Homeschooling a Child with Special Challenges
Homeschooling a child with special needs may seem daunting. We might be lead to believe that psychologists, school administrators, and others have all the answers. Is it possible to homeschool a child with special challenges? Might that child even flourish?
In this section three moms who have found their own solutions to special education challenges share some helpful advice. You will also find some helpful books, periodicals, and other resources.
Homeschooling a child with disabilities, special circumstances, unique characteristics, different learning styles, or whatever one wishes to call an unusual challenge, can be done. Many families find that no one 'recipe' stays successful, and that midcourse corrections are the order of the day. Finding resources can be exciting, yet frustrating, because what is true today may NOT be true tomorrow, or in a different part of the state!
The situation regarding special education in California is in a constant state of change. Most districts are interpreting the law to mean that if the local school district is offering an 'appropriate special education program' for your child in the public school, but you choose to send your child to a private school or to homeschool outside the public system, the district is relieved of any further responsibility to serve the child's special education needs. This could mean some families might wish to continue in an established relationship with a district speech therapist, for example, but be denied that service. However, in some cases personal appeals to the district for an exception have been successful. Establishing a cordial relationship with a Special Ed representative as early as possible may facilitate future goals. Keeping a record of all contacts will be very important. It is as yet unclear how homeschoolers will be impacted, if at all, by changes in Special Ed policies, but some districts seem more amenable to performing special ed services on what they call a 'consulting basis' for homeschooling families.
The Internet provides many chances to compare notes, find families with similar problems, and generally get support outside the school district. Wellness sites like Healthcentral.com have pages with basic information on many conditions, and ideas for further research. A fine magazine is Exceptional Parent, which addresses many rare conditions and has discussed homeschooling as one of the answers for many families.
If a child is permanently blind, one can make plans based on that. But when a child's situation never stays the same for any period of time, planning becomes more complex. Along with that comes the evolution inherent in different developmental stages. Adjusting to the constant change can be exhausting. Please contact me directly at email@example.com or (925) 455-0465 if you have questions about the California policies or need individual help.
Reprinted with the permission of the HomeSchool Association of California. © 2007–2008 by HomeSchool Association of California. All rights reserved.
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