As special education teachers, we understand the unique challenges that parents of disabled children face in supporting their child’s education at home. Helping parents by providing resources and guidance to help their child at home can make a world of difference.
In this blog post, we will explore strategies and resources that special education teachers can include in a handout to help parents support their disabled children’s learning at home.
Understanding the Individualized Education Program (IEP)
The first step in supporting parents is to ensure they have a clear understanding of their child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). In the handout, special educators should include.
- A brief explanation of what an IEP is and its importance in guiding the child’s education.
- Step-by-step instructions on how to review and interpret the IEP document.
- Suggestions for parents on how to align their at-home learning activities with the goals and objectives outlined in the IEP.
- A list of common special ed acronyms and phrases that are important for them to understand.
Creating a Structured Learning Environment
A structured learning environment is essential for children with disabilities. In this section, provide parents with practical tips on how to create such an environment at home.
- Recommend designating a specific area in the house as a dedicated learning space.
- Encourage parents to establish a consistent daily routine that includes set times for learning activities.
- Suggest organizing materials and resources in a way that is easily accessible for both the child and the parent.
Utilizing Educational Technology
Technology can be a powerful tool for supporting children with disabilities. Helping parents by providing them with a list of educational websites, apps, and software that can assist their child’s learning is so beneficial.
- Include links to reputable educational websites that offer interactive activities and instructional videos specifically designed for children with disabilities.
- Recommend educational apps that target specific skills such as communication, social-emotional development, math, or reading.
- Provide information on assistive technology devices, such as speech-to-text software or text-to-speech tools, that can enhance learning opportunities.
Engaging in Sensory Activities
Sensory activities play a crucial role in the development of children with disabilities. Offer parents a range of sensory activities they can incorporate into their at-home learning routine.
- Encourage sensory play with materials such as sand, water, or sensory bins filled with different textures.
- Suggest creating a sensory corner with items like bean bags, weighted blankets, soft lighting, an indoor swing, or fidget toys.
- Provide links to YouTube videos demonstrating sensory-based activities that parents can easily replicate at home.
Supporting Communication and Social Skills
Communication and social skills are vital for children with disabilities. Offer parents strategies to support their child’s communication and social development.
- Recommend using visual supports such as picture schedules, visual cue cards, visual chore charts, or communication boards.
- Suggest engaging in turn-taking games or role-playing scenarios that encourage social interaction.
- Share links to YouTube channels or online resources that provide guidance on fostering communication and social skills development.
Collaborating with Therapists and Specialists
Collaboration between parents, special educators, therapists, and specialists is essential for holistic support. Provide guidance on how parents can effectively collaborate with these professionals.
- Advise parents to maintain open lines of communication with therapists and specialists to discuss progress and address any concerns.
- Encourage parents to share relevant information from therapy sessions or specialist appointments with the special education team. It can often provide the team with great insight.
- Suggest scheduling regular virtual meetings or phone calls to ensure school and home are both working towards common goals.
Helping Parent by Encouraging Self-Care
Taking care of oneself is crucial for parents supporting their disabled children’s learning at home. It’s often overlooked, but by including it in a handout for parents, it shows that you are aware of the energy and sacrifices required of caregivers. Offer suggestions for self-care activities.
- Encourage parents to take breaks and engage in activities they enjoy.
- Recommend seeking support from support groups or online communities for parents of disabled children.
- Provide links to online resources or groups that offer tips on stress management and self-care for parents.
By providing parents with a comprehensive handout that includes information on understanding the IEP, creating a structured learning environment, utilizing educational technology, engaging in sensory activities, supporting communication and social skills, collaborating with therapists, and encouraging self-care, special educators can empower parents to effectively support their disabled children’s learning at home. Together, we can ensure that every child receives the quality education they deserve, regardless of their abilities.