Christine A Howard

You Are The Only Teacher Your Special Needs Child Needs

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Yes! You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Child

If you are thinking that there is no way you could ever teach your special needs child, think again. I mean that in the most respectful manner possible. What you might not realize is that you are your child’s best teacher. Yes, you heard me correctly. You are the best, and here is why…

You Were Your Child’s First Teacher

Do you remember your child’s firsts? Maybe it was the first time they smiled, or the first time they rolled over. If could be the first time they learned to clap their hands, or the first time they learned to push the button on a noisy toy. Whatever those firsts happen to be, who was there teaching, cheering and encouraging that learning? That’s right! You were!

Why is it that we have no issues with teaching our children when they are little, but suddenly feel incompetent when they reach schoolage? Aren’t they the same child? And better yet, aren’t we the same too? Of course nothing has changed except the fact that our littles aren’t as little as they once were.

We are still very capable of teaching our children. We simply need to remember the skills we used to be their first teachers, and apply those skills to their current situation. Maybe you don’t know everything your child will ever need to know, but you know your child better than anyone else ever could.

No teacher can possibly know your child’s needs better than you, and for everything else there is a curriculum, a book, or an online resource to help you figure it out. Join a support group or co-op for special needs homeschools, and you would be amazed at the resources that are available to you.

You Know Them Better Than Anyone

As I mentioned, you know your child the best. You know when they need a break, what gets them excited, and what it takes for them to learn a new skill. Afterall, wasn’t it you that taught them all those firsts we just talked about?

Use that knowledge to create a program designed for your child. Is your child in love with a particular topic? Use that topic to teach your child what he or she needs to know. Is your child in love with music? Make sure to incorporate music into your child’s learning. Sing songs and create pnumonics to help your child retain information.

Since you know your child best, you can use that knowledge to develop a program that fits your child. The best a brick-and-mortar school can hope to offer is accomodations. They will take a cookie cutter curriculum and morph it into something your child can kind of be successful with. Let’s face it! There are way to many kids in brick-and-mortar schools today for any real one-on-one interactions to happen.

You Are The Only Teacher Your Special Needs Child Needs

Your Child’s Education Cannot Be Individualized In A Group Setting Like School

IEPs are a myth, if you really want to get honest. Yes, the goal is to ensure that every child has in individualized plan. The reality is that those goals very rarely ever emerge off of that paper and into any real classroom experiences. It’s not practical, nor is it even completely possible for this conversion to take place.

Today, more than any other time in history our education system is not just failing the special needs community, it is failing the regular education system as well. Class sizes are way too big, teachers don’t have budgets, and entire administrations care more about money and test scores than making sure actual real learning is taking place.

Yes, IEPs are legal documents, so they should be carried out as written. Trust me, they aren’t – not entirely. And this is not because teachers aren’t trying, but because of all the reasons I listed earlier. You have one advantage the brick-and-mortar teachers don’t.

Let’s be honest. You don’t have the same restrictions classroom teachers encounter. Your class size is small, you have the say in the size of your school budget, and you care about much more than just test scores and money. That alone makes you the best option to teach your child.

Your Child Is Comfortable With You

With all of this asside, we come to the most important reason you are your child’s best teacher. Your child is comfortable with you. School can be a very unsafe place for a child with special needs. They face bullying, long waits for services, and being removed from critical instruction time to recieve specialized services.

At home, they are safe. Everything is built just for them, so everything works. No need to lose out on important instruction to go to speech or OT. Instead, these things are worked around instruction. Bullying isn’t as prevelant, as you get to decide who is around your child.

When kids feel safe, they learn so much better. If a person is stressed, it activates the fight and flight response and increases cortisol production. Both of these things are great if you are being attached by a bear, but not so great for learning.

If your child’s learning environment does not feel safe, he or she is almost incapable of learning any new material. This combined with any learning disorders or disabilities can literally cripple your child’s ability to function in school. At home, these stressors can be virtually illiminated or at the very least be greatly reduced.

You Are The Only Teacher Your Special Needs Child Needs

By The Way, Did You Know You’re The Best?

Since you have found your way to the end of this post, I hope that means that you are beginning to see that you really are the best option for your special needs child. You got this, even if you don’t feel like it. And believe me when I say, there are tons of resources, support groups and co-ops to help you and your child in this journey.

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Make sure to check out the other posts from these other great blogs. I am positive that you won’t be disappointed.

Abby @ Making Room 4 One More – Time Management for Homeschool Moms 
Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool – 5 Days of Homeschool Questions
Amy @ the WRITE Balance – Year-Round Schooling
Annette @ A Net in Time – Homeschooling
Betty @ Lets Get Real – Homeschooling High School
Cassandra @ My Blessed Mess – Eclectic Homeschooling

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1 thought on “You Are The Only Teacher Your Special Needs Child Needs

  1. I love your post. It is so sad that as parents we get this image that we can’t teach our children.

    I was a teacher and found it so overwhelming to try and follow all the IEPs and often found little to no help. And you are right about class size…too many kids and too little time.

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