I have multiple kids on the autism spectrum but it was my oldest who had the most severe symptoms, at least when she was younger. She started therapies in public school at preschool age. In fact, she was three when she got her diagnosis and also started getting speech therapy from the local public school. She was completely non-verbal at the time. She then went to Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st grade in public school. After 2nd grade, we actually started considering homeschool and this would turn out to be a very good decision, at least for this child and the way she learns.
We made the decision to homeschool for a variety of reasons. First, my daughter was getting a lot of outside therapy services at the time. While she did get services in school and she had an IEP, she was getting various therapies such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, and more outside of the school setting. We were regularly having to pull her out of classes for these therapies and I was already having to supplement her education at home and give her a lot of additional tutoring at home.
She was having sensory and OCD issues in class and her teachers were reporting problems with concentration. She complained that she would get bored or distracted often in between classes and tasks in her public school. We decided to give homeschooling a try and it worked so much better. She was able to get her work done in a fraction of the time she did versus sitting 8 hours in a desk each day. We were also able to build a curriculum around the things that already interested her. This made her more excited about school, as it didn’t really feel like school at all.
Here are some benefits to homeschooling your child with autism:
- They can work at their own pace.
- Avoid over-stimuli.
- You have more curriculum choices.
- You can spend more one-on-one time with your child.
- There’s less wasted time.
- You know they are safe and getting the proper diet.
- You can create a fitness routine that suits your ASD child.
- You can operate on a schedule that suits your ASD child.
When considering whether or not you should homeschool your child with autism, take time to weigh all the pros and cons. Talk to your child’s doctors and therapists. You should also consider whether or not you will have the time, energy and skill set to devote to your child’s special education.
It’s easy to get frustrated as a parent of a child with autism when you feel like the public school is not teaching as they should. However, avoid just yanking your child out and homeschooling out of anger or frustration. This isn’t a decision you should make on emotions. Instead, you should ask yourself what your child most needs to learn right now and if you are qualified to present/teach it, and if homeschooling is the best environment for your child to learn.
It worked for us until high school and then she actually decided she wanted to go back to public school. She did this for two years before deciding she wanted to homeschool again. As her needs change, her requirements from a school change. Keeping some flexibility to this with your child with autism will help both of you succeed.
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