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Pure Friendship for Individuals with Special Needs
Ilana Danneman
Special Education

Six Tips to make Sure Your Child Does Not Get Lost in the Classroom

It’s become quite challenging to navigate our educational system. Between specialized testing, core curriculum objectives, increased diagnosis for kids with autism and SPD and the flurry of information we ingest every day, it’s no wonder we all feel a bit lost. So do our kids. So, maybe if we take a step back, we can help our children thrive through their educational years. As a parent I have often felt that my child’s abilities were swept under the carpet while trying to help him survive tests, homework and projects. Though schoolwork is important, life skills and talents may be the much-needed fuel to helping our children get where they need and want to go. After all, motivation can go a long way. Here are 6 tips for keeping your child involved and focused in the classroom

1. Know your child

Sit down with your child and brainstorm their strengths and weaknesses. This is not age dependent. Focus on the strengths but while doing so, note areas of struggle. You may have this all in your head, but it’s great therapy to put it down on paper with your child’s input. Not only will they feel invested but they gain a sense of responsibility and awareness as well.

2. Focus on Areas of Strength

Pick out one or two areas of strength to focus in on over the next few months. Maybe it’s a musical talent, a sport, math or creative writing. Look for an outlet to help foster and grow these skills. It may be as simple as having your child help you plan and cook a meal or it may mean finding something outside of school and home to foster a particular talent.

3. Choose one weak area to improve

This will require a few minutes daily, and it will be worth every minute. Consistency is the key here and repetition. In fact consistency is more important than the amount of time. Rome wasn’t built in a day so keep at it. The first 20 days will create a habit and then you will reap the benefits of a new skill or significant improvement.

4. Meet, Meet, Meet

Set up a meeting with the teacher and anyone involved with your child to discuss areas that you are working on and how they can compliment those areas in the classroom or at school. Projects are a great place to allow your child’s abilities to shine through whether it be using a favorite topic or a talent to present with. If your child needs sensory tools, then perhaps the school can work with you to provide them.

5. Note and reward your child’s progress

Make it a big deal, but don’t over compliment or your words will seem shallow. Notice changes, improvements, accomplishments and achievements. A simple, “I noticed you are working hard, “ is much more effective than “Wow! You are so great at math.”

6. Use the summer and time off to encourage areas of talent

With school in the background, the summer is a great time to find a camp that matches your child’s skills or to pick an area your child would like to learn about. With less structure, homework and tests, your child can really thrive in a more stress-free environment. We all want to be noticed and we all want to feel worthy. Every child wants to learn. It’s our job to make sure their challenges are not allowed to become disabilities and their skills are noticed, fostered and developed. We are not raising children

WRITTEN ON April 28, 2015 BY:

Ilana Danneman