Originally Sent: 2/14/2013
February 14, 2013
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“I Need More than an Expert”
Building a Network of Support for Families Homeschooling Children with Special Needs
By the HSLDA Special Needs Consultants
Recently, we have had many inquiries about how to find support groups and local resources that are specific to special needs. One mother shared her heart’s cry, stating, “I need more than an expert to give me suggestions; I need friends with which to meet regularly.” Are there others out there who have this same need? I’m sure there are.
While many families are already involved in a homeschool support group, our department often hears from parents who say that they don’t feel like their family “fits in.” They sense others within their support group may not understand or cannot relate to their unique challenges associated with home educating a child with special needs, particularly students with severe behavioral and learning needs, such as children on the autism spectrum, Down syndrome, or behavioral disorders.
At other times, members report that their children are not included in the group, requests for accommodations are not met by co-op teachers, and a general lack of understanding or compassion seems to exist.
When we hear these things, it saddens us because we know that families are hurting and in need of support, community, encouragement, and a “safe place.” We think for the most part, it is not that people intend to disenfranchise and treat those with learning differences, physical, behavioral, or mental challenges badly, but rather are acting out of fear, lack of knowledge, insecurity, or are quite frankly unsure of how to help.
We would like to encourage folks who are involved in support groups and co-ops to follow Jesus’ admonition to “let all the children come.”
Places to Find Support Groups
1. Look for online support groups, chat groups, bulletin board discussion groups, and blogs. While these definitely are not the same as having a support system in your own neighborhood, they can still be a good way to find ideas, exchange experiences, and to connect with others who are walking a similar path.
Here are a couple to check out:
2. One can also find private learning consultants who offer support and resources for families. Many will offer consultations from a distance, via web-cam, phone, and email exchanges.
Here are a few, very well-known private consultants who offer support and resources:
More places to find support groups:
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