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Homeschooling a child with special needs?


Forum: Homeschooling

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  #1  
March 14th, 2010, 11:37 AM
mykasmom's Avatar Super Mommy
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 759
Hi everyone,

I have lurked here on and off, and have been contemplating homeschooling for a few years now. I just posted a huge (long!) post on the Children with Developmental Delays Board and if you're up for a long read you can get a good idea of our history, and why I'm thinking about homeschooling: http://www.justmommies.com/forums/f3...re-little.html

My question is, does anyone have experience homeschooling a child with learning disabilities, ADHD, Aspergers, etc? With my son, a big concern is social skills, and I know it's a myth that homeschool kids don't get socialization, but if you need "extra help" in the socials skills area, what did you do?

I was just curious if anyone had a similar experience and has found homeschooling to be successful for a child with special needs?

Thanks!
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DS Myka (7/19/01) and DD Kirra (12/2/10)

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  #2  
March 14th, 2010, 01:36 PM
Sandra314's Avatar Homeschooling Mom
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 893
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Hello Angela and

I'm Sandra, mom to two boys ages 10 and 4. My oldest son has Asperger's syndrome. a chromosomal abnormality, Hydrocephalus, Sensory issues and other learning disabilities. We have been homeschooling from the start since he was a preschooler.

There are many parents who are dissatisfied with school programs for their children (special needs or not). From what I read on your other post that you have been trying your best to get your son's needs addressed.

I have always believed that a parent is the "expert" when it comes to their child -- no one knows your child like you do. Assuming that your children's IEPs are already in place as you mentioned, you can begin by following that plan for the remainder of the school year, until you feel confident enough to branch out and create your own course of study, based on your child's needs and learning style.

For us learning hands on when it comes to most subjects has been been the greatest learning style for our son. We started with thematic units when covering subjects that our son was interested in. We do Nature Studies, shared reading (with both boys), manipulatives for teaching Math concepts, etc.

We joined a Homeschooling support group in 2003 that meets weekly every Wednesday in our city. There we met many other families new to homeschooling as well as homeschool veterans. Originally the group was set up as a playgroup when we started but it added co-op classes, monthly field trips, guest speakers, an annual curriculum/book swap and recently added a drama club, yearbook club, and science classes for preschool age and up.
Being in this group has helped our son greatly. He has met other children his age as well as different ages. When we first joined, my son was shy until he was befriended by one boy his age. Since then they have become good friends and my son plays with the rest of the group.

We recently joined FEAST (Family Educators of South Texas),. They offer classes for parents and co-op classes for children. In several years, we will be considering another resource, the Friday school (for high school level). For now we are basically making our own lesson plans and using a variety of curriculum (this is my first year using purchased curriculum).

There are many ways to include socialization in addition to homeschool groups. There is the boy scouts, AWANA, taking local art and crafts classes.
Check on Yahoo groups for any homeschool groups in your area (that is how we found ours).

Overall, we have found homeschooling works for us as a family and more importantly for our son.

I wish you and your son the best and again welcome.
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Sandra. Wife to Timothy and Homeschool mom to Michael and Matthew


Married for 14+ years to the love of my life. Currently TTCing.
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  #3  
March 14th, 2010, 02:51 PM
Super Mommy
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 784
My son is not officially diagnosed however he has great trouble figuring out the little nuances of social interactions tone, facial expressions and he gets very frustrated. He unsuccessfully tried 1/2 day summer camp, gymnastic for boys (cirque du soliei), karate, and Soccer. Each came with a new negative coping mechanism but if you ask him he liked them all.

We joined a co-op and the kids there really embraced him they quickly forgave him trying to randomly grab people to play tag and tried to get him to play with them instead of just spinning in circles. Now he's at the point that he has several (about 4) friends that actively look for him. They naturally correct his behavior "If you want to see me do ____ you have to zip you lips (Zipping motion) and watch." He is taking a manners class that teaches all about being a good friend. He only spends about 5-10 mins. in each class for a 20 min. class. I try the remainder of that time convincing him to go back or play outside with the other kids that don't have class. We will eventuality get Social detective to try to help him more. When we move he'll try boyscout and a new bowling league.
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  #4  
March 15th, 2010, 07:57 AM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The Lonestar State
Posts: 50,214
Welcome! My son has very mild issues (sensory processing disorder, possibly mild dyslexia, etc.), but nothing that would pose much of a problem, so I can't really address your question. I'm glad they've been able to, though. There are a lot of resources available to homeschoolers. That, I know for sure.
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  #5  
March 15th, 2010, 05:17 PM
dalynnrmc's Avatar pronounced (day-lynn)
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: near Waco, TX
Posts: 3,305
Hi there and welcome!

First let me say that I know Sandra personally and she is an EXCELLENT resource for special needs homeschooling. She deals with quite a bit and does fantastically - pick her brain as much as you can!!


And now I'll pipe up with my own story. None of my children have an official diagnosis either, but I'm quite sure that my oldest (11 next week) deals with Asperger's, and suspect some form of High Functioning Autism in my other boys as well. I've come to suspect that my middle son would be slapped with an ADHD label if in public school, as it appears more and more as he gets older that he does exhibit a lot of those tendencies. All mild, but all textbook.

My oldest was in public school from pk-1st grade - a total of three years. Issues surrounding what I knew then only as a social issue (and what everyone around me said was behavioral, which I knew was NOT the case) are WHY I pulled my son.

Let me tell you - they DO NOT teach socialization in the school system. They throw you to the sharks and wait for you to sink or swim - and don't really care which. There's another thread floating around here by a lady who is also considering starting to hs, and there are a lot of "socialization" tips on that thread.

But as the mother of an AS child, let me say - those things don't always work the same with our children. In fact, with an AS or HFA diagnosis, many doctors who have a clue will *suggest* homeschooling. (And forgive me, but I haven't read your story yet. I promise to do so after dinner! ) Scouting has been an excellent resource for our family, and, one thing at a time, we've added in other things as our schedule permits. Some things that have worked for us include AWANA, karate, tennis, individual classes with other homeschoolers. We have tried a co-op and didn't do great with it, but will continue searching for one that fits our needs both academically and socially.


Bringing my son home has allowed me to get to know him better, to understand better how his mind works, and to be able to work with him through situations which may have otherwise turned disastrous. He's still learning, still has meltdowns from time to time, but this is a totally different child than when he was 4 years old and did nothing but scream. (Oh, and watch the same tv show over and over, so that when he finally started talking, repeated phrases from those tv shows was the only vocabulary we could understand. LOL) Most people around us don't have a clue that he deals with these issues, and if and when he has a meltdown in front of them they are totally taken aback -- and often think he's throwing a behavioral fit. It's not something I go around talking about or advertising - like I said, we don't even have an official dx - and if an incident occurs I often find myself explaining that we haven't had to deal with that sort of symptom in a long time. (That's usually enough to clue people in that something more than meets the eye is going on, and really I don't get many questions. If I do, I gladly answer them and help people understand as it's all about awareness, but a large portion of it for us at this time is making sure my son is comfortable in his own skin and I don't like to talk about those things within his earshot.)


I'm rambling.

Yes, we deal with things here, and it's actually WHY we started homeschooling. It's absolutely the BEST decision we ever made, and I understand now why it is such a better fit for my son. I get to teach him the things the school never could, along with teaching him academics on his own level (which are usually higher than the ps). It's a huge blessing in our family, and we wouldn't change it for anything.
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