Homeschooling has many benefits for all children, but especially those with special needs. Sometimes, the schools in the area don’t have the finances to provide decent services to accommodate the children they have in the district. When this happens, the parent has to weigh out the benefits of fighting the school system, or doing what it takes to help their child. It’s not an easy decision, but one that is well worth the work if the parent is committed.
Fewer distractions from sensory dysfunction
Several of the special needs common to children are affected by sensory dysfunction. Autism is one of the main disorders that makes a child deal with improper processing of the information gathered by the senses. A child with sensory problems can become easily distracted by the colors of the clothes his peers are wearing, or may focus on voices that are too high-pitched. She may actually hear the buzzing of the fluorescent lighting so loudly she can’t hear anything else. Being around so many kids can cause a feeling of panic. All these things can distract a child from learning, causing his grades to slip and lead to behavioral problems that keep her in trouble.
In a home setting, those distractions automatically diminish. The child is in a familar setting that more than likely has already been altered to his needs. Without all the stress, he can focus on what is being taught. Not only is this more beneficial academically, it’s a boost to his self-confidence as he realizes he is capable of learning, just like his peers.
Lessons can be tailored
At school, the push is to keep everyone moving at the same speed. It’s unrealistic to expect one teacher to be able to work with 30 students, all at different paces. This creates the problem where some students get pushed ahead who aren’t ready, and some are forced to stop and wait for others to catch up. This can lead to behavioral problems because they are bored.
At home, Mom isn’t under that pressure. Even if there are other children in the home it’s still easier to tailor learning to the individual needs of a child. This takes the pressure off of the mother or father as well as the child. This is crucial to a child with special needs who may be above grade level in one subject, but behind in two others. They can spend the time they need to really grasp a concept, which leads to better retention and instills a love for learning.
The biggest myth about homeschooling is that the children don’t learn how to properly socialize. This is even more controversial in regards to children with special needs, who typically lack social skills. However, social skills often increase when a child is at home compared to when they are in school.
In school, children with special needs are not actually taught the nuts and bolts of how to properly socialize. It’s expected that, if they are with other children they will naturally pick up social skills. This is farthest from the truth for most children. They can learn to mimic what their friends do, but they have to be taught repeatedly to understand why things are done. They may copy someone who playfully nudges her friend, but won’t understand it wasn’t done out of anger. Reading social cues is another major deficit that goes along with several types of special needs, and can’t be ignored.
For a home-schooled child with special needs, it is typical to be out and about in the community where interaction with people of all ages occurs. This helps her understand how to relate to people of all ages, which prepares her for life. She can be taught how to read social cues and act appropriately through smaller, less intimidating play groups. As she is able to function more and more in smaller groups, she can consider organized sports or groups for young girls. It gives her the opportunity to advance at her pace, based on her level of understanding.
More time for other things
A child who is taught one on one does not need six hours a day to learn. Typically, depending on the grade, school at home is accomplished within 2 to 4 hours a day. This also varies depending on how much time needs to be devoted to the needs of the child. This frees up a big portion of the day to take the child to therapy appointments and doctor visits. Visits to the library or field trips that get them out into the community to act as social and sensory therapy can be accomplished without rushing.
A child is who less stressed and understands his work is much happier, which means fewer meltdowns. He is allowed to be flexible throughout the day to handle whatever his unique form of special needs throws at him and he is allowed to be himself without being forced into a mold. This setting actually creates an environment where kids with special needs excel. Not every child with get to a given point at the same time, some may take years before progress is seen. Eventually, they catch on and pass limitations that previously had been given to them.