Childhood Disabilities: How to Help Children with Disabilities Learn

If your child has a disability, it can be especially challenging for him or her to learn new concepts and concentrate in class. Use the following tips and strategies to support your child's learning at home.

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How to Help Your Child Overcome Disabilities

Communicate with the School

As soon as you notice that your child has a disability, research the disability to learn about any interventions you can implement. When interventions start early, they tend to be more successful. Your child may have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). If so, consider getting involved in the IEP meetings and finding out what services are being provided to meet your child's individual needs.

Provide consistency between home and school. Find out what methods your child's teacher is using for instruction and behavior management and mimic them at home. Conversely, if something works very well for you at home, share it with the teacher.


Some disabilities, like ADHD, can cause students to feel overwhelmed and unfocused when completing assignments. To help your child concentrate, cover most of the page with a blank sheet of paper so that he or she must concentrate on one task at a time. This technique can be especially helpful for worksheets and even standardized tests.

Similarly, if your child struggles to sit for long periods of time, it may be helpful to give her something to squeeze while she's at her desk. For instance, a rubber ball is small enough so that it won't distract other students in the classroom, but may be a good release for her pent-up energy.

Experience Success

Provide many opportunities for success at home. Children who struggle inordinately often become disenchanted with school and exhibit learned helplessness. You can help your child avoid this attitude by creating opportunities that are challenging yet fulfilling.

For instance, set goals for your child to achieve each night. One might be for your child to read an entire chapter in one sitting. Alternatively, emphasize your child's strengths. If he or she really enjoys playing an instrument, hold a family concert so your child can take pride in his or her accomplishment.

Teach Independence

Educate your child about his disability so that he can take responsibility for his own education. For instance, if your child has a vision impairment, teach him to always sit near the front of a room. Additionally, he should gain practice informing others about his disability so that his needs are met.

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