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"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge
the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." ~Proverbs 24:3-4

Homeschooling Special Needs
& Learning Disabilities

“Whether we can walk or not, whether we can sing or not, whether we can create great works of art or simply manage play-dough, whether we can solve complicated mathematical equations or not, whether we can obtain our Ph.D., or merely complete vocational training, our value is still the same….Be certain that in the eyes of our Maker, we are equally precious and valuable.” ~Author Unknown

Special needs is a general term referring to certain medical, mental, emotional, behavioral, or educational requirements in a child for which extra attention and assistance is necessary and critical to their development. These include a wide range of diagnoses, from genetic abnormalities and physical disabilities to mental impairments, emotional problems, and learning disorders such as ADD/ADHD. Giftedness can also be considered a special need. In fact, many gifted children are misdiagnosed as ADD/ADHD. More and more parents are realizing that homeschooling is a great option for children with special needs.

Everyone is an individual, and even if the child has been labeled as having a special need, it does not mean that his or her particular needs will be exactly the same as others with the same condition. Many parents homeschool their special needs children because they feel the personalized instruction and loving attention they can provide is better for their child than the “cookie cutter” approach of an institutionalized group setting. In any case, a label should not be allowed to mask the unique abilities and talents that a child does have. Focus on what he or she can do, not what he or she can’t do.

The traditional classroom environment may actually contribute to children’s learning difficulties. Many children who are labeled as being learning disabled in school turn out not to be disabled once they begin homeschooling. Perhaps the child was simply not yet ready to read, or did not follow the expected timetable, or does not learn in the usual way, or does not thrive in a group or classroom setting. The one-on-one instruction provided by a caring parent may be just what they need to reach their full potential. Homeschooling allows parents to tailor learning experiences to precisely fit their child’s special needs, whatever they may be.

Recommended Books

  • Awakening Your Child's Natural Genius, by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D.
  • Choosing and Using Curriculum for Your Special Child, by Joyce Herzog.
  • Christian Homes And Special Kids, by Sherry Bushnell and Diane Ryckman.
  • Creative Home Schooling for Gifted Children, by Lisa Rivero.
  • Gifted Children At Home by Janice Baker, Kathleen Julicher and Maggie Hogan.
  • God's Special Child, by Donna and Ellis Adee.
  • Homeschooling The Challenging Child, by Christine M. Field.
  • Homeschooling Children with Special Needs, by Sharon Hensley.
  • Homeschooling the Child with ADD (or Other Special Needs), by Lenore C. Hayes.
  • How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and on to Learning, by Carol Barnier.
  • How to Identify Your Child's Learning Problems and What to Do About Them: A Practical Guide for Parents, by Duane A. Gagnon.
  • In Their Own Way, by Thomas Armstrong.
  • Learning in Spite of Labels, by Joyce Herzog.
  • The Gift of Dyslexia: Why Some of the Smartest People Can't Read and How They Can Learn, by Ronald Davis.
  • The Myth of the A.D.D. Child, by Thomas Armstrong.
  • The Way They Learn, by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. (Includes a chapter on the difference between learning style and learning disability.)
  • You Will Dream New Dreams, by Stanley D. Klein. (Inspiring Personal Stories by parents of children with disabilities: cerebral palsy, juvenile diabetes, autism, mental retardation, and a host of other life-altering chronic conditions and injuries. Their messages resound with courage, encouragement, and hope.)

    Recommended Websites - National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network, whose purpose is to encourage homeschooling families with special needs children and provide resources that equip parents to confidently raise their children with special needs or disabilities. - Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner guide from HSLDA offers information and resources for parents who are homeschooling children whose special needs range from ADD to severe multiple handicaps. - Ten steps to successfully homeschool children with special needs. - The website of Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D., a psychologist and educator. Read his articles on multiple intelligences, the natural genius of children, and the myth of ADD. “My work as an educator and psychologist in the fields of multiple intelligences, the myth of ADD/ADHD, and the natural genius of kids, has been guided by a belief that all children are gifted children. Each child comes into the world with unique potentials that, if properly nourished, can contribute to the betterment of our world. The biggest challenge for parents and teachers is to remove the roadblocks that keep those gifts from being recognized, celebrated, and nurtured.” - Daniel J. Vance and his wife are raising and homeschooling an 11-year-old daughter with spina bifida and a 10-year-old son. His self-syndicated weekly newspaper column, "Disabilities," has been published in more than 190 newspapers. If it isn’t in your local newspaper, you can receive it free each week via email by request or you can read the column on his website. - Special Kids... Special Needs. Despite the label, a child is a child first and foremost. - Learning Disabled or Not; includes famous learning disabled people, quotations, and resources. - A support site designed to provide families with information, curriculum resources, and tools to help you teach gifted children with learning disabilities at home. - “Many parents that I know who have children with a LD (Learning Disabled) label have been studying about the situation on their own and doing what they can in the hours that their child is at home. Many of them are burning out and asking "Why not homeschool?" Why not indeed? Many of them already are spending hours facilitating their child's education. So it's pretty natural to finally decide to bring their kids home.” - The Bible’s Way to Victory Over ADHD and Other Childhood Challenges. A free online book on preventing and overcoming behavioral, emotional and learning problems including ADD, ADHD, ODD, Conduct Disorder and Tourette's Syndrome. - Gifted or ADD? - Learning Disabled and Gifted: a Homeschool Perspective. - Homeschooling the ADHD child. - Homeschooling the gifted child. - Characteristics of Gifted Children. - Characteristics and Behaviors of the Gifted. - Strategies for Teaching the Gifted Child. - Gifted but Learning Disabled. - Gifted Children with Learning Disabilities. - An online book store that specializes in books, videos, DVDs and related items about disabilities and special needs. - A publisher specializing in books about children with special needs.

    See also: Learning Styles


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