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Homeschooling a Child with Learning Disabilities

HomeschoolingWhat are learning disabilities? Learning disabilities are neurological conditions which affect the brain's ability to process information in the way that most people normally do. They may have difficulty paying attention, with reading or letter recognition, or with mathematics. It does not mean that people who have learning disabilities are less intelligent. In fact, many people who have learning disabilities are more intelligent than the average person. Mental retardation, emotional disorders and poor socioeconomic status are not considered learning disabilities. The main thing to remember when learning disabilities are discussed is that with proper intervention and teaching and learning techniques, a child with special needs related to one of these disabilities can succeed in school.

Many parents of a child with special needs due to one or more learning disabilities have decided to take their child's education into their own hands through homeschooling. This can be very beneficial to a child with special needs because they get one-on-one attention and also because the parents are in the best position to discern their child's strengths and weaknesses. The parents of a child with special needs also have the most at stake when they take their child's education as a personal responsibility.

However, it is important for parents who have decided that they want to homeschool their child with special needs to take advantage of all of the resources that are available for children with learning disabilities. Not only are they available online, but there are also community resources both in the public school system and the private sector. Some of these resources include assessment tools, evaluations, and even therapy that parents of a child with special needs may not be trained to offer. It is vital that children with learning disabilities have every opportunity for success that is available to them. The learning disabilities will not go away, but with intervention they may even become assets.

Assessment and Evaluation: Many children that have learning disabilities are not diagnosed until they begin school-because this is where the problems are first manifest-although many a parent of a child with special needs has recognized that something is "not quite right" in the way that their child learns and performs on academic or motor skill tasks. Or, they may notice that their child has delays in reaching some of the developmental milestones. Even if you have already decided that you are going to homeschool, your public school district is legally required to give your child assessment tools and evaluations to screen your child for potential problem areas. Once the initial assessments are done, they are also required to provide you with the reports and allow you access to specialists and other special education resources-at no cost to you.

However, some parents feel that they would like a second opinion beyond what the school says and this is okay. Find out if your insurance will cover additional assessment tools or evaluations and find out which doctors or other specialists are covered under your insurance. Make sure that the specialists that you use are qualified not only to administer the assessment tools, but that they are also qualified to interpret the results and make a diagnosis of any learning disabilities that your child may have.

Common Learning Disabilities:
1. ADD/ADHD Attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are two of the more commonly diagnosed learning disabilities. You may even have a child's teacher say that he/she thinks your child has ADD/ADHD because they are unusually active or distractible. However, do not be too quick to jump to this diagnosis. ADD/ADHD is commonly misdiagnosed. Many gifted children are initially (and mistakenly) labeled as ADD/ADHD. It is important to have the assessment for your child done by a professional who is trained in diagnosing learning disabilities of this type. If your child has ADD/ADHD you should know that there are many treatment options out there beyond medication and also that there are teaching methods which will be more effective for this type of child with special needs.

Teaching a child with ADD/ADHD at home: If your child does have ADD/ADHD, you will want to make some modifications and accommodations when you homeschool. You will want to limit visual and auditory distractions which can be accomplished by putting up a blinder and also using headphones to drown out noise. Children with ADD/ADHD also benefit from a lot of movement and even things to keep their hands busy while they listen or learn. Be careful to avoid over stimulating a child with ADD/ADHD.

2. Dyslexia: Dyslexia is a neurological dysfunction which causes difficulty in decoding words, reversing symbols, and comprehension. Dyslexia can be related to a visual disorder or to a decoding problem in the way that the brain processes the information. Many young children who do not have dyslexia reverse letters occasionally, but if it is a consistent problem it may very well be an area of concern. One of the first things that you should do if you suspect your child may have dyslexia is to get their vision checked. You need a developmental vision exam performed by a qualified physician, not just a regular vision check like those performed at the doctor's or school nurse's office.

Teaching tips for a child with dyslexia: One of the keys to teaching a child with special needs related to dyslexia is to use a multi-sensory approach. This means that you should use as many of the senses as possible when you are presenting material. When you must use written material, combine it with auditory and/or tactile teaching so that the child can integrate it and learn it more effectively.

3. Dyscalculia: Dyscalculia is like "math dyslexia". A child who suffers from dyscalculia will have trouble distinguishing number symbols and doing math problems.

A suggestion for working with a child with Dyscalculia: The key to working with children who have dyscalculia is to break tasks down into small pieces and also to use repetition and rote learning (memorization) such as by using flash cards where the child holds the cards and does them at their own pace.-------------------------------------------If you are a business owner get listed at Best Education Site, part of Localwin Network. 
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