Essential Educational Tips for Parents Raising Special Needs Kids
Parenting isn't easy at the best of times and having a child with a disability creates new challenges that the majority of parents could never imagine facing. This is especially true when it comes to education. There's a lot of pressure to succeed and a lot of steps that have to be taken in order to make this experience positive for everybody involved.
To get you started and to make sure this is a positive experience, here are a few essential tips that you'll need to know.
There's nothing more stressful for a parent, or a child, when you or a teacher are unorganized and end up causing a fuss over something, such as finding the right book or being late for a meeting with the school, etc.
One of the most beneficial things you can do is get organised, get all the materials that you're going to need, all the books and notebooks so everything is always set up and ready to go at a moment's notice.
Develop a Learning System
Depending on your child's disability, it may help to use a coded colour system to help with learning, even when it comes down to the little things like pens, pencils and books. For example, English could be blue; math could be red and science could be green.
Create a system that's organised and that remains consistent so your child can pick it up over time. They'll be a lot less stress when everybody knows what's going on and when.
Break Up the Day
Attention spans can be short, and children can become easily distracted at the best of times. The best way to keep your child's education on track is to break up the day into easier digestible chunks. You'll know your child better than anybody else, so you'll know what's appropriate.
Naomi Brown, an educator for 1Day2Write, states, "Breaking up your day can help everybody to know what happens when. This technique can also be applied long-term to things like long-term assignments. Break these up into small, manageable segments and your child will able to understand a lot easier."
Use Tools to Improve Education
Thanks to modern day technology, the traditional methods of teaching can go out of the window. This is because certain tasks or learning resources have become increasingly accessible via the internet. Here is a selection of tools that can help you make the learning experience better and more positive.
Very Well: A professional online quiz for defining if or what sort of disability your child has so you can see what changes need to be made.
Librivox: An online library full of free books, read by volunteers, for children with reading disabilities.
Wordcounter: A tool for tracking word counts, great for setting writing goals.
Citationmachine: An online tool that can help to format citations and quotes into an easy-to-read format.
Book Share: A comprehensive online library that provides books to children with learning difficulties.
Double Check Everything
Make sure to teach your children about the benefits of double-checking their work. Go through your child's school work with them to highlight any errors or mistakes that they've made.
Instead of just providing them with negative feedback, be sure to go through what mistake they made and why they feel like they made that mistake in the first place.
Work with the Schools
It's easy for a parent to get frustrated with the schools that their children go to. However, it's important that you put yourself in the teacher's position and see why they do the things that they do. Of course, some teachers are going to be bad, but the large majority will also have the best intentions.
If your child's education is suffering or there's a problem, set up meetings with the school to see what you can do to make things better. Sometimes, just a little bit of two-way communication can go a long, long way.
Create a Routine
For a child with a learning disability, having a set routine can be one of the most beneficial things you can set out to create. A set routine, over time, will become a habit, and therefore your child won't feel stressed out when it comes to changing the subject or starting a new day because they'll know exactly what's to come.
Of course, some days they may forget, and you'll just have to remind them gently but certain "life" aspects, such as waking up at the same time and going to bed at the same time can be hugely beneficial.
On top of your child's education, it's important that you place just as much focus on you and your child's own health. This means having proper meal times where you'll eat proper food, such as fruit and vegetables and a little bit of meat. Try to avoid processed foods where possible. Also, try and exercise where possible and match the exercise to your child's capabilities.
This is by far the most important aspect to remember. At the end of the day, you need to remember that you're a family and although you're the parent or guardian, it's vital that you put your family's happiness first.
Enjoying spending time with your children, go for days out and sit and watch films together. Encourage and make opportunities for your children to make friends with other children. Don't make life all about work and always try to remain as positive as possible.
Look After Yourself
Of course, looking after a child with a learning disability is hard work, and it can be quite time-consuming. However, you must remember to look after your own health otherwise you won't be able to give the best care to your children.
Make sure you have time to yourself and spend time with your partner. Make time to read a book, watch a television series, write and see your friends. If you're not happy, how can you expect your children to be?
About the author:
Sherie Raymond is a personal development writer and editor at Academicbrits and Originwritings. She regularly writes articles for online psychological magazines and blogs and practices yoga in her free time.
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