After posting this post on my blog about Selena’s eye condition, Phyllis posed a very interesting question, “I wonder how many children who seem dyslexic have lazy eye?” She then informed me that she has been wanting to do a series on her blog about homeschooling special needs children and asked me if I would share.
Well, here I am grandmother to a beautiful bright girl. She is very high spirited, highly excitable, overly sensitive, and highly gifted. I think Natalie at Mouse Grows Mouse Learns really described what most people consider the benefits of raising a gifted child should look like when she wrote this post. I don’t think I fully understood the whole concept of the gifted child though until I found Colleen at Raising Lifelong Learners. I loved her series she did for iHomeschool Network, “10 Days of Homeschooling Gifted Children.” This post in particular brought about a complete understanding of what a gifted child looks like. This series couldn’t have come at a better time for me, it fell not long after Selena was suspended from Kindergarten on the third day of school.
We have been through so many different issues with Selena, some I have shared on my blog some I have not. I am here today to share so much more about the life of a gifted child. When did I suspect that Selena was gifted? Truly from a very young age, I began to research things about gifted children before Selena even turned 1yr. old. As I observed Selena and how she took in her world, her quickness to take to language, love of books, and so many little quirks made me question, “Are we dealing with a gifted child?” She was already showing some mild tendencies toward OCD, had sensory issues, especially texture issues. Yet, with all this said, she had the most incredible depth in her language, and the understanding of both verbal and written word.
When we decided to try to put Selena in public school, many more issues became very apparent. Not wanting her labeled unnecessary we reached out not to the schools, but to the one person we trusted more then anyone else, Selena’s Pediatrician. We were referred to a Pediatric Psychologist, who was able to unravel so many of the questions and concerns we had. Then this lovely series written by Colleen came along, (A huge thanks to Ticia at Adventures in Mommydom for directing me to these posts).
I now know that had Selena remained in the public school system we would have fought forever with them wanting to label her with ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Fine Motor Skill issues, and who knows what else they would have come up with. Yes, I admit Selena is a bit high on the hyperactivity chart, but far from being ADHD. We now know that Selena’s fine motor skills which were not an issue, what appeared could have been Dyslexia, and the traits that would point toward Autism truly was caused by her eye condition. Does that mean that Selena doesn't have special needs? Believe me dealing with a gifted child brings on so many different special needs. It seems there is always something that needs to be examined, looked at, questioned, and addressed in appropriate ways.
I feel strongly that the perfect place for her is to be in the homeschool setting. I know Selena better then anyone knows her. I am with her 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I know her quirks, I can read her inabilities, as well as her abilities. I know when she already understands a concept I am trying to teach, as well as when she is not ready to understand a new concept. I am able to pick up when things just are not making sense, just like the pieces of the puzzle that led us to take her in and have her eyes examined. Since she showed no outward signs of having poor eye sight, like needing to sit closer to the board, holding her book closer to read, or complaints of not being able to see, I don’t know if the school would have even picked up on a vision problem.
Children with special needs truly thrive in the homeschool setting. Several factors weigh in on this being so. Homeschooling allows learning to be more child interest learning. Homeschooling allows you as the teacher to slow or speed up the pace as needed in each subject. Since you know your child, and can read each facial expression, you will be able to pick up on frustration, delight, overload, exhaustion, and insecurities before anyone who only works with them a few hours out of the day. With this being said, homeschooling truly provides an environment that meets every need of the child. This is not to say that there still isn't outside services that may be needed, by professionals. Some states allow these services to be obtained through the local schools, which can be a hassle since they are homeschooled, but there are very fine specialists that have their own practices as well. Truly there isn't much you, the parent/teacher can not be brought up to speed on as to how to provide many of these services at home. For most Special need child, the more they can receive in the environment they know and trust the best is going to be more effective then anything they receive while trying to learn a new environment or stranger.