Homeschooling a child with low IQ/intellectual disability. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 01-08-2013, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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My son is 6 and is currently in public school kindergarten. This is his 2nd year in K. He has a disability, is on an IEP, and has a low IQ. In any consideration of homeschooling I feel like I'm presented with a lot of challenges. I don't know that I feel capable of teaching him. He does not learn in a typical way and I'm afraid I might not be able to understand well enough they way he learns to truly teach him. I also worry about standardized testing that is required by the state. There's just no way he'll pass the standardized tests, he is roughly 2-2.5 years behind his peers in most regards, especially academically.


I do know he would continue to receive therapy as he has gross and fine motor delays, speech delays, visual motor challenges, etc.


Has anyone else successfully homeschooled a child with these special needs?

Nicole, mom of 3. Mitochondrial Disease.: Epilepsy
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#2 of 8 Old 01-08-2013, 10:57 AM
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I don't have any direct experience. However, I did want to extend some hearty words of encouragement. I highly doubt that with a child as unique as your ds, you will find that his teachers in the school system will be able to quickly understand all the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of his personality, his delays, his strengths, his limitations and his learning style in order to effectively apply whatever theoretical knowledge they have to his situation. Realistically I think you'll find that they'll spend months each year just trying to get to know him, and more months trying out a variety of ways to work with him. And then with every new classroom and every new teacher there will be that whole getting-to-know-him learning curve to climb again. Your intimate knowledge of his long-term development, your love for him, your big-picture I've-known-him-since-birth intimate knowledge of what works for him will more than make up for your lack of expertise. And I expect your expertise will grow astronomically as you wade into homeschooling, as you research approaches and begin to apply what you are learning.


Every state I know of that requires standardized testing either requires it just for the parent to keep on record (no reporting) or if reporting is required, it's merely expected that the child will "show progress commensurate with age and ability" or similar wording. Meaning you are totally covered if he's testing 2 or 4 years behind and has documented developmental delays. No worries there.



Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

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#3 of 8 Old 02-03-2013, 03:35 PM
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I too have a son diagnosed with an intellectual disability.  He is in a 3rd grade Life Skills Program in his zoned public school. I too am considering home schooling him in addition to what he is learning in the classroom.  The questions I have asked the professionals is: How do I know my son is receiving everything he needs for his specific educational needs in the county we currently live in?  How do I know determine that and how do I go about finding that out?  It just feels like he is not being challenged to do more.  It just "feels" like I should be doing more because the schools are not.  I haven't been able to have anyone answer those questions for me. 

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#4 of 8 Old 02-03-2013, 04:07 PM
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#5 of 8 Old 04-22-2014, 07:01 AM
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I also have a son with intellectual disability. He is now 10. This is the second time I try homeschooling. The first time he was in 1st grade. The teacher at that time gave him an awful report card with mostly F's. I argued that although his IEP said Speech and Language impaired, it was obvious he had a learning disability as well. 

It was not easy to make the decision to home school, but I did it. I found a psychologist, neurologist, ABA therapy, physical and speech therapist, and an after school program at the YMCA to help him with socialization. I also bought a curriculum called LIFE PAC which is scaffold to help students work at their own level. 

Even though I did find all these resources, I felt scared and worried that I was not doing enough. My son had tantrums I did not know how to handle, and his learning was extremely slow. I was frustrated, and felt I had no one who I can really talk to or that understood the situation. I therefore, looked for another school where he could attend. 

When he was ready to attend 2nd grade, I was fortunate to find a super good public school which placed him in a classroom  classified as an "INCLUSION" classroom. I felt happy to have found the "right" placement for him. The other kids in the class had other disabilities such as down syndrome, ADHD, learning disabilities, and cognitive delays. 

In 3rd grade, we moved and again, I was faced with the same problem of schooling and the way my son was treated. I should have known better, but I thought that since his IEP had been revised, the issue with his placement was not going to longer be a problem. He was placed in a regular/mainstream classroom. His books and materials were all grade level. It was a torture seeing him struggle with the academics. He was Kinder level and working 3rd grade level! I was tired of fighting the system, but I took a last breath and ask the teacher to please have him tested again...and she listen. 

He had another psychological test done...this time his 3rd assessment....and he was said to have a 78 IQ. I was thrilled his IQ has increased from a 69 to a 71 and now to a 78. His academics where to be modified according to his learning. Things seem to be going towards the right direction....but then we had to move due to work relocation....and again...once again...was faced with placement issues, only that this time I had a new modified IEP. 

When he started 4th grade, the school he attended was said to be a 10/10. The school's standard test score were among the highest in the district. I didn't care much about the testing, because I knew my son was not going to be liable for the scores since he had an IEP. Therefore, I felt confident that his educational plan was going to be followed and his curriculum modified, but this was not the case. 

He was given grade level material. The gave a 1st grade student, 4th grade material. My son felt frustrated, and many times did not want to go to school. Again, I asked the school to modified his curriculum and follow through the testing already started at the previous school so he can be placed in the proper educational setting. Well...the school did follow through testing...actually they rushed the testing...I think they actually wanted him out of the school because his no score testing was going to affect his school score. 

After the testing, it was concluded he had a 74 IQ and had to be sent to another school to receive the correct placement. My son has mild autism, ADHD, and processing issues. He was going to placed in a classroom where they did not offer any set curriculum. He was going to be taught randomly and according to his level. I did not agreed. I wanted him to be offer the same curriculum as other students, but at his level. I mean...if he was in 4th but working at 1st grade level, he would receive his 1st grade reading and math materials, but the school said they couldn't do that. Oh well...I said..."..thank you, but my son deserves a fair chance..." and then....I decided to home school. 

It has not been easy. Everyday, I struggle with my own insecurities..."am I doing the right thing? is he learning?.." son is learning! It is at a very slow pace, but he is learning. He feels confident and most important, he feels loved. Homeschooling is the most difficult task a parent can take, but it is honestly worth it! 

I now use different sorts of materials, and am constantly researching about cognitive impaired students and learning styles. So far, I found out that "hands on" is the best way to teach him. I have him do lots of projects when learning new concepts. Sometimes, we spend so much time with a topic...he learns it...and after a while...he forgets....but, I will not give up. My main goal is to teach him how to work independently. My best wishes to all parents who have decided to home school their special child. 

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#6 of 8 Old 04-25-2014, 02:28 AM
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My son is 9 with PDD-NOS (he would probably now be classed as HFA) He has dyspraxia, ADD and an IQ of 69. He is forth grade but working slowly on a grade 2 level. I have always homeschooled him as i believe home is the best place for him to learn. In school I could see him being a bullying target as he is quirky, gets upset easily and is very small for his age. There is no way he could pass any kind of standardized test and I don't feel that kind of stress is at all beneficial. When we belonged to an umbrella school we could fill out a waiver form, now we don't have any tests at all, just a portfolio. You might be able to get a waiver with documentation of his limitations or be able to take the test on his actual attainment level. It isn't easy, and progress is slow, but there is progress and we can celebrate that.

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#7 of 8 Old 05-07-2014, 05:36 PM
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I am homeschooling two children with special needs.  Granted, they are not learning disabled / low IQ but we do face some interesting challenges.  I am homeschooling them primarily to be able to meet them where they are.  They are both asynchronous in their development - ahead in some areas, behind on others.  A typical classroom would not be able to be flexible enough to meet their own needs.

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#8 of 8 Old 05-07-2014, 07:21 PM
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What state are you in, my3peanuts? Usually there are workarounds for state testing. For example, here we are required to administer the test but there is no score requirement, so a child could fill in the answer sheet at random and still be in compliance with homeschool testing requirements.
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