Jen - posted on 09/21/2012 ( 6 moms have responded )
We're homeschooling our son, age 9, and we think that he might have either Asperger's with SPD, or just SPD. (sensory processing). I'm not worried about the academics; I've learned how to teach him and he's starting to flourish and frankly not even the social stuff too, because we send him out here and there for classes in our great homeschooling community. Plus he has a couple of close friends that he plays with regulary, at length, in unstructured play.
One reason we are considering diagnosis is that when we send him out to "regular" homeschool classes, his habit of (when bored) zoning out and telling himself a story in his head (complete with hand motions, like fluttery fingers, explosion sounds, and the whole bit), sometimes I get the knowing look "have you considered he's autistic?" Having the diagnosis would certainly help with that. I could say "why yes, he has Asperger's Syndrome (or SPD) ---can you still teach him? or at least tolerate his differences?" My son is brilliant, creative, verbal and well-liked. He just has (a) perfectionism, (b) what we call the "twiddles" (i.e. hand movements that he says go with a story he's telling in his head) and (c) low attention span unless interested, (d) emotional intensity (i.e. if he feels put on the spot in front of all the other kids, doesn't understand, he can burst out crying, in the moment of intense emotion, completely not caring of the socially inappropriateness of that amid "traditional" kids (i.e. "big boys don't cry")
Here's the point of my question (sorry it took so long to get to it). I worry that if I "go public" into the medical system (his doctor didn't notice anything in the regular checkup) with this diagnosis, that it will somehow threaten our ability to get permission to homeschool. It's so far, so good with permission.
We visit the homeschool coordinator at the end of each year, hand in our binder of work samples and stories of all his interesting experiences etc, we talk with her for a half hour, and all seems to go extremely well. I just fear that a diagnosis will mean that suddenly all sorts of experts will rush in and try to take over the schooling. I am good at teaching him, trying to balance the skills he needs to learn (solving problems independently, working with others, giving social experiences and/or instruction OUTSIDE the home as needed). I am also totally cool with, armed with a diagnosis, sending him to an OT to learn certain skills he struggles with or is afraid to try (but which he needs), and to possibly find dietary and therapy that could help with the twiddles, which draw unwanted attention & distraction. I'd just hate to lose our wonderful eclectic laid-back homeschooling life and have to put him into school where my right-brained, supremely sensitive, artistic marvel of a child would just get shredded.
We're in Massachusetts....does anyone have any thoughts on this?