8 Tips for School Success for Kids with Special Needs

Students diagnosed with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD or a learning disability may wonder whether they will be able to graduate from high school and/or collegiate studies. I worried over the same issue myself because I was diagnosed with dyslexia in a time period when there were very few strategies to help strengthen my learning disabilities. Education was very important to me, and I wanted to graduate from high school and college despite my scholastic challenges. Therefore, I set out to teach myself ways to overcome my learning obstacles and graduate. Through the implementation of systematic step-by-step educational solutions, I, like my students with learning issues, began to master how to overcome learning challenges.


1. Plan homework schedule and study times to begin the school year. The planned work and review times will help your child or teen to help meet the scholastic increase of the new grade level. The plan should include additional study time even if the child or teen has study halls during their school day. The times can be adjusted on a successful academic achievement basis.


2. Children and teens entering a higher grade level typically need to upgrade their study skills to help them keep pace with their current curriculum. Children and teens benefit from reviewing the notes they take in each of their classes for at least five minutes a day. Reviewing the class notes taken will help children and teens retain more core learning concepts. Consistent review will also assist their ability to access the information on tests. Younger students can benefit from a few minutes of reviewing concepts such as grammar and phonetic rules.


3. A parent and their child benefit from checking the student’s grades online together several times a week. Parents who check grades online with their son or daughter show them they care about education. Additionally, if there are downturns in their grades or missing assignments, then educational solutions can be applied before their difficulty becomes a scholastic issue. The extra accountability generally helps students of all grade levels stay on track throughout the school year. Students of all ages often respond positively to their parents’ praise when they see good grades.


4. Tests and quizzes become an important part of the academic experience. Children and teens should add more study and preparation time to the system they used in the previous grade level. Students of all ages benefit from studying for tests and quizzes several days before they are given. Parents can help their student understand that their brains may need time to absorb and readily access the educational concepts they will be tested over. Waiting until the day before a test may not be the best option for students because of the increase in information, which is associated with each new scholastic level.


5. As soon as a student begins to slide, academically educational solutions should be applied to help the child or teen overcome their academic obstacles. All too often scholastic slides are not addressed early enough because the parent may feel it is a problem that will correct itself. It is generally better to address the academic difficulty early on before the child’s or teen’s grades begin to spiral downward. One way to address scholastic slides is to help your child correct mistakes on graded assignments that have multiple mistakes on them.



6. Parents can help make learning fun during homework and study time. Children and teens can make review and drill time into a game show format using flash cards. They can make these from their study material. When review time is presented in a game show format, students generally are more engaged throughout the learning process. Parents may wish to host a study review time for their child with several students in their son’s or daughter’s classes. Students of all grade levels generally enjoy the review process when it is made into a game they are playing with their friends.


7. Parents can help their child or teen develop an interest in learning by asking their teen to tell them three concepts they learned in their classes each day. Asking your child or teen to report several core concepts learned in class can also help improve his or her ability to focus in class. In addition, the student typically will report the class to be more interesting and fun.


8. If a child or teen is struggling in the area of math, then pre-learning the mathematical formulas can really help increase the student’s understanding of new concepts. Previewing the key concepts from the upcoming lesson can help the student absorb and glean more information from the instructional teaching lesson. Students can pre-learn new math concepts by reading the following day’s lesson in their online text or textbook.


Next, the student should make a notation of concepts that are not understood. The child or teen should ask the teacher for further instruction on the more difficult mathematical concepts. In addition, students benefit from reviewing key terms to increase their mathematical vocabulary to improve their understanding during the lectures.


Students of all grade levels and ages who implement educational solutions to help them overcome areas of academic weakness can improve in their educational skills. Generally, children and teenagers will discover over time they are accurately able to spend less time learning new scholastic concepts as their organizational skills and study habits improve. Students may find learning to be fun as they become capable to meet scholastic challenges and overcome their learning weaknesses. Another added benefit from implementing educational solutions into their daily study time is they may have a renewed sense of academic self-esteem, dignity and a restored positive attitude toward their studies. By igniting students’ interests and understanding, improved grades can be the result of their increased scholastic skills.


Barbara Dianis overcame dyslexia in her own life using self-taught strategies and techniques. She is the author of Grade Transformer for the Modern Student (LuLu Publishing Services, 2014) and has counseled parents of children with special needs for 21 years.

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30 Nov 2017

By Barbara Dianis