"I've been thinking about home schooling my 6-year-old Aspergers child. Are there any critical issues I should examine before making this move? I'm undecided at this point and want to make the right decision."
When faced with questions about how to educate your son or daughter, the challenges become all that much more difficult if you have a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism. Home schooling is an option for many children, and it could be the best educational choice for a child with Aspergers.
The first decision to make is whether or not the family has the resources of time necessary to home school the Aspergers student. Special learning techniques may need to be learned, and parents who home school need lots of patience and a level head.
It may be interesting to try your child out at a public or private schooling situation before deciding on home schooling. Some Aspergers children fit fairly well into the classroom, while others are quickly labeled “freaks” and are shunned by their classmates. Teachers of regular classrooms may not have the time or energy to deal with the intricacies of teaching an Aspergers student and, by observing what’s happening in the classroom, a parent may find that home schooling is one of the few viable options.
Some challenges of home schooling include dealing with a child that is a visual learner who might not learn as well by listening. Some Aspergers children become so obsessed about having everything perfect that they will throw away papers that have mistakes on them. Aspergers kids often have very narrow focuses of interest so that the parent-teacher needs to find ways to tie in other subjects or to teach other subjects in a way that is interesting to the child.
There are always critics who argue that home schooled children lack the necessary social skills that children who go to a regular school get on a daily basis. With Aspergers children, social skills must often be taught in a structured setting, and parents have the opportunity to do this and to explore putting their child on a sports team or other social organization (e.g., band or music programs), which will give them social skills without overwhelming them.
In general, a parent who teaches to the innate interests of their child will not only be successful, but will have succeeded in giving their child a better education than they would get in a noisy chaotic classroom.