by Wendy Young
Parents need to be sensitive about seeking out professionals to give a diagnosis. And once the diagnosis has been given, again sensitive about when and how they will tell the child. When choosing a professional, it is of the upmost importance to choose a homeschool sympathetic person. You want them to support you in homeschooling your child as you believe them being home is in their best interests. Therefore, they need to support you in that role and not be undermining you in your choice.
Some children present symptoms very early on when they are learning their Three R’s. Others start to show signs of ASD when they reach school going age and their anxiety levels start to climb in the school environment or you are called into school by a teacher saying that “Johnny needs to be assessed for ADHD”.
There are so many symptoms that can show up in the homeschooling situation too which could indicate that you need professional help. Before seeking outside help, consider what you can do yourself for your child who you suspect to have a learning difficulty or emotional dysregulation.
Some ideas are:
- Research the symptoms online.
- Speak to respected friends who have experience with this.
- Look for recommended books on the topic.
- Join a Facebook group for that particular need.
Some parents need only to get a diagnosis with a professional and then get a home programme. We did this for Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy for our son.
Many children and teens who suffer from depression and anxiety can often need to have a trusted wise counselor outside of the home. However, in the home, it has been seen that when these same children withdraw from screen usage (gaming, social media, ongoing WhatsApp chats) and concentrate on family relationships, school work, serving others and getting outdoors, many of their symptoms reduce and become more manageable. Then only the odd check in with a counselor in times of extra stress (like exams or new situations) could be needed.
Once you have a diagnosis, depending on the age of the child and their ability to accept the situation, you would determine whether to seek ongoing help or not. It is important to get the child or teen to “buy in” to the process, particularly if they are older, otherwise you will be throwing away your hard earned money on very expensive sessions.
Ultimately, seeking help and who you do this through, is a very personal family decision. It may just be a season where you need help to bring direction and guidance, or it may be for longer. Either way, proceed careful and sensitively on your journey.
Articles about SEN Homeschooling
Homeschooling A-typical children – a homeschool mom’s perspective
Back to Special Needs Education page