Homeschooling for Asperger's Children? I'm so torn....

Lee Anne - posted on 03/19/2009 ( 18 moms have responded )

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Hey everyone! I'm looking for some advice and input on whether or not I should homeschool my 10 yr old with Asperger's syndrome. He is like most children with AS in that he's very academically smart, but has little social sense and has behaviors related/caused by the AS that get him in trouble at school.



I'm torn b/c I know how much he needs the social skill development that being in a traditional classroom can provide, but I'm so exhausted from dealing with the teacher, principal, counselor, etc. at least once a week. We have an IEP, and even had an IEP addendum conference a month after the IEP was put in place, but I can tell that the school is very frustrated with him and it breaks my heart every day. Especially since 98% of his "behavior" is a direct result of his not having learned the skills to effectively cope when he is overwhelmed with an emotion or overloaded from a sensory issue.



Do any of you gals/guys homeschool your autistic/asperger's child? What do you think about it? We have 5 children, so my 4 yr old and 10 yr old would be here with me and the other 3 would continue in their current elementary/middle school.



Thanks for all your help and ideas! :)

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Retha - posted on 11/29/2012

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Hi

I've been homeschooling my son for almost a year now. He hasn't been diagnosed yet but a doctor has told us that he might have Asperger's Syndrome and we are in the process of having him diagnosed. All the signs are there.



Homeschooling has been the best thing that has happened to him. Socialization in a school setup is NOT normal. A few centuries ago children grew up on farms among their older siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Putting a child among a class of 9 year olds that are all equally foolish is NOT wise. Remember school? Now imagine being terrible odd...It is WAY different being a grown-up. Kids are extremely cruel and don't have any compassion.



Kids who homeschool have no homework. He has off-time from 1pm, plenty of time to play with friends! He's had no friends over when he was in school because we only finished his homework by 4pm...! Now he's a happy little boy again.



My son can now get one-on-one lessons where I can see when he is struggling to concentrate immediately. I can use his strengths, for example, Aspies love to get into numbers or spelling. I can take advantage of this and push this to he limit. I can be easier on other areas or give more training if needed, for example teach him how to properly answer to telephone - all part of school! Just today I discovered this great only homeschooling curriculum that actually caters for Aspies. Although I won't let go of his current curriculum which is good, I can still use this other computer-based curriculum to help him with things like listening skills and following instructions.



I wanted to run away when his teacher suggested that he should be homeschooled...but in hindsight it was the best for him, and I have peace about it. As a mother you know what is best for him and all the pressure is off him - perhaps on you, but it doesn't matter. What are mothers for? :) ♥

Shelli - posted on 12/26/2012

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We just decided to homeschool our 10 year old son who has Aspergers. I don't know if you can name the curriculum you've used that is geared to both neurotypical and children with Aspergers. We have decided to bring him home because he is too overstimulated and stressed at school. It just isn't working. Thank you!!!

[deleted account]

I pulled my 8yo AS boy out of public school this year for 3rd grade and have been homeschooling with a computer based curriculum. Best decision I have ever made for him and I'm so glad I didn't put it off another year. His stress levels have dropped through the floor and thereby also his stimming behaviors. He's getting BETTER socialization with other HS children. At school his socialization consisted of a 20 minute Lord of the Flies playground and lunch room experience. He now gets hours of quality socialization with a few children at a time, in a structured nurturing environment, with more parent involvement and instruction as to what is and isn't appropriate. The one adult on 20+ students was too little appropriate instruction for him. Also his school can be adjusted at will to whether or not he's having a good day or a bad day. Seperating academics from socialization gives him the ability to better deal with each realm on an individual basis instead of having it all thrust on him in one room. Not to mention all the over-sensory input of EVERY American classroom is no longer a factor in him becoming over stimulated on a daily basis. I truly believe that home is the best place to teach an AS child. No school anywhere has the resources to truly cater to an AS child's individual needs while juggling all the other children and their needs. I also have a 3yo, 1yo and another on the way.

Amanda - posted on 12/01/2013

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I'm in a similar situation. My 6-year-old has AS and shows signs of being gifted. After over 2 years of trying to get SPED services for him (to help with all the notes home about his meltdowns and not finishing his 44th worksheet on the letter "A" that week...okay, so that's exaggerating, but you understand I'm sure) we FINALLY had a meeting. His teacher was out with an emergency, there was a counselor I'd met twice, 1 I'd spoken to on the phone only, the SPED director and a SPED teacher, neither of whom I'd ever met. A P.E. teacher sat in to take his teacher's place, and the 1 SPED teacher who SPECIALIZES in Autism was not there for some reason. They denied him an IEP because he isn't behind in curriculum. The reason is because he mastered it a year ago. They have meetings, counseling sessions, and do all this work to try to figure out how to fit him into a class that is below his academic level. They also won't make adjustments in time frames or administration of the gifted test, because it's an "unfair advantage". No 1 discussed the "unfair DISadvantage" of denying him gifted because he doesn't test the way they structure. I'm torn about homeschool, not because of him, but because of me. I know it would be best for him. I used to argue whole-heartedly against homeschool because of socialization. I now, however, understand that the socialization opportunities he's presented with at school aren't positive ones. Daily, he is encouraged to play on the playground, but he just goes up behind other children and tries to play, but doesn't understand how to communicate with them. He is constantly overstimulated, overwhelmed, frustrated, and to top it off, he isn't challenged academically at all. He finishes his homework in 5 minutes or less and then spends an hour learning Spanish, or asking about Christopher Columbus, or wondering what a "theory" is (all things he's initiated learning about within the last month...). I am 99% sure we are going to withdraw him from school during Christmas break and begin homeschool. That gives us 1/2 a year to determine if it works better, and if not he can begin 2nd grade in the fall at school. I'm nervous, however, because I've just recently discovered that I also have Asperger's. I'm not always the best with patience or time-management or things that are beyond my control. I'm terrified to be less than what I need to be for him, but I am more scared of what public school may create for him.

