Special Needs

Can I really do this?

Article

Considering Homeschooling Your Child with Special Needs?

Let’s walk through some important questions and consider some next steps!

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Can I really do this?

Yes, you can! As your child’s parent and first teacher, you know your child better than anyone else. You’ve already taught them so much about life: how to talk, walk, relate to other people, be safe, be resilient and keep trying, and believe that they can do whatever they set out to do.

You can equip them to love learning and to reach their best in life.
 

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Yes. And it can be a great option! Whether your child is physically or mentally disabled or has a specific learning disability or a learning block, homeschooling may be the best option to help them thrive educationally. You may not be a special education expert, but you are an expert on your child. You can find your state’s homeschool requirements here. And you've got lots of helpful special needs resources and support available from HSLDA’s Educational Consultants.

Your homeschool program is, by nature, unique and individualized to your child’s needs. As your child’s homeschooling parent-teacher, you are not required to follow your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) from the public school system or to get an IEP from the public school.

If, however, your child has had an IEP in the past, sometimes the wisest path is to continue with some or all of the elements of the IEP, using a private provider instead of the public school for services like speech or occupational therapy.

You are free to select any appropriate goals and helpful instructional strategies from your child’s past IEP that you want to use in your child’s new homeschool program. HSLDA encourages parents to draft (and keep in their homeschool files) their own written plan, often referred to as a student education plan (SEP) in the homeschool world.

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As a parent considering homeschooling your child who has special needs, does your decision hinge on the accessibility of services like occupational, speech, or other therapy or evaluations? We get that—so here’s a quick summary of the options available to you and your child.

Although HSLDA doesn’t generally recommend it, you can often get special education assistance through public school programs. These programs include any services funded by state or federal dollars though your local school district, whether the services are provided in your own home or at the school.

While you can obtain an evaluation for special education needs in every state, only about half of the states require services to be provided to homeschool students. See your state’s special needs provision here.

Parents who choose to homeschool already have a lot on their plates, and, in HSLDA’s experience, many families have found that public school services come with strings (and potential legal difficulties) attached. So it is best to choose a private service provider whenever possible.

If your child is currently receiving public special education services, you may wish to begin transitioning to private sources for your child’s special education needs. There are many different paths available to obtain a private service provider. You can learn more about locating one here.

HSLDA members can reach out to our Special Needs Consultants to get in touch with a local special education professional.

Concerned about being able to afford services? You might be interested in applying for one of HSLDA’s Compassion Curriculum Grants.

If you would like to learn more about homeschooling a child with special needs, we invite you to check out our Special Needs page. We’ve got lots of resources and support for your homeschooling journey, from start to finish!

HSLDA understands that private therapeutic services can often add up quickly. And we know that you are committed to providing the best education possible for your child no matter the cost.

That’s why HSLDA offers Compassion Grants to homeschooling families in need of private services. You can learn more and apply for a grant here.

Other local, state, and national organizations also offer assistance to families needing help with private services for their children. If you’re an HSLDA member, feel free to reach out to our Special Needs Consultants for more information.