Learning Disabilities and Accommodations at Home


Although all disabilities look slightly different in each child, the common thread among management of disabilities is that we accommodate the weaknesses that arise through positive support and additional time.


Below are some helpful tips to accommodate your child with learning disabilities when home-schooling:


SET A SCHEDULE


Schedules can reduce anxiety and stress for your child by promoting good habits and proper routines.


First, you need to make a new routine. You convey to your children that they are going to get up and get ready for school, just like we always have, even though we are doing it at home.


After breakfast and getting dressed, go and do school work and homework. Have lunch and then after lunch get some exercise by going for a walk. I advise working on the schoolwork in the morning when the child is fresh. Then tell them, ‘we are going to have lunch together, and then we can do a board game or a puzzle. We will take a walk or do some other exercise.’ And then he or she can have one hour of downtime on a device where the child gets to pick what he wants to watch. Just one hour a day.


ALLOCATE TIME BASED ON YOUR CHILD


Consider your child’s individual needs. How much time should they spend on academic and non-academic tasks? Add time for movement breaks, play, meals, etc. When possible, provide flexibility and choice. For example, you may have daily free reading or math-game times where your children can choose their activity. “Choice and voice” is a strategy often used by teachers when developing classroom schedules.


CHUNK IT


Just because a adult can handle an assignment whole does not mean a child can


Try the 60/40 rule or “chunking” of work. Don’t give one big assignment or chore all at once. Start with 60% of something and then allow break/movement, even if it’s cleaning rooms start with making bed then have a snack, pick up toys, etc..


BRAIN BREAKS


Brain Breaks are short, energizing bursts of activity that boost blood flow, and send oxygen to the brain. They help restore the emotional state needed to return the brain from overdrive into the optimal state for successful information flow.


When students’ brains become anxious, highly confused, or overwhelmed, the brain  surges until it stops. New learning no longer passes through to reach the prefrontal cortex and sustain memory. Even if students are not stressed by the pace or content of new learning, a point arises when the amygdala exceeds its capacity for efficient conduction of information through its networks into memory.


Brain breaks should take place before fatigue, boredom, distraction, and inattention set in. Depending on students’ ages and focus development, brain break frequency will vary. As a general rule, concentrated study of 10 to 15 minutes for elementary school and 20 to 30 minutes for middle and high school students calls for a three- to five-minute break.


Brain breaks do not need to disrupt the flow of learning. Simply stretching, moving to a different part of the room, or singing a song can revitalize the brain. Use your learning goals and students’ responses to guide you in selecting the best type of brain break. You might decide to use the time to boost mood or motivation, as well as restore the brain’s peak performance!


CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT CONDUCIVE TO LEARNING


Select a physical location that will offer your children flexibility — perhaps one with various seating choices and an open area so they can spread out. Help their minds get ready to learn using mindful practices. Let the child help choose a homework space that’s comfortable- it doesn’t have to be in a chair at the table. But we do suggest that they are sitting upright and have a hard work service (table, desk, lap desk, portable tv dinner tables, coffee table, etc.)


WARNING SYSTEMS AND CONSEQUENCES


When it comes to curbing distractions like talking and blurting, a warning system is a huge help. The way it works is that you give individual warnings to students whenever they are talking without permission. The warning holds no consequences – it’s just a warning. But it helps students notice they’re being disruptive and (hopefully) self-correct. Nine times out of ten, that’s all that’s needed. However, if students do persist in being disruptive after receiving a warning(s), then you need to give a predetermined consequence.


Consequences should only be one small part of your management plan, but they do play an important role. The key is to choose wise consequences that make sense and are a good fit for your student(s).


Deal with problems while they’re small.


The advice “don’t sweat the small stuff” has its place, but it certainly does not work when you’re trying to start the school year right, reset your classroom, or teach a new procedure. I wish we could let the little things go, but, honestly, if you do, the little problems don’t stay little. They grow into bigger and bigger problems.


Instead, be looking for the first problem and deal with it right away. That doesn’t mean you lambast the kid or issue him with a severe punishment for saying one word. But it does mean that you kindly address the issue – every time. It could be as simple as reminding them of the correct procedure and asking them to redo it. As you consistently deal with the small problems, students will see that you actually mean what you say and will get used to following class guidelines.


Be consistent.


It is so hard to be consistent, but consistency is a huge key to management success. Simply decide what you are going to do and then do it…consistently. And if you miss one time, don’t let that derail you. Determine to get back on track the next opportunity you get!

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