Ani - posted on 03/28/2009

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It is a daily battle.  I have a 16 year old with Asperger's and one of the biggest things is getting them ready to be as independent as they can be in the future.  Unfotunately homeschooling doesn't add to this.  They need to learn to block out the environment and still be able to do work. 



 



They need to learn how to deal with people that irritate them.  



As many problems as we have had.....and I've filed due process against the school and won, he is two years away from graduating and will be able to go to college and have a job.  Had I kept him at home, this would not give him the social skills he do desperately needs and lacks.



Don't get me wrong.  The school does get frustrated.  I get frustrated.  However, you are the only advocate your child has.  If you don't advocate for your child, no one will.  I have to advocate EVERY day for my son at the school. 



My goal is to make my son independent and able to work in the field of his choice.  Keeping him at home would not allow for this as much as having him in an enviroment with people that aren't his family.



I will post a link to the ruling for my son against the district.



The main thing that I want to express to you is that the majority of the school districts do not know the special ed law, mainstream teachers don't, and it is up to you to know it and ensure that your child is receiving the education that is required by law.



Check out www.wrightslaw.com .  This is an invaluable resouce in navigating the IEP arena.



I hope this helps.



 

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Abby - posted on 12/30/2012

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I would recommend against homeschooling your child because of AS. Yes, it is very hard dealing with the school and IEPs, etc. but homeschooling is not the solution.

First of all, the school is obligated BY LAW to educate your son. They don't get to be "very frustrated" with him. They MUST accommodate him. You are his advocate, and if it's too much for you, hire a professional advocate (you may be able to get the school district to pay for this). Your child has a right to a free and appropriate public education. If the school cannot provide that, the district must pay for an appropriate private school.

Do not be intimidated by the people at school. In my experience, many would love to "get rid of" both you and your child, but it is not in anyone's best interest to do that. By holding the school accountable for what they are obligated to do by law, you are not only helping your own child, but every other child who will pass through its doors.

I know it is hard. I have two kids with AS. They are now grown. My son just graduated from college and is working full time and happily living independently. My daughter is about to start college. I fought hard and long for them and it has paid off.

Homeschooling is not the solution. It will only further isolate your son socially, which is the last thing he needs.

My heart goes out to you; hang in there.

Kim - posted on 10/18/2012

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I have a 7 yo boy who is hfa. I have him in a jewish school and the kids haven't tormented him. Before that he was in a public school with a very high percentage of children who were immigrants from Latin America and who were at least at that age, very tolerant and easy going. I would home school him if the children or faculty in your school are unsupportive or worse becuase the emotional damage to a child's self esteem is a big problem. Getting him to do online communities with other kids seems like a good way to find him ways to socialize and there must be communities online of kids with similar issues so that they have some common ground.

Judi - posted on 11/05/2010

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I'm not qualified to answer this, but... From what you have written, I can see that you have been working with the school and both of you would like a solution. It's just so final to homeschool, but trying to find the balance is so tough too. Could you try and work out a pattern of the most overwhelming class activities and have a one-on-one time for those. Or maybe organise that he only does 1/2 days for a month and then spends the time in the library of the school, some other quiet place, or goes home and does one to one learning/homework there.

Good luck in your decision.

Tracy - posted on 11/05/2010

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Hi my name is Tracy, I have four daughters, two of which are diagnosed with Aspergers and High functioning autism. Our elder daughter (18) went to a special school after hating a mainstream secondary school and the other daughter now 12 is also in a special school since year 7. I must admit I did not even contemplate home schooling but the elder of my two daughters did not spend much time at school (mainstream) until she attended her new school. Both the girls are highly academic and yes maybe they don't come out with as many GCSE's as a mainstream but they do learn how to live in the outside world. In fact my 18 year old is far more independent than out other two elder daughters and she has managed to get herself a job after leaving school.
Each child is an individual in their own right, you have to remember that. In the end it is down to what feels right for you. I know that I could not have coped with home schooling let alone with having four others to cope with. If you have any more queries let me know. x

[deleted account]

"
If you child has any form of autism, by law, they are eligible for an IEP."

This is actually NOT true. You have to qualify for an IEP based on the problems that interfere with learning. For kids who compensate for problems and continue to learn, despite hardships, they do not automatically qualify for an IEP simply based on diagnosis. It must be proven that they are not learning due to ASD related problems. They may, however, qualify for a 504 plan.

