HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

Search MyAspergersChild.com

Loading...

Home-Schooling the Aspergers Child: Pros and Cons

Question

The public school hasn't worked for my Aspergers daughter because she wasn't diagnosed until recently, and they didn't know how to work with her. Consequently, her needs weren't met, and their ignorance resulted in what I would call 'abuse'. The school refused to allow her to call home last Monday, and they put her into a room to allow her to compose herself, which terrified her.

Now my daughter has a very bad feeling about this school. Intuitively, she believes something terrible is going to happen to her physically if she attends school there. She expressed it was not anxiety like she normally feels ... just her intuition. However, the school is pushing for her to attend and therefore anxiety has kicked in. We attempted yesterday, but when we arrived, she went into meltdown form. She refused to leave the car.

She has lost any trust they had previously built with her. She was traumatized and they didn't get it. She feels unheard and disrespected. Also, the event was a trigger from the past school district. Based on their reaction Monday, she feels confident they don't get it and therefore she isn't safe in that environment. She fears she won't be able to protect herself in an environment if she doesn't feel heard. Now she is convinced if she feels unsafe and needs to call home, they will deny her. So, I'm struggling with this issue. I honestly don't know if she has the ability to overcome her fears and do the work required to work through this challenge.

We're supposed to meet at the school tomorrow. I doubt I will be able to get my daughter to go with me. Our plan is to sit down and outline our concerns. Honestly, based on their reaction and response to the situation Monday, I don't think they understand the diagnoses and how to deal with her effectively. However, my daughter wants me to withdraw her and home-school. I surrender ... if that is a part of my journey then I'll take it on. However, I just want to be sure that I have exhausted all possibilities and know that this is the right path for her.

Any feedback you have would be greatly appreciated.

Answer

This may not be the answer you were hoping for, but given all that you’ve said, I can say without a doubt that there would not be a better candidate for home-schooling than your daughter. However, you are certainly not alone on this.

Growing numbers of parents of children with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism are citing dissatisfaction with the level of their child's education as the primary reason for homeschooling. Most mothers and fathers in this group have had a child in public and/or private schools, but decided to home-school because of the lack of individual attention, inadequate teaching methods, and declining academic standards, as well as poor school performance by children that excel at home. Also, concerns about school safety have increased in recent years, resulting in an increase in the number of kids who begin home-schooling during the middle and high school years.

Having said this, I’m going to shift the conversation over to talking about the pros and cons of home-schooling so that, in case you decide to go this route, you can at least make an informed decision. Let’s look at the cons first…

Cons of home-schooling—

Home-schooling does not produce angels. Just because you take your daughter out of the current school system does not mean that she is going to immediately change some of her undesirable traits. If you decide that your main reason for home-schooling is because she presents a discipline problem for the teacher, don’t necessarily think that her attitude will change when you teach her. If, for example, she is accustomed to whining and getting her way on the little things around the home, she will not do an about-face just because you are the teacher.

You simply may not be able to gain enough control to be able to home-school. Please be realistic about this reality of home-schooling. I know of one mother who was angry with the school because the school always seems to think that her Aspie was involved in any unfortunate incident. The mother, without trying to get to the root of the problem, jerked the youngster out of the school and decided to home-school. There was little if any teaching that took place. The child rode his bicycle seemingly all day while the regular students were in school. The mother was simply too busy with the other kids to make him do his lessons. I tried very hard to help this particular Aspergers child the following year when his mother put him back in public school, but he was not willing to give up the previous freedom that he had enjoyed. His attendance was very sporadic. So, do NOT take on the task of home-schooling as a last resort because you are angry with some teacher or the school system!

Home-schooling is not free and the government does not provide home-school vouchers. The cost varies with each program. In some programs you purchase workbooks and teacher's editions for each subject (call around and find other parents that are home-schooling because they may be ready to sell you their teacher's edition or the text at a reduced rate.)

