Helpful Homework Tips For Special Needs Families

November 10, 2016 | By More

By Megan Howell, Imago Dei School Principal

Ask any parent of a student with special needs and they will assure you that homework time is often synonymous with “pulling teeth”, “torture” and “meltdown”! For even the most resilient of parents and students, homework time can be extremely stressful, but for students with special needs, this time can become a harrowing experience ending in tears for all involved.

There are many compelling factors that can contribute to the difficulty that students with special needs face when it comes time to do homework. Many students have therapy appointments that compete for the same time and focused attention, leaving parents to have to choose between two beneficial activities. Additionally, unstructured free time after school is essential for students who work so hard to ‘hold it together’ throughout the school day, yet this free time may not be possible if a student lags behind in class and needs extra time for homework.

Some tips for a happy and healthy homework time:

  1. Set-up a work space specifically for your child. Your child absolutely needs a space in which to do homework, away from distractions like television sets and other technological devices. It is best that it be specifically for your child in that no one else uses that space. This way, he may leave his materials there without having to set-up from scratch each day. This also makes it possible to have all visual cues and schedules adhered to the space permanently.
  2. Plan for breaks ahead of time. A break activity can be as simple as a cup of chamomile tea with honey, or something more vigorous such as 5 to 10 minutes of cross-lateral exercise. The important aspect is the student can expect regular and consistent breaks throughout their homework time.
  3. Be positive. As difficult as it might be to help your child with special needs with homework, you need to remain positive. Take a break between the time you get home and the time you tackle homework. You and your child will both benefit from that!

It is important for parents and students to work together to help build good habits and to develop a system that works for the individual child. The results will be good homework and study habits that will help your child have good work habits as an adult.

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