Our special today is also a guest writer for Christian Homeschool Moms. Gabriella Volpe is a homeschooling mom of a child with special needs, a former public school teacher and the homeschool consultant for families of children with special needs. She knows first-hand what it means to struggle with educational planning for a child who does not fit the system and is limited by resources and products intended for children without disabilities.
She is a crafter, planner and visionary. When she has a spare moment she experiments with herbology, finds herself in meditation, and stretches her limits with yoga. She credits her achievements to her family and friends who have always been present and supportive, and to God, whom she learned to turn to since the birth of her son.
Gabriella inspires parents to find ways to adapt and modify the curriculum so they don’t have to spend hours figuring it out on their own. But, really, she’s on a quest to fuel families with hope to keep them moving forward in their homeschool calling.
You can find her at www.GabriellaVolpe.com
Isaiah 41:10. “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God.”
What is special needs?
The person has an impairment or disability in one or more of the five domains of developmental domains:
- physical challenges
Two categories of disabilities
- visible disabilities
- invisible disabilities: (example: sensory processing disorders or auditory processing disorders)
Why are more parents choosing to homeschool their child with special needs?
- lack of funding in inclusive classrooms
- children’s natural environment and individualized education plans are not being met
- even with adaptations and provisions, testing can be a source of great stress for children with special needs
- travel difficulties
- segregation issues
- power struggle getting the child to school
What are the benefits of homeschooling a child with special needs?
- children may have a much better attitude toward school work
- homeschooling allows for flexible schedules
- parents have access to crowd-free public spaces throughout the week
- wait times and over-stimulation are reduced
- the child can develop skills at his own pace
Must parents have a special education degree in order to homeschool their child?
Absolutely no special education degree is needed to homeschool your special needs child. There is no specialist that will know your child better than you do.
What do parents need in terms of supplies and equipment order to get started?
Adaptive equipment and tools: scissors, writing tools, musical instruments, chairs, desks, and exercise balls for example. Parents can adapt their own tools as well.
What would a parent do next to get started homeschooling?
The next step is to plan what to teach. Check out Gabriella’s resource on planning to homeschool.
What about parents homeschooling siblings as well? Is it possible to homeschool a child with special needs along with siblings who have their own individual needs as well?
Siblings are great motivators and can serve as positive role models for special needs children. It’s also important, though, that parents not make the entire focus of the homeschool on the child with special needs. He is always learning from his environment.
Are there any unexpected things parents should prepare for on their journey?
Expect disappointment. Don’t become discouraged about progress. Parents should be trusting and be patient through “quiet periods”.
What do many parents worry about most when it comes to educating their child? What are their biggest challenges?
Mental and physical exhaustion experienced through homeschooling a special needs child, such as a child with incontinence, behavioral issues, etc.
SOLUTION: Get help! Keep a list ready of things you’ll need to make your life easier, and be sure to ask for the help you need.
What resources are available to parents? What happens when they don’t know what to do next?
Look for books, human resources (consultants, therapists), and recommendations for important resources already on-hand from pathologists and therapists. These are all great starting points for planning.
Check for free or inexpensive resources first. You could also suggest gifting of therapy, for example, for birthday gifts or Christmas.
What words of encouragement do you have for parents embarking on this journey?
If you’ve been called to homeschool, you will also be given the tools to do it. Allow your child to be who he is. You may not cure his diagnosis, but you can help him to learn to his potential and beyond.
Also, lighten up, get some space from the therapy and the academics, and enjoy the journey. Give your kids some free time and enjoy the blessings of being with your child.
Get help through an e-workshop
Reach Gabriella at GabriellaVolpe.com where she shares free information and also offers one-on-one consultations to help parents plan and guide them. Gabriella’s e-workshop is also available. The discount code is CHM15 in order for listeners of Christian Homeschool Moms Podcast to get 15% off the Snap Into Action eWorkshop that takes you from psychological report to a yearly homeschool plan. Be sure to mention that you heard about this workshop on the Christian Homeschool Moms Podcast.
Let us know your thoughts! Did you enjoy the podcast? How can we be of help to you? If you have children with special needs, what are some strategies you use that help you with homeschool planning?