Challenged Learners


Are you one of those parents home schooling a “challenged” learner? There’s plenty of material out there for you! Whether the challenge is one of attention span or a debilitating disease, there are resources for teaching at home. For an in-house guide, try the book Negotiating the Special Education Maze: A Guide for Parents and Teachers. Authors Anderson, Chitwood, and Hayden give particular attention to materials for teaching the challenged child.  I have also found the web site and to have links to many helpful resources. Special children with severe needs must be started as early as possible in the educational realm. I recently found a book for teaching reading to Down’s Syndrome children. Author Patricia Oelwein has researched her methods in homes and schools across the nation since 1972. Her approach gives parents the necessary tools for teaching the child at home, but also gives guidelines for parental supervision of the classroom methods. Publications I like for children with other learning problems include How to Get Your Child off the Refrigerator and on to Learning by Barnier, God’s Special Child by Adee, and the magazine Exceptional Parent. If your special needs child will attend a formal classroom, take special care when setting up the Individualized Education Program (referred to by most as IEP). This is the “plan” of what your child will study and at what academic level,  where each learning mode will take place (regular classroom, special ed room, a resource room), and how often your child will be mainstreamed—an important integral, especially for social development. The IEP probably will also include choices for the parent to make of teachers, optional classes, and extra-curricular activities. Pay careful attention to how this plan is set up by your school. Once the plan is drawn and agreed upon, changing it may be difficult.