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Preparing for a New School Year: How to Help your Special Needs Child with School

Written by Cristine R. Jimenez, Language Stimulation Specialist


The new school year is just around the corner and its time to start thinking about the many ways you can help your children have an excellent academic school year. Having a child with special needs is not an easy task; especially during the school year. School brings stress and discomfort for many families especially when they feel their child is not learning. Going to school alone is not enough; your children need your love, support, and help in order to succeed.

No matter what age, grade, or gender your child is, these tips are sure to improve grades, and advocate to better learning!

Set up a positive study area in your home- rather than allowing your child to study in front of the television, set up an area designated for quiet study time. A great place is the kitchen table where you can supervise your child without disrupting. Special needs children need their complete and undivided attention on a specific task in order to understand it. Take away any distractions that may be in the way. Siblings should also sit down and do their homework as well. This will show your child that homework is for everyone.

Reading- set up a special time of the day dedicated to only reading. Reading is an extremely important skill for children to attain. When reading, make sure you interact with him/her so that you may know how their comprehension is. Reading comprehension is more important than being able to sound out the words; if your child cannot understand the subject matter, what use does reading have?

Math- is one of the most difficult subjects for children to understand. Since everything in math is pretty abstract, children will have a hard time grasping it. The best way to teach math is by showing them what it looks like, and using examples.

Fun idea for small children- to teach your child addition and subtraction, try using M&M’s (or other small treat, like cheerios). Basically you are going to set up 10 M&M’s and ask the child to count them. Then on a piece of paper you are going to write addition and subtraction equations. Next to each number you will ask your child to place the corresponding amount of M&M’s. You teach the concept of addition by adding all the candies together, and for subtraction you should the concept of taking away. You can spoil your child by telling them to eat the subtracted numbers! The idea is to eventually have them draw circles on their own, and hopefully in the future be able to do it without any visual aid!

Be the teacher- while your child is doing homework, sit down and help them study. This will show them your interest as well as your wealth of knowledge. They will not be afraid to come up to you and ask you questions. If your child has a test, be sure to quiz them. Also, make sure you get creative. Creativity is key; if studying is boring, then they will look at it as being a chore and not want to do it. If you make studying and homework fun, your child is more prone to wanting to do so.

Pre-exam jitters- testing is always scary. The day before an exam make sure you keep your child as calm as possible. You do not want to stress them out because stress will inhibit their ability. On that day, you want to go over the material with them and make sure they are ready for their assessment. Say positive remarks and encourage them to do well on their exam. Remember, if they do not pass the exam, do not discourage them. Assure them that next time they will do better!

Keep these five tips a routine for studying and homework. It will definitely help your children in the long run. The more involved you are in their academia, the better it will be. As they get older, they will become more independent have thrive on keeping these study habits. The more involved you are, the more likely they are to come ask for you help.

I hope everyone has an awesome school year!

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