Teaching Latin to Children with Special Needs


From Cheryl Swope | September 5, 2020 | For Special Needs, On Classical Education, Teaching Resources

We give thanks for the tremendous honor indicated in the photo: having received the Excellence in Education Award four times. Voted #1 for Special Learners!

Long before the release of Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child and the subsequent Simply Classical Curriculum, a homeschooling mother named Barbara posted this message on the Memoria Press Discussion Forum for Special Learners, summarized by the question: Can you teach Latin to a child with special needs?

“I homeschool my two daughters, ages 12 & 13, both with learning disabilities in the form of Auditory Processing disorder,
one with both APD and other sensory issues! I have been researching Latin programs.

I have avoided Latin thus far because of their academic challenges, but I do not want to keep putting off the teaching of Latin.

Unless you could suggest otherwise, I am contemplating beginning with First Form Latin.

Please advise as trying one more program that might prove TOO challenging and therefore going by the wayside with other curriculum
is something I so want to avoid!!!

Anyone else struggle with challenged kids? Am I wrong in that children with LD cannot be taught Latin and the rest of the Classical
courses (logic, rhetoric)? Tell me I’m wrong!”

Short Answer: Yes!
On that day and in the intervening eight years, we have answered this common question many times for many different students. I had asked myself the question so many years ago: Can you teach Latin to children with special needs?

Nearly always, the answer is YES! The details of the implementation depends on the child, the age, and the condition(s) or challenges the child faces, but almost always the child can, at least, study, learn, and benefit from) introductory Latin.

We are sharing “Best of…” answers to this and many more questions on our Patreon page, an emerging resource to help families and schools. Uniquely, we approach children with special needs from the understanding of truth, goodness, and beauty within a classical education. Join us to add to the discussions, ask your own questions, and find compiled responses shared nowhere else.

The muse for this topic is my daughter, who is studying Latin in our home again this year at her request. Look for the topic “Teaching Latin to Children with Special Needs.” You will find her with her Latin books, as she worked ahead one afternoon while waiting for me to join her. As many of you know, m daughter, now 25, has autism, learning disabilities, medical conditions (heart, kidney, neurological), and schizophrenia, yet she loves words. In our home, Latin, theology, and music have been the three most influential areas of study in her life. Now it is our life’s work to help other children like her.

Ready to teach?
If you need no persuasion and are ready to teach, consider these unique Simply Classical resources for teaching Latin to children with autism, specific learning disabilities, and other special learning needs. We suggest beginning as soon as English phonics are reasonably strong. No previous experience is necessary on the part of the teacher, but we recommend studying ahead as far as you can to know where you’re going! Materials are written at a level suitable for self-teaching on the part of the adult.

If you have questions or would like a more thorough, private consultation for your own child or student(s), contact us at cherylswopeconsultingllc@gmail.com.


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