Ever wish you had a deeper level of help determining your child’s functioning levels for learning, adapting homeschool curriculum for their special needs, working through a tricky behavior issue, monitoring their progress, or doing year-end assessments? A local special education professional might be just what you need!
Why work with a private educational professional?
Even though HSLDA’s Educational Consultants are only a phone call or email away, we can’t meet you and your student in the comfort of your living room (although this would be lovely!). If you want to work with a private educational professional who can meet with you and your child regularly—getting to know your child and their strengths and weaknesses—or if you need a professional diagnosis and evaluation of your child’s learning difficulties, you will need to hire someone locally.
Am I required to work with a private educational professional?
Nope. You aren’t required to use a private educational professional simply because you’re homeschooling a child with special needs. However, we encourage families who are homeschooling a child with significant needs to strongly consider hiring and meeting with an educational professional at least on a quarterly basis.
A local private educational professional is able to work with you and your child—they can help you set goals, create an educational plan, and monitor your child’s progress in a one-on-one setting. They can also offer practical advice based on seeing you and your child in action together and add a sense of “security” and credibility to your homeschool program.
Other times, parents choose to hire a local educational advocate who can assist with obtaining special related services and therapies through the state or school district. (These services fall outside of the realm of what the HSLDA Educational Consultants provide.)
What qualifications should my private educational professional have?
Your local professional doesn’t necessarily have to be certified or licensed. The most important qualification is that he or she has credentials and experience in the area of your child’s specific need.
However, if you live in a state that requires a written educational plan, progress reports, or standardized testing be administered or prepared by a licensed individual, then you will want to be sure the professional or evaluator whom you select meets your state’s specific certification or licensure requirements. (You can check your state’s homeschool requirements here.)
How long should families work with a private educational professional?
This is up to you! In general, though, if your child’s special learning need is remediable through homeschooling, you should continue using professional assistance until your child is functioning close to grade level.
If your child’s special learning need cannot be corrected, you should probably continue to receive assistance throughout your homeschooling experience or until your child is no longer of compulsory school age.
Where do I go to find a local professional?
We’ve got lots of creative options to help you connect with a homeschool friendly special education professional. Check out our suggestions in Part 3!