In the home-school environment, routine can be maintained because there is not the impact of the needs of other kids or other interruptions. Further, you have the ability to teach to your youngster's strengths that may not be readily recognized by others within the school system.
As I am sure you know, it is often not the individual teachers that are at fault – but overcrowded and under-funded schools are often the bigger problem.
It may also help your youngster avoid the effects of bullying that is often associated with any youngster who is different. A great deal of research indicates the problems of bullying in Aspergers (high-functioning autistic) kids can be very significant and of course very damaging.
The youngster with Aspergers lacks social skills and the ability to fit in with their peers, yet they usually crave this type of interaction. So this can be a very problematic area for a youngster with Aspergers.
All kids learn a great deal of their social skills in school and it is no different for the youngster with Aspergers. Interacting with other kids will not only provide them with the opportunity to develop some social skills, but develop life-long skills that will be important to them later in life.
At some point in his or her life, your youngster will need to develop skills that will help them interact in society. They will also need to develop the ability to make decisions in your absence. It is not likely that they will have the opportunity to learn these skills in home school, unless you are very active with other social skills groups.
So this element of your youngster's development is one that you must address and consider when thinking about home-schooling. This can include looking at suitable youth clubs, sports and leisure groups that your youngster may be interested in.
You will also need to work on emotions, social situations, Feelings etc. as part of the home school curriculum. This can be through discussion, emotions cards, role-playing, using specially designed computer software and obviously getting out there in to the community for real life lessons and social skills testing.
It is also important to remember that there are certain protocols and legal requirements to follow for home schooling which you will need to check with your local education board.
Home-schooling can be excellent as it can better meet your youngster's needs and help to reduce bullying. But social skills and interaction also need to develop and this has to be properly considered for the home-schooled youngster.
As well as this any parent must take good advice on the subject and thoroughly research before taking such a significant step.
Home-schooling is a blessing and allows you to feel confident knowing that you are giving your Aspergers child the absolute best education possible. There can be specific and unique challenges when home-schooling an Aspergers child.
Things will change gradually, but they will change. Sometimes fear can sneak into your mind (e.g., fear about what the future holds for your Aspergers child; fear that he won't make friends; fear of what others might think), but try to block these thoughts out and only focus on what you can do today - just today - that will make your youngster progress a little and connect with you and the world around them a little bit more. Every progression is huge, and if there is any step back, which there probably will be, it is not permanent.
You probably chose homeschooling for your Aspergers child because:
- he was being bullied to the point of depression
- you knew that you could reach him in a way that nobody else could
- you knew that you could give him the best education he could get
- the school he was going to could not help or support him
These are all great reasons why you have decided to home-school your Aspergers child.
Here are some tips that really help with the day:
1. GET INVOLVED WITH HORSE THERAPY. Horses can work wonders for the emotional wellbeing of your Aspergers child. Horses can really connect with him in a way that is hard for him to do with people. It is almost like your Aspergers child can read their movements and communicate with them without words. It's great.
2. GO OUTSIDE OFTEN AND GET INTO NATURE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN WITH THEM. Aspergers kids have a deep connection to nature and the natural world. They commune with the animals and the plants, and feel connected to this world when they are around them. Go on hikes, take your child to see a waterfall, take him into the woods for a nature drawing, or just to sit and listen to the trees. They LOVE it.
3. INVEST IN ZOME TOOLS, LEOGS, K-NEX, OR ANY BUILDING TOY. Not only are these toys extremely therapeutic, they really get your Aspergers child to slow down, create, and focus. I don't know what we would do without them, and when our grandson is taking a break from his schoolwork, these toys really feed his need to use his hands and make something.
4. MAKE ART A BIG PART OF YOUR DAY. Arts and crafts are healing and really help your Aspergers child connect to the world around them. It does wonders for my grandson to have him creating a project and using his hands to mold something out of clay. They immediately calm and focus in a way that they are not able to do normally. My top choices for art are: CLAY AND POTTERY, PAINTING, and BASKETRY.
5. TRY WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT TO KEEP A RIGID STRUCTURE. All kids crave structure, but a child with Aspergers desperately needs it. It is structure during their day that allows them to feel confident that all is well in the world and that they can be sure that you know what is going on. It helps them to relax and helps them to trust you. If your Aspergers child is anything like my grandson, he will resist this structure, especially if there wasn't enough structure before. Just keep reinforcing the structure. Keep doing it. Make a schedule for the day and post it on the wall where your child can see it. If he is not reading well yet, read him the schedule aloud at the same time every morning before you start the day. Make sure that he knows that you are in control and that you know what is going on.
The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook