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Online Programs for Kids With Learning Disabilities

By Tricia Ballad ; Updated June 13, 2017

Computer-based instruction is often ideal for kids with learning disabilities. They can replay an educational game or video as many times as they need, and can pause it when they need time to digest information before moving on. For some kids, online programs let them focus on learning without the negative social distractions they encounter in school.

Literacy Programs

Literacy is the ability to read fluently and understand what was read. It is both the cornerstone of education and one of the skills many kids with learning disabilities struggle with. There are many valuable online literacy programs such as starfall.com and Reading Planet, that teach everything from basic phonics instruction to critical thinking and reading comprehension. Online dictionaries such as dictionary.com are helpful tools, because they isolate the information. Kids who struggle with reading don't have to wade through pages of tiny print trying to find the one word they need, losing track of what they were originally reading.

ADD/ADHD Programs

Kids with attention problems have a hard time learning in a typical environment where they are expected to sit quietly while a teacher lectures. Online programs are an effective way for these kids to learn. They tend to be visually interesting and move quickly from one point of interest to the next, keeping easily distracted kids engaged.

For younger students, pbskids.org and jumpstart.com offer effective multimedia games that teach reading and other basic academic skills. Older kids may find National Geographic Kids useful for research and reinforcing the material and skills that were taught in class.

Online Schools

If your learning disabled child is not thriving in a typical school environment alternative online home schools are available in some areas. These schools cover all the same material that a public or private school would teach, but they do it in ways that accommodate your child's unique strengths. Most online classes are taught in interactive classrooms that allow the students to converse with each other and the teacher–just as they would in a regular classroom.

Before enrolling your child in an online school, research your state's requirements for alternative education, including home schooling. Ask about the school's accreditation and staff support for your student, just as you would with any private school. Finally, decide whether an online classroom would allow your child to excel by removing barriers, or simply let him hide from conflicts at school that he could eventually work through.

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