If you decide to do home-schooling, you need to reduce the amount of time watching TV. This does not mean that the TV must stay off entirely, but you can use some of the evening TV time to enrich your daughter’s reading. It is very healthy for a child to see parents reading at night. Television does not stimulate good reading habits. The youngster needs to see that movies are seldom as good as the book. Former “television time” may be the time that some of the household duties can be done.

Some home-schooled children are not required to work on a time frame (not a good idea with Aspergers kids since they crave structure). If your daughter should return to a regular classroom at some point in the future, that teacher does not have "all day" for her to work 5 math problems. (If you home-school, it will be foolish to allow unlimited time - or no time frame - to complete a task. This habit will be carried into the work force when she becomes an adult). Many times the home-schooler can’t cope with the 50-minute class frames that are prevalent in a regular classroom.

Another "con" concerning home-schooling is the fact that there is usually a state guideline for home-schooling. Some states require home-schoolers to take a standardized test.

Also, your daughter will suffer academically if your commitment is only to teach the subjects that she has an interest in.

You must carefully weigh the challenge of time. You may barely have enough time to do what you are already obligated to do. There are going to be days that you are going to feel overwhelmed and wonder if life is passing you by. Home-schooling is a job.

The largest "con" for home-schooling is the fact that there is little time for you to “distress.” For example, there is no such thing as "I'll be there in a minute” as you try to talk on the phone. Answering the phone devalues the importance of home-schooling. It is an open invitation to losing control because of the interruption. For many moms and dads, phone calls control their day. Not answering the phone requires a special kind of discipline. It is necessary for the home to have an answering machine (however, the answering machine will not help your school day if you are constantly running to the machine to see who called.) Thus, turn the ringer off if possible during the school day. A fax or an email may work better in some cases. You must be serious about your new job of teaching if you decide to home-school. Once you establish this rule, calls will diminish during school hours. 

Pros of home-schooling—

Many Aspergers families enjoy the flexibility that home-schooling provides. The child can learn about things she is interested in and at a time in her life when she is ready to learn (i.e., no preconceived schedule forces her ahead or holds her back).

Your daughter will learn about the 'real world' by being a part of it (no artificial settings are needed to 'provide exposure'). She can receive a superior education attuned specifically to her own needs, learning style, personality, and interests (at far less cost than that of a private school). Being allowed to learn at her desired pace with a minimum of stress, your daughter will have the time and space to internalize and use what she learns.

Some home-school programs offer classroom videos that the youngster uses and actually sees a classroom teacher teaching the lesson. This is especially good for Jr. High and High School and for technical subjects such as advanced math. To offset the cost, you may want to consider the fact that your youngster does not need to have such an extensive wardrobe. These savings could apply toward some of the school supplies. You will save money on school clothes, gym clothes, uniforms, or unnecessary school fees.

Also, home-schooling families spend a lot amount of time together living, learning and playing. They have the opportunity to develop a depth of understanding and a commitment to the family that is difficult to attain when family members spend their days going in separate directions.

Lastly, another nice side benefit to home-schooling is that vacations and other outings can be planned for times when the family is ready - and often when the crowds are smaller or the costs are lower.

Good luck in your decision making process!

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns and Tantrums at Home and School

 
COMMENTS:

*   Anonymous said... I've got two boys with aspergers and have had serious problems with my eldests school he's nearly 16 and they have never helped him in any way with his autism yet my five year olds school has been fantastic in every way both schools are next to each other yet seem so far apart in their actions

*   Anonymous said... We are in our third year of homeschooling our 11 year old son. Our only regret is that we allowed him to be abused and ignored by the school system as long as we did. Homeschooling is not for everyone and it is not easy, but I can honestly say that the worst day homeschooling is better than our best day in public school. My son thanks me quite frequently for homeschooling him and tells me now how horrible his experience in school was. I decided I could waste all of my energy and resources on fighting an educational system that was not trustworthy and did not really care for my child and ultimately get no where, or I could take that energy and passion for helping my child succeed and put it into homeschooling. We knew what our son needed and were weary of trying to force the school to provide that. The improvements we have seen in our lives are nothing short of miraculous. We are so grateful we took the road less traveled, it has made all the difference in our lives. Best of wishes to you and your family for better days ahead.