Ani - posted on 03/28/2009

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As stated, here is the link to the due process that I won for my son:



I fought the Monticello School District and won hands down!!

This is a summary of the order, the full order is below, as listed on jan07_june07.pdf

Case No. 2007-0145 – Marie A. Bracki, Hearing Officer
Child Find, Eligibility
Decision and Order Issued April 23, 2007



 



Here is the order:
This is the html version of the file ois.org/ISBE07-0145.pdf.



Also, most  "special ed" departments are used to academically delayed students, not gifted students with learning challanges.  Thiis is a two forl issue and must be treated as such.  For example, my son't chemistry teacher hasn't had a student with an IEP in over 5 years.  This requires consistant communication with this teacher and education for him so my son can be properly educated.



 



 

[deleted account]

It really depends on how you cope with your childs frustrations. In my case, it breaks my heart and upsets me so much that I can't teach him properly, so instead now that my youngest is in school, I spend most of my time volunteering in his class or at the school so that I can see what is going on in the classroom and the teacher has me available to ask how to handle a situation. My son is high functioning and does not qualify for an IEP since he is not failing, but he is fading fast academically and I am trying to get a 504 plan so he can have some accomidations.



I think that if you are like me and can not handle the longterm frustration and responsibility of teaching your child, You might check into a private or charter school if it is a financial possibility. It is not for us and that is why I volunteer at school. (it is hard to be ignored when you are always there and helping)

Diane - posted on 03/28/2009

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My 10 yr old grandson, whom I am raising, has Autism PDD-NOS. He really dislikes school and seems to be regressing. I am arguing with the school and talking with his teachers for years as they see he is regressing even academically and just seem to dismiss it. We feel he is falling through the cracks and that frustrates me. Socialization is almost none existing when it comes to other students in his school. He will be going into a middle school in September and neither of us are looking forward to that. I have thought about homeschooling but then read information on just getting everything in place and it seems so overwhelming and don't know if I could really do it with all the new requirements for graduation. I have seen a couple of messages about online classes some of your children are taking and wonder if that would be the way to go with him. If anyone has any information on this I would greatly appreciate it. Good luck to everyone.

Cindy - posted on 03/27/2009

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Hi Lee! I'm new to the forum, so if I say something stupid, please pass it off as newbie nerves. . .

My son is also 10, and he's diagnosed HFA, though most of his behavior is indistinguishable from Aspergers. At the beginning of every school year, I hold my breath, fearing that this will be the year that he hits that social barrier and the kids start teasing him, but every year so far has gone well. I expect, though, to be faced with the same decision you're looking at, in a couple of years -- middle school is so awful even for a typically-developing child, and I have no intention of putting my boy through that if it's torment for him. In short, the school environment is challenging for our sons, and I agree with Tamara that there's not really anything normal about the "socialization" that goes on once they hit about 6th grade. Ew, I wouldn't go back and relive those middle school years for anything. :) At any rate, it seems to me that going to the public school and failing at the socialization constantly would just tear him down, not help him adjust. Does that make sense? Anyway, I don't think that it's necessarily a fault of our children that they can't cope with the typical classroom environment. Seems to me that any social "skills" they would learn there could also be learned in an extracurricular activity, or a sunday school class, or anything like that, and honestly probably learned better in those environments because the kid would have more support. Just my thoughts tonight -- may have different thoughts tomorrow. :)

User - posted on 03/25/2009

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I have a couple of thoughts here. First, school is a terrible place to learn social cues. If you remember anything from junior high and high school...and now picture your Asperger's child there....(I'm not looking forward to school for my son.) He's better off with carefully picked social outlets, playdates, anything that doesn't frown on you pulling him out if it goes bad to the point it can't be recovered. So, don't keep him in school for the social aspect.



I would homeschool my own son, except I have very little patience. I can't teach my typical children without getting frustrated. So, no go there. We will probably move for his sake to a bigger center where there are more options for schooling once he gets into the higher grades.



Good luck, whatever you decide!

[deleted account]

My son (18) has been attending an online charter school for the last 3 years. It's heavenly! There are a lot of other opportunities that you can take advantage of for socialization that won't be as stressful for him or you. Don't worry about that part of it - you'll figure it out. He'll learn a lot of it just living with 4 siblings!



If you want any easy way to go, take a look at K12 schools. They are chartered schools in several states, so it's a public school if you are in one of the states. They provide the materials and you assist with the teaching up to high school. http://www.k12.com/



Please feel free to ask me anything. I went through all of the IEP, school behavior issues, etc. for years. Even a couple of run-ins with the police - that turned out OK!



Good luck!



Jan



 

Jennifer - posted on 03/19/2009

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My son is only four but I'm a high school teacher and I actually encourage some of my kids who are socially awkward to take online classes if available. I think homeschooling is fine as well as long as you can give him opportunities to socialize outside of school. A lot of these kids learn soooo much more when they don't have pressure on them constantly. All school districts allow home school students to participate in extracurricular activities as far as I know so if he gets really into something, he can still do that after school.

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