Hints for using T4L with kids with special needs.
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  1. #1
    hearthstone_academy's Avatar
    hearthstone_academy is offline Administrator
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    Nov 2006
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    Default Hints for using T4L with kids with special needs.

    What has worked for you and your students with special needs? I'll share my tips and look forward to reading yours.

    I have six children, and I am tutoring my nephew. Three of my children appear to be gifted (two formally identified), one seems to be "about average", and one has special needs (Down syndrome). One of my children and my nephew are struggling learners (working below grade level), without formally identified special needs.

    Here are the some things that have helped my struggling learners. I am anticipating using some of these ideas for my son with Down syndrome when he is ready for school.

    1. Start slowly. Consider beginning at a level a grade or more below your child's ability. Assign tiny bits of work at first, perhaps just one Lesson Activity per subject at first. The child experiences immediate success, which is gratifying and encouraging.

    2. Proceed at the child's pace. Some children will take two years or longer to finish one grade level. It's better for them to take longer and truly master the material than to move too quickly with limited understanding of what they are studying.

    3. Repeat Lesson Activities as necessary. Don't think the checkmark means that lesson can't be revisited. Students whose learning style requires a lot of repetition (such as many children with Down syndrome) will benefit from doing the lesson again immediately. Others will need to come back to it at a later date, for a review.

    4. Consider sitting with your child as he does his lessons. This technique helps with some children and hinders others. Many children benefit from discussing what they are learning. It has the added value of providing parental review, enabling you to help your student with concepts you may have forgotten.

    Your turn.

    Mom of six . . . current students and homeschool graduates. Enjoying using Time4Learning since 2006!

  2. #2
    cherra is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Feb 2007



    Wow, you are amazing to be handling so much with your kids! Hats off to you!

    I absolutely agree with all of the great points you have made. We are doing a mixture of some of the things you brought up. My son works independently on some things and on others I will work through them with him. If he has done something independently and then is having difficulty or does not do well on the quiz, I will then sit down with him later and we go through it again together, and that seems helpful.

    I wholeheartedly agree that it is better to take more time and master the material rather than worrying about how long it is taking to master a topic or what the current grade level is in respect to where a student "should" be. This is a point I have always felt strongly about. All too often in school, the teacher feels compelled to get to the end of the book, regardless of whether the students are mastering the material meanwhile.

    One thing we are finding useful is Peedy the Parrot. Even though my son is older and this might otherwise seem a bit elementary for him, it is actually helpful and he is okay with the "elementariness" (how do you like that new word? ) of it. One of his most difficult issues is that due to the medical issues he gets very, very tired both mentally and physically with reading, concentration, and output of mental energy. He is a good reader, but reading makes him very tired very quickly. Prior to T4L I was reading every assignment to him. Now he can let Peedy do some of the reading and it gives him some independence as well.

    Keeping the sessions short is a big key for us due to the same issues. Sometimes even one lesson activity is more than he can handle. When I see the fatigue coming on, I have him take a break for a little while, leave it on the screen, and he comes back to is when he gets refreshed.

    For things where there are lots of facts to learn, e.g. science, I find it helpful to make some notes as to important points in a given lesson. We will then go over those at brief intervals at various times to review. I am a firm believer that repetition is the key to learning and even more so with special needs. Ultimately I want to teach him to make and organize those notes himself as he really has no idea how to do that, to do research and organize a report, etc. However, I am doing it for now with a goal of slowly teaching him that process. I think the Odyssey Writer could be very handy for that. For now I am using Word but when I figure out some things about the Odyssey Writer I think it might be easier and more attractive for him to use that for that purpose.

    This thread is a good idea. Thanks!


  3. #3
    MarilynM is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Jan 2007
    NW TX


    I am using some of your ideas and have made notes of others.

    My son likes his independence with this program. Since we work on so many issues daily with him, the program allows him some success since he can navigate through it alone.

    I check his progress and make note of any grades below 85. Since he is 15 and doing Kindergarten work, I want to know that he has really mastered it. I sit with him while he repeats the activities with lower grades. It is usually the instructions that need to be clarified.

    The only exception to repeating a lesson are those which I deem nonessential in his situation. Our valuable time and energy is for the priority issues and this has worked well for us. For example, he didn't score well in the parts of a book. My priority is for him to understand that books are valuable, contain relevant info, someone wrote it, and need care in handling. With his cognitive skills, memorizing anything more is energy better needed in other areas.

    During a typical lesson, I have him listen to the instructions twice before calling me. I am hoping that this will help with his auditory processing difficulties. After that, then I clarify the instructions for him.

    Ds has narrative skills issues secondary to his Speech Apraxia. We complete a Writer's Corner page and print it (wish it printed only our creation). I help him create a story about the picture. We practice the story and then he tells it to his dad and older brother. He will be taking a print out to therapy next Monday to tell a story to his speech therapist. I call ahead when I do such things so that she knows my goal. I keep the print outs in a notebook for future use.

    I use worksheets in problem areas when necessary and with favorite skills in order to complement our daily handwriting or other fine motor skills.

  4. #4
    NewLifeAcademy is offline Member Regular
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    Apr 2007
    Mt Pleasant, Michigan


    I'm so glad I started back at the first grade level for my daughter. I was afraid it would be too "babyish" but she didn't complain. She likes it. Going back to the beginning showed me the holes in her understanding of phonics. I was surprised at how many sounds she had trouble distinguishing from one another. She has an language processing disorder and T4L helped me see what needs to be worked on the most.

    We progressed throughout the first grade level fairly quickly and we are starting the 2nd grade LA now. I sit with her to learn unless it is a review lesson.

    I'm trying to talk her into doing T4L during the summer but she thinks she needs the summer off like her older sister in middle school (public). I will try to think of some way to bribe her. (he he he)

  5. #5
    ergon4 is offline Member Regular
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    Aug 2006
    North Carolina

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    Many special kiddos seem to be pretty sensitive about "getting things wrong". My son (dyslexic, anxiety disorder, OCD) is at the top of the food chain for testing anxiety, so we always use the first try of the T4L quizzes and tests as "Practice Runs". That way if he doesn't master the material, he knows that the first time around doesn't count, and we print out the test so we can review what he got wrong and why. Once he understands it fully, he is able to go back and retake the quiz or test again (and usually ace it!)

    We also print out all the quizzes in a particular unit and use them as review for the unit test. This gets the work back in his mind, and prepares him so he doesn't get anxious about forgetting what is on the test. Works like a charm!

    Kerry In NC
    Raising homegrown geeks...one laptop at a time. Check out my Topsy-Techie blog at http://topsytechie.wordpress.com/

  6. #6
    Hmschlg3 is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Mar 2009

    Default Re: Hints for using T4L with kids with special needs.

    We have been using T4L with our 11-yo daughter for about 3 months now. She reads at about a 3rd grade level and her math skills are about kindergarten. We do need to do a lot of repetition. So even if something is checked completed, we will go back to it and review it. Especially if it's a concept we know is difficult for her to grasp, like measurements. Math is a real struggle for her. If anyone has any suggestions, please share them with me. We are trying everything and anything. We also use TouchMath in addition to T4L. We are loving T4L. She can sit for a long time, she likes it so much.
    Janet in Florida

  7. #7
    MamaMary's Avatar
    MamaMary is offline Senior Member
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    Jul 2007
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    Default Re: Hints for using T4L with kids with special needs.

    How did I miss this post?! I LOVE it! I love all the idea's.
    Mary, Child of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ! Wife to best friend and Mama to her four boys 91, 96, 00, 02, Homeschooling since 1998! Come visit us on our blog! http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/MamaMary/

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