Please post your comment below...

20 comments:

Amy Johnson said...

I just wanted to say that I had to resort to homeschooling both of my boys - who BOTH have Asperger's. I chose to use an online school. You HAVE to log in attendance and you HAVE to complete the lessons, so it gave me the structure I needed to make sure they are doing their lessons. Also, my boys both still get IEPs and OT services through the school, which I loved. It IS very difficult and does take a lot of time. It can also be frustrating because of their behaviors. However, academically I've seen them make huge strides, and their anxiety levels are down. Worth it to me!

Anonymous said...

just went through the SAME thing with my son! Finally got things on course, and I expect I'll be the one to make sure they stay there! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Going through same struggles with my sons school, it is a fight we as parent shouldn't have to fight. It is clear our children need help..and they make it the hardest they possibly can.

Anonymous said...

I went through something similar last year with my son. We now have him in a local Charter School and he is doing much better (and so are they).

Anonymous said...

It's not easy Homeschooling a child with Aspergers. You have to give it 110 % as a parent!

Anonymous said...

My 9 year old son has asperger's and I am realising that we have a generation of teachers who aren't in the career because of their love and compassion, but more because they had a degree and didn't know what else to do with it and were enticed by good pensions and holidays etc. I've kicked up such a fuss at my son's school and expect nothing but the best treatment... of which we are still not getting, but never give up because when u do, yr teaching yr child the same and telling them to expect a life of bad treatment...

Anonymous said...

What parents need to do is launch a suit against the school board with the human right's tribunal. I finally threatened that considering my oldest daughter and they smartened up especially after my MPP's office called them. My second daughter's diagnosis should be completed in a few weeks, If they don't accomodate her immediatly I am launching a legal suit against the school board on behalf of both my children. If you have parents in simular situations with in your school board all the better. This is discrimination, use that word it scares them. Also go in armed with the school board policies on dicrimination and student's rights as well as policies for special needs. Most boards post it on thier websites. good luck to everyone else struggling.

Anonymous said...

We started homeschooling our daughter before we realized that she had Aspergers, because of many of the things that we saw in her that we thought wouldn't get addressed in the school system. She was just diagnosed in late Sept and we put her in school shortly after that (1st grade). Being that she is behaving in class and not struggling with her work they don't seem to see a problem. I'm glad that we did the outside evaluation, because that is pretty much the only reason that they are agreeing to evaluate her at school. I will see what they come back with after the eval is done and if they aren't going to help her then we may end up going back to homeschooling. The school that she is in couldn't understand why I told them that I'm not just leaving her in the school if they refuse to help her! Hopefully they do the right thing and give her the services that she needs!

Anonymous said...

I went through the same thing and finally now things are on track at school and my daughter attends a social skills group on weekends. I shy away from any thoughts on homeschooling because I feel she needs to be prepared for social interaction. Of course the kids tease her and don't understand but she does. She accepts herself and embraces her gifts. The Social Skills Group has been a HUGE positive. I see more impulse control and she is better able to handle the other students.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 16 in a few weeks and only just diagnosed - she is currently at her 7th secondary school, which is actually a pru, after being excluded from the previous 6 schools :\ We are still waiting for official statement from psychologist so school can't financially implement any special reqs yet without formal statement *sigh* so she will leave school in a few months with few, if any, qualifications and all because her condition wasn't recognised/ diagnosed earlier on in her life :(

Anonymous said...

We're more along the lines with Sharon here. My daughter is really bright. In 3rd grade but reads on a 6th grade level and decodes/process on a 10th grade level. Her vocabulary is through the roof. She has missed many services because other things "take precedence". Unfortunately, so many of us stuck in this predicament are unlikely to threaten lawsuits, especially when most of us cut our incomes in half to be with our children because of their daily issues, because we cannot afford to pay if the school wins. *sigh* it is a struggle, for sure....but I am seriously contemplating homeschooling her this coming year mainly due to the struggles with the school. I'd love to see things change but unfortunately, I doubt that will happen...

