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Does Your Grandchild Need To Be In A Special Education Class?

June 25, 2014

Many children with disabilities require special education. Navigating which school options are best for special needs students is challenging. Grandparents raising children with disabilities have an additional disadvantage; the Canadian school system has changed drastically in recent decades.


Research and awareness have led to new special education programs. Ultimately, with a gap in age and understanding, many grandparents feel uninformed about what options are available for their special needs students and how schools can assist them.

The purpose of this post is to guide grandparents raising children with disabilities as they enroll their special needs students in public school. Also, learn how to engage with teachers and inform them of the unique caregiving situation. Finally, collect tips on how to encourage special education success at home.

Enroll Special Education Students in Public School

As the primary guardian and caregiver of a disabled grandchild, it is important to enroll the child in a school and classroom that fits his or her needs. These days, many children with developmental and physical disabilities follow standard curriculum that is set at a different pace than their peers. Most public schools have teacher aids that help individual students with learning challenges. As a result, a number of public schools are capable of educating most children with disabilities.

To sign a grandchild up at a new public school, the following items may be required:

– A Birth Certificate
– Proof of Immunization
– School Records

During this initiation process, it is wise for grandparents to inform school staff of the unique caregiving relationship. It is important for grandparents to secure proper authorization status whether or not legal guardianship is in place. After all, it is the responsibility of the caregiver to oversee a child’s educational development. With freedom to discuss a child’s progress openly, special education needs are more likely to be fulfilled.

Creating Relationships with School Staff

Teachers ought to be aware of a child’s living situation. This may guide the educator to know how to engage the student and interact with his or her grandparents. Having open communication with the special education teacher can greatly advance a child’s sense of support.

In addition, being involved in the school is equally important. By attending school functions, open houses, PTA meetings, and parent-teacher conferences, a grandparent’s commitment is acknowledged and admired. This may lead to forming relationships with teachers, administration, aids, and parents. These ties will greatly increase a grandparent’s sense of support within the school community.

Tips for Encouraging Special Education Success at Home

– Be positive when talking about school events, assignments, and classes
– Regularly ask what the child is learning
– Grandparents can invite children to teach them what they are learning
– Let the child know that schooling is about more than grades
– Layout realistic goals and long-term education plans
– Keep a quiet home during study hours
– Be available to offer homework help
– Read with the child
– Have a regular routine that is followed every school day

Caring for a child with special needs is a great experience when the right system of support is in place. Often times, a school can offer this to grandparents raising children with disabilities. When looking at schooling options, it is okay to ask teachers and administrators for guidance. It is likely that the school has helped grandparents in similar situations before. Aside from understanding individual circumstances, they may have programs specially designed for this caregiving relationship.

Additional Resources for Grandparents Raising Children with Disabilities

The Learning Disabilities Association of BC is an organization that advocates on behalf on special needs children.

One more resource-

Read “School Politics”

Image made available by Harry Doyle on Flickr through Creative Common Licenses.

*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority.  Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.

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