Homeschool Special-Needs Conference

Especially Designed for Parents of Struggling Learners

Special-Needs Conference

For Children Who Need Extra Help

If you have a child who has–or you suspect may have–a learning disability or special need, come to the convention for support, resources, and information provided by homeschool parents who have walked this path!

Do you have a struggling learner?

Special-Needs Seminar – Only at the Convention


If you are homeschooling a child with a special need or learning difference—or who just struggles to “get it”–you are not alone! This year’s special needs track has been expanded into an all-day seminar that offers a keynote, three separate breakout events, a resource fair, and more.

No need to pre-register for the seminar. It is free with your paid convention registration! Click the tabs below for more information.

Survive and Thrive in Your Homeschool  – Kathy Kuhl, B10

While our children have different needs, gifts, and circumstances, as homeschooling parents we share concerns, struggles, and joys. How can we refocus and refresh so we can help our children more effectively? How can we move our homeschools from surviving to thriving? Veteran homeschooler and author Kathy Kuhl shares strategies, encouragement, and practical tips.

Overwhelmed by the size of the convention? Or maybe it’s your first time. Look for the “Welcome Tours” sign in the hallway outside the conference area, and meet up with our Welcome mentors. We’ll give you a tour of the convention center, recommend places to begin, and answer your questions about the convention and homeschooling! You can also stop by the HEAV Tables for answers to any homeschooling or convention question!

(At 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., tours will begin outside Room E-10 and E-11, just outside the How-to-Begin-Homeschooling and high school workshops.)

  • Planning Homeschool with Learning Challenges ~ Kathy Kuhl, B10
    Your child struggles with some part of learning or perhaps has given up. How do you help them begin again? How do you establish wise goals? How will you tell when you’ve reached them? Learn how to work around areas of weakness, strengthen them, and adapt your curriculum. Get tips on how to keep your and your child going.
  • Testing Accommodations & Options ~ Sarah Olbris, B11
    Did you know that in Virginia we have options for end-of-year testing?  In this workshop, Sarah talks about the options and alternatives that Virginia allows for end-of-year assessments, as well as the accommodations that can be made for your child with special needs.
  • Learning Accommodations for Special Needs Learners ~Dr. Kenneth Westcott, B12
    Many otherwise bright children struggle in their schoolwork each year or seem to be “smart in everything but school.” The American Optometric Association reports that at least 60% of these problem learners have undiagnosed vision problems that significantly affect their academic performance. Most startling, nearly all of these children have perfect eyesight. Dr. Westcott will discuss how visual development impacts learning and how to work around these visual problems in a home school setting.
  • Using Charlotte Mason with Special Needs Children~Sonya Shaffer, B13 
    Yes, you can use Charlotte Mason principles and methods with a special needs child. Sonya shares what she has learned from more than 15 years of teaching her daughter with autism, pervasive developmental delays, and language processing issues.

Meet with exhibitors who provide specific products and services for children with special needs or learning differences!

  1. Autism Society Central Virginia
  2. Organized Advocacy
  3. RCG Health Network
  4. ShillerLearning: Montessori at Home
  5. Train Your Brain RVA
  6. Learn Differently
  7. LearningRX
  8. Brain Balance
  9. Brain Bridges Educational Therapy
  10. Coralie Griffith
  • Hacking the ADHD Brain: Help Your Neurodiverse Child Thrive in School and in Life ~ Dr. Amy Moore, B10
    In this interactive workshop, Dr. Moore will share tips for working with children who have attention problems. Based on neuroscience research, she will reveal surprising facts about the ADHD brain that will help homeschooling parents better connect with and teach these often challenging kids. Dr. Moore will facilitate fun activities that show how cognitive skills work together in thinking and learning, weaknesses in these skills impact learning, parents can help their kids manage the big emotions associated with ADHD, and brain training is a promising approach to remediating the many challenges faced by kids with ADHD. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of the differences between ADHD and neurotypical brains, the cognitive deficits in ADHD, and actionable tips to use when working with children who have ADHD or related attention problems.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders: A look through the eyes of ASD ~ Dr. Kenneth Westcott, B11
    Many children with autism display behaviors or “stims” that indicate visual problems, often despite 20/20 eyesight. Several of these are so characteristic that these behaviors are used to diagnose autism. Join Dr. Westcott for an informative discussion on visual development and effective treatments for these conditions.
  • Lessons From The Valley ~ Sonya Shaffer, B12
    After diagnosing her youngest daughter with autism, Sonya found herself in a spiritual valley. Though your valley may look different, the giants she encountered there may seem eerily similar to your own. Learn what Scriptures the Lord used to help her overcome five giants in the valley: the giants named Fear, Faltering Faith, Uncertainty, Guilt, and Self-Pity.
  • One Size Does Not Fit All! Tips and Tricks for Adapting Curriculum for Struggling or Special Needs, B13 Learners ~ Julia Nalle
    Homeschooling can seem so simple. You did well in school and usually behaved well enough, so how hard can teaching be? Buy a whiteboard and dry-erase markers, hang a wall map and some posters in your dining room, and go to work. But then real life intervenes. Your wiggler and giggler can’t seem to settle; books and worksheets send your struggling reader into orbit; your otherwise complacent children raise the flag of revolt; and you find yourself face-planted before the Lord. What happens when your children don’t fit the mold? How do you respond when their learning style is the precise opposite of yours? Join Julia Nalle, mother to three adopted and two biological kids, co-writer of BiblioPlan and teacher for 35-plus years, as she facilitates an honest and heartfelt discussion for parents who are scratching their heads over their struggling or special-needs learners. In this session, she discusses why your child may be struggling and shares practical, fun strategies for helping your child.

Meet with exhibitors who provide specific products and services for children with special needs or learning differences!

  1. Autism Society Central Virginia
  2. Organized Advocacy
  3. RCG Health Network
  4. ShillerLearning: Montessori at Home
  5. Train Your Brain MD
  6. Learn Differently
  7. LearningRX
  8. Brain Balance
  9. Brain Bridges Educational Therapy
  10. Coralie Griffith

ROOM B-11 to B-13

Choose a topic—or two!—and talk about what is on your mind! Two consecutive discussions will run during this session, so you have a chance to participate in two different topics.

ADHD – with Amy Moore of LearningRX

Autism – with Sonya Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason

Testing – with Sarah Olbris  of the Testing Lady

Adapting Curriculum – with Julia Nalle of Biblioplan

Transitions – Kathy Kuhl of Learn Differently 

Dyslexia/Dysgraphia – Judi Munday

Thank you to our special-needs conference sponsor!

How to Add Events

Add your choice of events when you register for the convention.
Already registered for the convention? Add an event for yourself or a family member easily by calling the HEAV office, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 804-278-9200.

Already registered for the convention?  Add an event for yourself or your family easily through this online form. Questions? Call the HEAV office, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 804-278-9200.