When parents first learn their children have special needs or fall under the category of Special Education, it can be devastating. Once reality has settled in and parents have had time to grieve and accept the situation, it’s important they known their rights.
Under state and federal laws special education students are guaranteed certain in-school services. Parents should served as advocates for their children, being proactive and taking needed steps for ensuring their special needs kids receive the appropriate services.
Parents and Their Special Needs Children’s IEEs
Parents have the right to receive an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) for their special needs children for determining the type of special education program best suited for them. Typically, an IEE is done outside of a school system. Although parents can’t decide if a child qualifies for an IEP (Individual Educational Program), they can participate in the development of such as program.
Tips for Helping Special Needs Kids With Homework
Homework can be even more challenging for special needs kids, as well as for their parents.
- Help children with organizational skills. In addition to having an assignment notebook, parents of special education students need to help their kids organize their backpacks, books, notebooks and school supplies.
- Designate a homework zone. Don’t allow children to do homework in a different spot each day. Instead, set aside a space that’s designed only for doing homework and studying.
- Minimize distractions. Children with special needs are usually more unfocused than other kids so it’s important to get rid of distractions. Take the phone off the hook, turn off the television and eliminate other factors that are likely to interrupt a child’s attention.
- Work with teachers. Don’t depend solely on the child to know assignments, but regularly check with teachers and any internet information regarding the child’s daily homework. It’s also important parents are on the same page as teachers and not go overboard in overindulging them as sometimes parents of special needs children make too many allowances for inappropriate behavior.
- Be adaptable. Although getting homework done is important, sometimes it’s necessary to take into consideration outside factors that may hinder the child from doing his assignments. Also, ensure the homework is adjusted to the child’s needs. Usually, adjustments are made by special education teachers, but if it isn’t done, parents need to stand up for their kids.
Diet, Sleep, and Exercise for Special Needs Kids
A well balanced diet is vital for any child and is especially important for a special needs kid. Start teaching the child how to make healthy food choices by avoiding foods loaded with sugar, starch and salt early.
Sleep is imperative for academic success because when a child is tired it’s even harder to focus and learn. Sleep schedules, including bedtimes and wake-up times should be reasonable and consistent.
Exercise is important. Often exercise is an excellent prescription for children with learning disabilities as it helps them unwind and focus better in class. Besides ensuring the child gets plenty of exercise at home, parents should also check with the child’s teacher to make sure he’s included in an exercise program adapted to his needs.
Most of all, school success is important, but what’s more important is a child living a full and happy life. A parent’s continual encouragement, love and support can make all the different in a special needs child feeling confident enough to tackle new challenges and overcome each roadblock standing in the way of continued success.
Two things that don’t seem to go together very well: self care and special needs parenting. I know moms who seem to do self care well but unfortunately I am not one of them. I was sitting at our therapy waiting room reading a book and I happened to laugh out loud (Jen Hatmaker’s new book For The Love was the culprit) attracting curious looks.
It started a conversation about how little time moms of children of medical/special needs have to themselves. I don’t read books except when I am in waiting room. “I don’t take good care of myself” one mom confessed. We all nodded in agreement.
This month my husband and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. That prompted a time a reflection and needed changes in many areas of our lives. Self care rose to the top as we want to be able to give our children present, energetic parents. An empty cup has nothing to pour into others.
We are not able to go on long overnight trips, but we decided to do a short getaway. No distractions, no schedule and just time together. It will be marvelous! I feel like if I don’t plan it, it will never happen. So more things will be planned and scheduled. I hope this will be a start of intentional self care.