Anonymous said...

I pulled my son out of public school after he repeated kindergarten twice. I placed him in a private school...once more in kindergarten. It was a smaller class with only 10 kids and the teacher was patient and much more in tune with his developmental delays. He remained in private schools through 5th grade. I home schooled him in 6th grade due to his age and that the schools weren't meeting his needs. I placed him back in public schools in 7th grade where he excelled the other students....despite being older than that class. At least, he could keep up.

Anonymous said...

I am a 1st grade teacher and the mother of an Aspie. I can honestly say that my colleagues, who are exemplary teachers, are untrained in dealing with children with ASD. Until my own DD was diagnosed, I too was ignorant when it came to meeting the needs of children with special needs. A four year general education degree doesn't teach everything a teacher needs to know, and as both a mother and an educator, I believe that there should be in-service programs and professional training provided so that the teachers (who for the most part, WANT to know what to do) can be prepared for the children - and parents -- who are counting on them.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I would love to have the oppotunity to talk to this parent. We have gone through the same kind of problems and what we have done has given us extremely positive results. Message me! :)

Anonymous said...

My nephew (another aspie like my boy) had similar trouble at his kindergarten where they actually locked him in a dark closet when he 'acted up'. It took a long time for him to tell his parents about it because he was worried the school would lock him up again as punishment.

Anonymous said...

We have been through the same thing and my son is now being homeschooled.It is alot of work on my part but my son is so much happier,so its worth it!I bring him to a social group and invite friends over often to help with his socialization.I can totally.

Anonymous said...

Wanted to let you know about public or private online k-12. If your aspie is computer savy this may be the way to go . Just google K-12 if you want more info. They said they have many kids with Apergers who do their programs. My son (9) is still doing well in his private Catholic school. They have been wonderful with getting his needs met and they have a no bully rule, I have been very happy with them, but may use K-12 online instead of public high school when the time comes, or sooner if needed. I want to keep him with his peers as long as I can.

Anonymous said...

We are doing K12 and it has been wonderful! Still have an IEP and I make whatever adjustments I need to make. It allows me to be in controll of the social situations he is placed in so that I can focus on whatever issue we want to work on. I give him breaks when he needs them, not when they are scheduled at school. He is thrivng and is more social now than he was in school. Benifits definately out weigh the negatives for us. Plus, they pay(my tax dollars at work) for all of his therapy (PT, OT, Speech). I feel like the opportunity to take him out of school, which for most Aspies, is an ovewhelming social challenge, removed so much ongoing anxiety, that we are now able to be much more effective in everything we are doing for him.

Anonymous said...

Thank God, my son is attending a Public Charter school. 60% special needs & 40% typical children. It is called UCP, dont know what I would do w/o them. Vance just turned 4, he hs been there a year & is excelling wonderfully. He LOVES being with the kids.....he rides a bus one way, cant wait to get on it. He was 23 months behind, now is caught up & exceeding his goals!!! I am happy & grateful that he can be in school!

Kelly said...

What online school did you go through?

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually. Thus, the best treatment for Aspergers children and teens is, without a doubt, “social skills training.”

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers and HFA can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

Research reveals that the divorce rate for people with Aspergers is around 80%. Why so high!? The answer may be found in how the symptoms of Aspergers affect intimate relationships. People with Aspergers often find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may seem to lose interest in people over time, appear aloof, and are often mistaken as self-centered, vain individuals.

Click here to read the full article…

Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

If you’re the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism, you know it can be a struggle from time to time. Your child may be experiencing: obsessive routines; problems coping in social situations; intense tantrums and meltdowns; over-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights; preoccupation with one subject of interest; and being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes. The hardest part is you feel like you’ll never actually get to know your child and how he/she views the world.

Click here to read the full article...

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content