If you have a young child with special needs that will be entering preschool or kindergarten in the near future, here are seven ways you can help your child learn and get a good education.
Find out how your child learns. There are many ways children learn, such as auditorily, visually, and tactually. Explore different ways of helping your child learn to speak, write, listen, and remember. Once you find your child's learning style, you can help him or her to get the most out his or her education.
Spend time with your child doing activities and exercises that will help him or her learn. Once your child is in school, keep an open line of communication with his or her teachers and school administrators. Remember that no one knows your child better than you, as his or her parent. So be involved with your child's education every step of the way.
Pay attention. When your child is 0-3 years old, pay special attention to major milestones. See if he or she struggles with any motor skills, observe his or her behavior with other children, and his or her speech patterns. If you notice that your child struggles with word pronunciation or has a stutter, try to work with him or her as soon as possible to improve it. The sooner you get help for your child, the better. Speak with your pediatrician, and keep notes. This leads into the third suggestion; research.
Research. If you suspect your child has a speech impediment or any sort of learning disability, do your research. Talk to parents about their children, especially parents of children who have the problem you think your child might have. Document behaviors and traits that you see in your child that lead you to believe he or she may have a special condition or learning disability. This is not to say that you should become obsessive about it, but be aware of what your child does, and learn about possible diagnoses.
If you keep notes, it will only help in the long run when dealing with medical specialists and teachers.
Speak up for your child. Remember that you know your child the best, and you are his or her advocate. Make sure teachers understand how your child reacts to certain situations, and what his or her learning style is. If you suspect that a teacher or childcare professional is dealing with your child in an inappropriate way, speak up for your child. See to it that he or she gets the care and education he or she deserves.
Accentuate the positive. Be sure to always compliment your child on what he or she does well. If he or she likes to draw, encourage him or her to draw. Be understanding when he or she messes up, and a cheerleader when he or she succeeds. When children are young, they are vulnerable. You want your child to be confident and unafraid to try new things. Your child needs to know that you have his or her back, and want him or her to be successful and happy.
Get early screening. It's never too early to get your child tested if you suspect he or she has a learning disability. Once you know for sure what your child is dealing with, it is easier to get him or her help with the challenge. Find a nursery or preschool that specializes in the care and education of children with special needs. And again, communicate often with your child's teachers and administrators.
Love your child unconditionally. This suggestion speaks for itself. You need to make sure that your child is loved and aware of how much you love him or her, no matter what he or she does. This will help your child flourish in school and in the real world. (For more information, contact Colwell Nursery School & Kindergarten)