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Does Online Learning Work for Kids with Disabilities?

Does Online Learning Work for Kids with Disabilities?

Monday, November 07, 2022

Can online learning work for students with disabilities? Of course (work) it can! And in most cases, it can be even better!

And yes, there are those children with disabilities out there who love school, those who thrive in all aspects; you know, those social butterflies who wish summer break wasn't a thing. To the parents of these students, we salute you. 

Now, for those of you parenting a child with a disability, a child who is floundering in the sea of mass academia, you're not alone. And it's NOT your child’s fault! Whether your child’s disability is minimal or profound, they do have strengths; and with those strengths, they CAN be a successful learner.


Your child has the potential to thrive in school; however, the “school” in which they blossom needn’t look like the brick-and-mortar building with the flag waving over the front walkway.  You know, the one with the playground and the soccer field in the back. 

In this article, we’re discussing why online learning can work for kids with disabilities and different learning abilities. 

Online Learning Can Be Beneficial for Students with Learning Disabilities 

Your child’s success may not come from the classroom setting where conforming to the same learning techniques as the other thirty students are rewarded, where being the same makes for a peaceful setting in the eyes of the teacher.  

Even in a classroom where a variety of techniques are implemented, the very strengths that make your child unique can be lost or forgotten by others, or even worse, by your child.  

So why is your child not thriving in the environment you send them off to every day? Why are they begging you to stay home? Why is the school nurse calling you with those psychosomatic complaints when you know he was perfectly fine at home? What is up with all those derogatory class DoJo messages? What is the culprit culminating these events?    

Could it be that we throw our child to the wolves every day where more harm than growth occurs?  As adults, we live by the concept of making ourselves happy when we are not. If we are unhappy or unsuccessful, we should make a change, right? 

Signs You Should Consider Online School for Your Child

We tell ourselves, “if nothing changes, nothing changes,” yet, we don’t allow our children to live by the same rules.  We think sending them off to school every day is the right thing to do, but is it?  

We can’t keep blaming our child, the teacher, or even the disability for educational failures. We keep making excuses when it is clear the educational system our society knows simply might not be the system that works for your child.    

  • Is it possible your child could learn better without having to wake up before 6 am every morning? 
  • Could your child’s brain become more absorbent when in a more comfortable environment?
  • Could the stress of not having to ask to go to the bathroom make their mind more open to today’s history lesson? 
  • Could the lack of anxiety over the teacher calling on you take away a barrier to learning?  
  • Is it possible that knowing you won’t be judged for your disability be more conducive to success?
  • Do we think if we make them miserable over and over again in an uncomfortable environment, they will have an ah-ha moment, and poof, they will overcome their obstacles? 

When you're asking yourself whether learning from home is best for your child, also ask yourself if the modifications needed for their success can be provided. Modifications for children with disabilities frequently include extended time for completion of tasks, assignments, or testing; ‘breaks during work time’; ‘testing in a separate room from peers’; ‘questions read aloud by computer’; ‘student may read work aloud to self,’ etc. 

How Online Learning Can Help Students Thrive at a School Like Ignite Learning Academy

1. Online Learning Is Tailored to Your Child’s Needs

With e-learning, those modifications are inherently built into the student-specific school day with little thought.  And who is going to ensure student-specific needs are met more than a parent or guardian?  

While in the school setting, students with modifications many times are required to leave their classroom in order for those modifications to be implemented; the process alone can cause the student undue anxiety or embarrassment. 

And frequently, when the student returns to the classroom, the teacher has already introduced new content, creating even more stress when the pupil realizes they are already behind before they can get started. It can be a vicious cycle.     

2. Online Learning Can Be More Efficient

In addition to other advantages of a virtual program is the gift of time. With an online program, your child is giving up educational time for morning announcements, attendance roll calls, transitions to and from other areas in the school building, waiting in the cafeteria line, time being herded through restroom breaks, and time lost while your teacher assists others. 

Oh, and the bus ride or car line time your child forgoes both in the morning and evening?  And, if you have a child who takes forever to get ready in the morning or for you to get them ready, that is another hour or so for you both. 

The valuable time your child gains in the course of a school day while learning from their home is priceless, and can be applied to their individualized learning, quality family time, or even the downtime needed for our brains to reset themselves.  

3. Online Learning Does Not Have to Diminish Socialization

Last, if socialization is what’s holding you back from e-learning or homeschooling, don’t sell your child short. Mass academia definitely teaches you that you must wait in line, but so does the grocery store.  And when it comes to core values, those come from home anyway. 

The social needs of the online learner can be met through community youth groups, clubs, volunteer work, travel, church, and recreational sports leagues. These days, many school systems allow students living in their district to participate in school-based sports, even if homeschooled. 

You can always ask Evan Michael O’Dorny, a previous National Spelling Bee winner, where he went to school. He will likely tell you his kitchen table.   

At Ignite Learning Academy, we have developed solutions to help students with disabilities thrive. Ignite Learning Academy is a mastery-based school, which means your child will never find themselves in a circumstance where they move forward in the curriculum without a solid grasp on the preceding skills.  

Education is for everyone! In-person learning? Maybe not. If you have questions about how your child can grow at Ignite Learning Academy, reach out to us today!