Homeschooling

Recently I realized that it was time for me to start supplementing Nathan’s education at home. Nathan’s teacher is fabulous and I believe she is doing a great job with him. However, there are about 8 kids with severe disabilities in his class, meaning 8 unique IEP’s each with at least 5 goals (I’d imagine). All of the kids are full care so they need help in feeding, diapering, and most with mobility. It is a MOVE based program so they spend a lot of time working on physical goals – walking in walkers, floor time, swinging time, etc. Leaving little time for cognitive goals and development, especially as Nathan is currently in the “Multiple Disabilities” class meaning there is little emphasis on cognitive development.

As I shifted my emphasis from motor development to communications, I realized that I needed to start teaching Nathan a lot more. My goal is for Nathan to become literate and to eventually communicate by writing. I hoped that school would move him in that direction but after many failed IEP meetings I realized I needed to do it myself.

I realized that the Dynavox would be my “avenue” for teaching Nathan cognitive and communication skills, which is why I have been so focused on the Dynavox. But soon I encountered a huge problem – what, exactly, do I program INTO the Dynavox to teach Nathan? And how do I get him interested enough to COMPLY? This has been a huge issue for us during the last few months. I programmed as much as I could think of, but during the last few weeks, I feel as if I’m running out of ideas.

Finally a few days ago I realized what an idiot I was being! I realized there are probably millions of families out there that homeschool their kids, and that entire curriculums are sold online for homeschooling families. Ding ding ding ding (bells in my head).

So during the last few days I finally started researching different homeschooling programs for preschool and kindergarten. My plan is to order a curriculum, then adapt it as best as I can into the Dynavox. Most have lots of hands-on activities that I cannot put into the Dynavox, but I figured I’d adapt as much as I can and then do a lot of hand-over-hand for the hands-on activities.

I chose “Adventures in Learning” for our initial curriculum. It seemed the most comprehensive and appropriate for Nathan’s level.

Originally I plan on working with him 1 hour every afternoon on the curriculum. Nathan is such a social butterfly that I do not think he would benefit from a full-on homeschooling program – he would miss out on all of the kids and activities etc. But at least this way I can take some control over his cognitive development and make sure that he is moving forward in his cognition and communication!

As I am completely new to this, I would love it if others with more experience could chime in! Suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Comments

  1. http://Carolyn says

    Get him started with REWARDS! Let him know if he does something correctly a certain number of times, he can “win” something, get a treat or get to do an activity of his choice. It worked really well when I started it with my son – he actually was able to improve at a rate even faster than anyone could believe. As he got older, we increased the amount of work he had to do to earn a prize. Everyone got so excited for his progress & we looked forward to therapy time instead of dreading it!

  2. That’s why I like Ryland going to a reg. school. He’s the only child in a wheelchair and they spend lots of time with him learning his letter and numbers, he know colors and most of the more popular animals. He gets to color and do activities in his classroom but also goes to the resource room for extra time. He has 18 kids in his class, he also has his own nurse will him all day. In music class he gets to participate and he gets his own adaptive PE with the PE teacher once a week. He get PT, OT and ST at school most run about 1hr per week, I think ST is twice a week. I’ve been happy because they do alot with him. The only thing is his nurse it’s really a “kid” person or I should say people person but she does ok with him. I haven’t gotten a chance to bring the Dynovox to school because I always have Vera with me. I school has agreed to use it at school. I know before his surgery his teacher said the speical education teacher wanted to talk. I’m thinking they are wanting to send Ryland to Children Care in Sioux Falls, it kindof makes me sad because he loves how things are going but there only so much they can do at school with him, he’s getting bigger. Also in 3rd grade our school distrit has 3rd 4th and 5th in a different town 7 miles away. I know it weird. The other school doesn’t have all the stuff like therapy room that the school he’s in now has. Also I drive him. It’s hard to think that Ryland will be in 2nd grade next year.

  3. Hey there. We are in the same boat. I am typing from my phone but just real quick wanted to tell you to check out starfall.com, they have some really cool things that would help daniel loves it and with eye gaze nathan will be able to rock it.

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