How you can support your child with additional needs at home

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 education provider

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

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

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

Helping your child with their learning

Parents often ask how they can help with their child’s learning at home.

You could begin by talking to your child’s teacher about an individual education plan to guide their learning at school and at home.

Once your child’s individual education plan has been developed, there are ways you can work with your child to support their plan including:

  • helping with homework
  • engaging a tutor
  • reading at home
  • building self-confidence
  • using online resources.

Helping with homework

To help your child with their homework, you can talk to their teacher about:

How long the homework should take

It can take longer for students with learning difficulties to complete tasks. Talk to the teacher about ways to make the task more manageable for your child.

When the task was set and when it is due

A work planner can help your child see when each piece of homework needs to be done.

The purpose of the homework

For example – if the homework is to study for a test, ask the teacher what your child needs to revise so that homework time is used well.

You can also:

  • talk to your child about the best way to approach their homework and come up with a plan
  • encourage a regular, daily time for homework
  • provide a quiet place to work
  • make sure that their desk is clear of clutter
  • provide a work planner so they can see what they are working on and when it is due
  • make sure they have all the equipment they need so they don’t have to keep getting up
  • help them organise their projects or homework
  • provide a comfortable chair and think about lighting, heating and cooling
  • consider if a timer would help them stay focused
  • encourage your child to proof-read their work. You could do this with them.

Reading at home

Reading to your child can help build their language and vocabulary. You can also borrow audio books from your local library.

Listening to your child read can also be helpful. It’s often best for the books they read at home to be a level lower than the ones they’re working on at school. This can encourage them to practice and show you their progress.

Building self-confidence

Your child’s self-confidence can have an impact on their learning. To support them you can:

  • help them understand that they're learning and not expected to know everything – all students are different
  • remind them of their progress – this helps them see the purpose of their work
  • remind them that learning at school is not just about literacy and numeracy – they’re also learning important skills like getting along with others and managing daily challenges.

Find more information about ways to support your child's self-confidence and build resilience on the Kids Matter website.     

Using online resources

You can use online resources to support your child with learning difficulties. This includes the Victorian Literacy Teaching Toolkit and the Victorian Numeracy Portal.

There are also commercial products on the market. Talk to your child’s teacher about any products that may help your child.

Engaging a tutor

You may want to provide extra support for your child at home. If this is a tutor, they should work with your child’s teacher to make sure they support the work done in school and your child’s individual education plan.

It is a good idea to check the tutor’s qualifications. It’s important they have the right training and resources to support your child.

Finding information and advice

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

Early intervention services may provide training and education sessions for parents.

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

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

Find general support for parents from:

Support for parents  

The Strengthening Parent Support Program helps families of children with disability and developmental delay get together to share common experiences and concerns. 

Phone services for parents

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