Homeschooling for autistic children makes a lot of sense for a variety of reasons. It is not necessarily less stressful than sending your child to school. But for many families the stresses that come with home schooling their autistic children are welcome as parents see the needs of their children truly being met in a loving and compassionate way.
At the request of a couple individuals I have begun compiling information from various sources about homeschooling with kids with autism spectrum disorders.
Most experts seem to feel that the beginning of home schooling for a child with an ASD is to “deschool”. The technical definition of this would be for your child to ‘unlearn’ all the negative socialization experiences he had had in school. Many home schooling veterans point to this as a time for you to observe your child and for your child to really explore areas that interest him. Learning must again become fun.
2. Keep a journal
You might want to consider taking notes at this time. What helps your child focus? What are his favorite things and what is he doing when happiest? Where does he excel?
While deschooling, contact local organizations, and support groups. Try to make contact with other parents who understand both autism and home schooling.
4. Read books beyond autism!
Many people have sited this an a very helpful and important step. A few favorites are: The 7 Kinds of Smart, and The Way They Learn
5. Ditch your preconceptions
Try to approach the process with an open mind. Think about your end goal and then work backwards: What will get you to your end goal with your child? It is likely to look different than traditional schooling would be and that’s just fine!
6. Determine where your child is on checklists and evaluations.
Set a goal and then work towards that goal. On the other hand. . .ditch the checklist if it is too frustrating. In states where there is a lot of paperwork, you can document your child’s progress towards the goal and why you stopped pursuing it.
7. Locate needed therapies and services for your child.
There are a variety of resources available and with a little leg work at the library, I’ve heard of many parents providing needed therapy at home as appropriate.
Remember that this is a journey. You are allowed to change course. You need to let your child show you how he’ll learn best and chances are you’ll see him soar!