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Helping your child with disabilities with school work
Special School Work Tips for Parents of Students with Disabilities
Help your child stay organized each day and complete assignments daily
Many students need help with organizational skills to be successful with classwork.
a) Establish a daily routine and schedule for completion of school work. Provide breaks and praises for work completed.
b) Limit distractions (tv, phone, loud music) and arrange a quiet place for completing school work each day.
c) Organize a consistent work space with needed items (pencils, pens, paper, etc.).
d) Use a calendar or day planner/assignment book that has been developed with input from your child, organize and keep track of daily assignments.
e) Develop a daily school work schedule that allows enough time for completion of assignments.
f) Supervise to make sure that completed work is put in a notebook or folder when completed. It is very common for students with learning issues to fail to turn in their finished work. It is very frustrating to know your child struggled to do the work, but did not get credit!
Some students only need help getting started on their assignments and some guidance to keep them on track.
a) Read the directions together, do the first items together, observe as your child does the next problem/item on his or her own. Tell your child to ask for assistance when needed.
b) Guide, but don't correct. It is helpful to point out errors on the schoolwork. If your child needs help, offer ideas that can help sort out the problem, but don't give the answers.
If your child uses accommodations in the classroom, they may be needed for the assigned school work as well. The child might need scaffolded assignments or alternative response formats (e.g., allow the student to voice record an assignment rather than handwriting it). Refer to your child’s IEP to determine the accommodations or modifications needed. For example, if your child struggles to read, the IEP may indicate the use of text-to-speech. Your child’s teacher may use text-to-speech in school. District-based resources for text-to-speech are available. Ask your teacher or case manager about the digital resources your child can log into from home.
● Some students, such as those experiencing ADHD, may benefit from having pre-established breaks. Set a timer (or have them set one for themselves) at a predetermined interval (e.g., 10, 15 or 20 minutes, depending on their age and ability to focus). Learn what helps them best to “re-set” themselves and have then return to their work. This may take some experimenting to see what intervals work best for them and it may vary from night to night.
● Is there a subject that your child struggles with or dislike the most? Start with that subject first to get it out of the way. Or have them work on it for a little while, set it aside, work on something less challenging and then return to it later. Experimenting with different strategies is a great way to see what works best for your student. Don’t be afraid to mix it up.
● Music in the background may actually be helpful for some students to complete tasks. You may find that your student has an easier time focusing when there is music playing in the background.
● If your child’s teacher uses a token economy for behavior management, try to use the same reinforcement strategy at home.