Monday, February 9, 2015

Homeschooling With Special Needs

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know by know that my youngest is a special learner. We've never fully learned what are all the special needs with which he's dealing.

We've been told:
  • He's hearing impaired
  • He's developmentally delayed
  • He was tongue-tied
  • He has Sensory Integration Disorder/Sensory Processing Disorder
  • He has Apraxia
  • He has Receptive Expressive Speech Disorder
  • He's "mildly mentally retarded"
  • He may be dyslexic
Yes, he is definitely developmentally delayed. He didn't start crawling until he was a year old. He didn't start walking until he was eighteen months old. He was a very late talker, and really didn't "babble" much as a baby even.

He's undergone many tests, to check his hearing. He's had procedures done to assist in his ability to talk, such as having his tongue "clipped;" having his tonsils removed; and now has braces to, hopefully, widen his palate and give his tongue more space in his mouth. He had physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy for years. He "graduated" out of  PT and OT...but Medicaid kicked him off Speech, which is the one he needed most, and still does.

So we try our hand at "therapy" here at home.

Math is his favorite subject, probably because it has concrete rules that it always follows. It's systematic, and logic oriented. When he was younger we used lots of hands-on, manipulative math. He still prefers manipulatives. When we reviewed Math-U-See a couple years ago, it instantly clicked for him. I plan to keep using it for him, as long as it benefits him. We purchased the Math-U-See Manipulatives app (with a gift card from Grandma for Christmas).

There are so many wonderful apps for the iPad, I knew we had to have one for him. Christmas of 2013, I requested extended-family members to help us out by pitching in on an iPad for him. Then I began the search for suitable apps, which is an ongoing search even now. I posted a list of apps for school last year, but have since then come across a few more.

I've recently loaded these on to his iPad:

Dictation Dragon--This application writes down spoken text. For students who struggle with writing, it can be a great way for them to jot down ideas or get help learning.

Word Ladder--This highly challenging word game will get older readers thinking about how words are spelled and how they can be connected and changed to form new words.

Word Fall-- In this educational game, words fall from the sky and players must collect letters to form basic words.

Jumbline 2 Free--Jumbline is a familiar and fantastic word puzzle that will challenge your speed, your agility, your pattern recognition, and your spelling prowess, as you try to find all the possible words within a set of letters.

Surf the Word and Scrollword. (I just noticed that Little Bit was also checking out LogiMatch. They are all by the same developer).

Speller--Speller is a perfect tool to check spellings of English or Spanish words and come up with suggestions for misspelled words. Speller is based on Aspell, an open source spell checker for various platforms.

Kids Word Search (lite)--Word search designed for kids featuring animals and nature theme. Fun backgrounds with interactive characters as rewards for finding words. (I've put the Elementary Learning Bundle on our wish list)

A few others we added to our wish list are: Montessori Crosswords, Word Wizard, Cursive Writing Wizard, and Writing Wizard. (They may be a bit "young" for him, yet with his developmental delays, he may still enjoy them and benefit from them).

Teachthought has a list of 50 popular iPad apps for struggling readers, which is where I found many of the ones I've listed above.

Another good resource is Smart Apps for Special Needs. Also Virtual Speech Center.

Aside from iPad apps, another program we are using is All About Reading and All About Spelling. They are both hands-on, which is great for a kinesthetic learner.

Sometimes I feel like I should go back to school, to become a speech therapist, or a special ed teacher. Do you ever feel that way? Meanwhile, I hope you will find some of these resources useful as well.

Valentine's Day Resources

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