Educating Special Needs Kids
Anyone who has a special needs child knows the joys and heartache they bring. This is especially true when it comes to education, which is one of the biggest responsibilities we have as parents. By the very term special needs we can see that these kids also have special requirements when it comes to education. Traditional classroom methods just are not appropriate. Most educators recognize this and have developed IEPs(Individualized Education Programs)to give these kids the specific help the need.
Homeschooling, by its very nature, is about giving each child the specific or special help they need. When education happens at home, one on one, parents learn through trial and error exactly how each child learns. Home educators have the flexibility to change anything that does not appear to be working, such as curriculum, manipulatives, time of day, medicine and/or food. In most public schools if a parent wants to change an IEP they must go before a board and receive approval. This often takes weeks or months. Obviously the parent's lack of control over the IEP can hinder the child's education process.
There are benefits to placing your special needs child in a school. These schools have access to resources and professionals. They also allow the parents a much needed break from being the only care giver. This being said, parents are required to stay involved and after school, work at home with the child based on the current IEP. So there is still a huge commitment to placing a special needs child in school.
Many people find a combination works best for them. If your local school district allows it, you can homeschool and still have access to the public school resources. This is a delicate balance and parents who chose this should be aware of their rights should the school district find what they deem a "problem". In a perfect world this availability of the school's resources would be a win-win situation for the special needs child and their families.
In the end homeschooling is probably the best choice for special needs kids. They can learn at their pace, education is built around doctors appointments not interrupted by it. The IEP can be modified by the parent/teacher at anytime to adapt to the child’s changing needs. Education flows naturally out of love for the child. The decision to homeschool must be carefully thought out for anyone, but especially for the family with a special needs child. It requires a great amount of work and commitment to be the main educator for your special needs child but in the end it reaps the most reward.