circle for your chance to win a Buddy Bike and other adaptive bicycles! www.friendshipcircle.org/bikes/
The Buddy Bike® is the alternative inline tandem bicycle (bicycle for two) that places the stoker (smaller rider) in the front seat while the rear rider controls the steering.The Buddy Bike has a lower front seat so both riders can safely enjoy the view. It is shorter in length than a typical tandem, making it easier to store and transport. The Buddy Bike is CPSC safety-rated for up to 380 pounds; making it the ultimate family bike that can be enjoyed by riders of most ages and abilities.
The features of the Buddy Bike offer adaptive outdoor recreation and therapeutic activity to riders with cognitive or physical disabilities who may not be able to ride a bicycle safely on their own or who do not have the strength to pedal a bike alone. The Buddy Bike allows riders with autism, down syndrome, sight impairment, or other disabilities to experience the thrill of riding a bicycle with the whole family. They are no longer left behind!
Boulden Publishing has been providing quality resources to help parents, counselors, teachers, social workers and homeschoolers for over 28 years.
We offer over 2000 books, videos, assessments, activities and more to help you help kids™ learn and grow into happy healthy young adults, helping them with issues like bullying, teasing, friendships, social skills, self esteem, anger management, academic improvement as well as a large selection of resources on helping children with special needs.
From the award winning duo of Liking Myself and The Mouse, The Monster and Me. To our best selling I Said No!–a kid-to-kid guide to keeping your private parts private. With dozens of other topics in between you can count on Boulden to have something that works for you.
If you have specific needs or questions please give us a call at 800-238-8433 and our helpful knowledgeable staff will be happy to assist you, and if we don’t have what you need we often can recommend other places to try. So check us out and you’ll see why over 28,000 people have turned to us for resources to help them help kids.