Every child is different in the way that they learn, how they get the most out of their education and the setting in which they feel most comfortable. Some children love the social scene on the playground, but for children with special needs this can be a challenging time faced with cruel bullying and uncomfortable situations when they are unable to participate in certain activities. In these situations, taking another approach to learning can help them feel more confident in their skills.
Here are five reasons why you should consider distance learning for your special needs child.
- Create a comfortable environment – In order to achieve the best results in school, a child’s environment should make them feel comfortable. In a setting where they feel at ease, they are more likely to open their mind and creatively explore various topics while absorbing new information. By eliminating peer and social pressures from the learning environment, children with special needs are able to be themselves and focus on the material at hand.
- Still maintain a quality social life – Being away from the traditional classroom does not mean sacrificing a social life. Children must learn social skills, but a great way to teach these is in a place where they feel open to be themselves. This can be with other special needs children or at after school events, such as music groups or in youth clubs. Outside organizations can help your child develop a strong sense of self by exploring new activities away from the classroom, which in turn will allow them to be more confident in life.
- More flexibility for learning styles – As children advance, they have different methods in which they learn best. Some children are more hands on, while others learn through immersing themselves in a book filled with educational material. No matter how your child learns, distance learning provides the ability to work with their individual needs and create the most impact out of the classwork by adapting delivery styles.
- Take breaks as needed – This flexibility in the schedule also allows them to take breaks as needed and go at their own pace. Children who suffer from ADHD or ADD have a particularly difficult time focusing for long periods of time. Instead, children can learn just as quickly by taking small breaks in between tasks to clear their mind and allow them to refocus on the work at hand. These small breaks have been shown to be more effective in the long run and allow students to still learn material just as quickly.
- Focus where there are difficulties – Some children excel in math while others excel in language. Therefore, each child will have a focus in different areas that are more challenging to them and require more time spent in that area to fully understand the concept before moving forward. In traditional classrooms, this is difficult as every student moves at the same pace. However, with distance learning, children are able to get individualized attention and repeat lessons if there is something they struggle with, and avoid wasting excess time on subjects that come more naturally to them.
- Teaching is done by a trained professional – In distance learning, only certified teachers are allowed to teach coursework, making it a very reputable way to learn. Students and teachers interact over the internet and through video and audio connections, they can even interact face-to-face. Studies have shown this to be more effective, and students feel as though they are getting more one on one attention during classroom hours and tutoring sessions. The video brings the student closer to the teacher even when they are in geographically diverse areas.
- The child avoids the detriments of bullying – Bullying has become worse and worse in our society as television shows and news stories give children wrong ideas of what is ok to say or do. For a special needs child, distance learning can take away the pain of bullying and leave them in an environment where they feel safe and cared for. This environment will improve the way they learn because they are free from worry about what other children will think or say.
Special needs children should have a safe environment where they can learn in their own unique way. This will create a better environment to advance their education making them more successful.
Author info: Aileen Pablo is part of the team behind Open Learning Australia, one of Australia’s leading providers of Distance learning and education. When not working, Aileen blogs about education and career. She is often invited as a speaker in Personality Development Seminars in the Philippines. If you have a blog and would like free content, you can find her on Google+.