Friday, July 1, 2011

Homeschooling Special Education Students

Should you home school Special Education students?

Homeschooling for Special Education students may seem the way to go when the school is calling you three times a day complaining about your child. Parents on the other hand may be calling the school three times a day trying to address problems with their child.  Today, schools and teachers are pushed further and further to meet an even grater educational challenge with shrinking resources. Teachers and students have few options today when the education process is dictated by everyone else. Many Special Education students will fail when they are competing in a classroom of 36 students.
     Huge State deficits and lower revenues make balancing state budgets a priority, but are they balanced at the expense of our students. IDEA is designed to protect Special Education students and ensure access to quality educational programs, yet today's budgetary constraints negate the quality.

How do you make a home-school successful for a special needs student?

Make sure your child has an up to date IEP. Your child's IEP is your educational road map with all your goals and objectives clearly stated. The IEP should be a collaborative process with input from everyone including the child. Schools must provide all testing free of charge under IDEA. If you are not familiar with your child's disability you must become your own expert. Learn all you can about IDEA law, even experts need to review and keep informed. Build a team to support and develop a strong IEP with high expectations. Parents will at times see the school as the adversary but they are just overwhelmed. If you are unable to find access to a good Special Education program in your area you must become your child's advocate. Special needs students have access to all the Special Education services including, speech language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy,  mobility specialist, and certified special education teachers. Testing is mandatory every three years under IDEA law to adjust and reevaluate all Special Education services. Parents may ask for testing if they see a change in the child's needs or a regression in the child's ability. Parents need to build positive working relationship with their public school to help their child develop the greatest learning outcome possible. Under IDEA law the public school is you child's greatest advocate.
     Before starting your home school it may be a good idea to get a measure of I.Q., academic levels, vision and hearing screen, behavioral evaluation, and speech language screening. Using the evaluations, academic data, and reports will help develop a strong education plan that ensures a very successful home schooling experience. Find a good education advocate to help ask informed questions and make sense of all the data generated from a IEP evaluation.

Sean Taylor M.Ed
Special Education Experience
Self-contained cross categorical Special Education teacher. Teaching, mentoring, advocating, advising, and inspiring low incidence disabilities students. Instructing and assessing students with Severe and Profound Cognitive Disabilities, Autism, Medically Fragile, Deaf and Visually Impaired, Traumatic Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, and Emotionally Disturbed. Evaluating students I.Q., administering academic measures, and planning evaluating and implementing students Individual Education Plans (IEP).

If you have any questions please feel free to email me with any questions!

My special education story.
Literacy was almost an unrealized dream. I'm Severely Dyslexic, I was unable to read, write, or decode any words as a child, p,d,b,and q were all the same letter. English was a bunch of cuneiform squiggles that swam around on the page. I was identified dyslexic at age 9 and spent the next 6 years in a special education purgatory. Many teachers assumed I would never read and passed me on without teaching me to read. I eventually learned to read all words by sight! Same method as learning Chinese. I am a reading Teacher that has built a reputation of finding odd ways to teach reading! Sean


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