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Helping Your Special Needs Child

By a Parent

If your child has special needs then there are many ways to help them learn, on top of what their school will do. This applies whether it’s a mainstream school, a special school, or a combination of teaching methods. The school will appreciate any help it can have, as will your child. My kids both have special needs to I speak from experience, I also volunteered at their special schools. All too often parents and carers left the education to the schools and did little or nothing themselves for their children.

Most schools will send things home for your children to do, basic homework such as a reading book. If they don’t, you can request things or can find out what you child is learning and get resources yourself. Helping them with a book or practising writing can do a world of good for them, even if only for a few minutes a day. Many special needs children learn by repetition so doing things again that they already did that day will help them rather than hinder. Writing their name many times for example, practising saying certain words is another example.

While mainstream schools will get children to learn by writing down information and learning from it, this won’t be possible for a child with learning difficulties. The best way for them to learn is to learn from experience and physical interactions. To learn about a famous person from history telling them when they were born and died will be pointless. The best way is to take the child to where the person lived and to try and spend time there. Show them the actual rooms they lived in and where they spent their time, this will be easier to remember and understand. Although they lived in a different time, they will have lived with some similarities to the child and so they will take it in more.

Another trick is to try and teach your child when they don’t know it’s happening. Playing educational games can be fun and educational as well. Anything from counting cars on a road trip through to playing educational computer games can help. Playing computer games can be much more beneficial then you may think. You can learn information to start with, you can explore historical events and locations as well. Actually, playing can be useful as well as it helps hand to eye coordination as well as visual processing of information.

With Christmas approaching, there is another game I played every year with my kids that gave them help with colours, counting, and fresh air. It also gave a degree of competition and direction finding. Once Christmas decorations are put up on houses around your area, you can play the game. Before you go out write down a random list made up of left, right, and straight on. You then need to decide who has which side of the roads you walk along and you can begin. Go out and follow the directions, count the homes with decorations and see who has the most at the end. This is a simple game which can be fun. You could offer bonus points for certain colours in the decorations as an incentive to see the different decorations.

Having your child diagnosed with any educational delay can be distressing but you can help your child to reach their personal best. Work with them and the school, also research their diagnosed condition if they have one. It will help you to help them if you understand it better. Often repeating and backing up what school has said will be all they need. Every child has potential but some need a little more help.

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