How you can support your child with additional needs at home

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This advice is for parents of students with additional needs who do not attend a specialist school. Our site also has specific information about different disabilities.

You know your child best and can play an important role in their education. 

Working with your child's school

Working in partnership can help give your child the best chance to achieve their potential.

This includes making sure your child's schools stays informed about the support your child needs. 

Your child's school will be communicating with you about learning from home.

Schools can continue to hold Student Support Group meetings and update individual education plans. Your child's school is there to help you both. 

Find out more about working with your child's education provider, including how to talk to teachers.

Information that will help your child's teacher

Your child's teacher will be interested to know how your child is engaging with learning at home including:

  • what your child is achieving and what they are enjoying
  • what your child needs more help with.

Before talking to your child's teacher or school it may be helpful to write down what you would like to discuss.

Helping your child with their learning at home

Routine

Some children find changes in routine upsetting. If your child feels this way, they will need your help to establish new routines to signpost their day. If you need further support you can contact your child's school or a health practitioner.

Time to understand and respond

Your child may need more time to process instructions and complete tasks. Sometimes they may need to hear or read instructions more than once to understand. They might need time to respond to questions in discussion.

Make sure your child has the time they need when learning at home. That may mean pausing and replaying recorded/video content and checking for understanding before moving onto the next task.

Learning activities 

Your child has a range of strengths and abilities that they bring to their learning.  They may require greater support with some tasks than others.  Some things for you to consider include:

Check back in

Where your child can be more independent with a learning activity, help them to get started.

When you can move away, let them know when you will check back in with them and answer any questions they may have.

Building and sustaining motivation

Consider your child's needs and discuss with their teacher about when to do different tasks and types of learning. Think about how many tasks your child can do before needing a change or break.

Some learning activities are best done in order as they are related or build on each other. Other times, you can do tasks that your child finds more enjoyable to build motivation before progressing to more challenging tasks. 

Taking a break and time management

Make sure you are aware of how long a learning activity is expected to take and identify appropriate times for breaks.

Breaking down larger learning activities into parts will help your child learning more efficiently and enjoyably. Use a timer on a phone or tablet or the oven timer to schedule time to spend on specific tasks. Some students may be able to do this for themselves.

Record progress

Use charts to record progress against the day's learning activities.

This could be a task list with a simple tick or sticker against completed items. These can be made at home on the computer or downloaded from the internet. You and your child could make one together using pen and paper. This is one way to record completion of learning tasks and provide a sense of accomplishment for you and your child.

Finding information and advice

Knowing more about your child's disability can help you make decisions about the support they need.

The Disability Standards for Education guide for families has information on your child's rights.

All Play Learn has resources and information to help you support your child through early childhood and school.

You can also learn about specific disabilities and support organisations who can help:

Find general support for parents from:

Phone services for parents

There are phone services for parents to get advice for different family issues.

If you have questions about learning from home, call our advice phone line for parents on 1800 338 663.

If you need technical support for a loaned device or internet connectivity, contact 1800 080 082 (8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday).