My son has high functioning autism. He goes through periods of loving and hating Kgarten. His teachers are great, but I'm afraid the routine is too long for him. We have homeschooled in the past, and while it's a lot of work, it seems to work well as long as I'm on top of my game. Downside.. no services.. any suggestions? or just moral support? How do you send your special needs kid to school when they hate it???

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Tammy - posted on 02/11/2009

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I used to be a teacher in an classroom for autistic students and I think that it is great that you go and help out during the week. I would have loved for parents to be so involved. I do think if you do homeschool you will never get a break from the extra hard work it requires to take care of your son. Also, if you take him out of school he may become very dependent on you and the schedule that is set at home. He may be sheltered from the world which may work now but when he is older may not be what you envisioned. I think you should really take a good look at your long range goals for him. He may have days, weeks, and even months that he doesn't want to go to school but just like any child, having to go sets boundries for him that he will need in the future. You can maybe prepare him for his days at school by giving him "social stories" or a schedule chart letting him know that it is coming. Going back and forth from homeschool to public school can be confusing and send the wrong message to your son. If your teachers are awesome, count your blessings and hang in there.

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Karalee - posted on 02/18/2009

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Before I became a stay at home mom, I worked in the school system in the Special Education program as a one on one aid. I know that sometimes one on one aids are hard to come by, and some schools don't have them, but maybe if it is requested by you, the parent, things could change. When I started working, a mom of a daughter with Costello's syndrome said that she wanted me as her daughters aid, and that is actually how i got hired. Sometimes parents can request who their childs aid will be. It helps the kids to go to school if they have someone they trust and know beside them.

Anne - posted on 02/16/2009

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My son is high functioning autistic also.  He does struggle in school,  and we do hear that He  doesnt like it or doesnt want to go,  but We have stuck to Our guns and made Him go. We have heard every excuse in the book on why He  doesnt want to go.  I have toyed with the idea of homeschooling also,  but am to afraid of loosing all of the services He has. Good Luck

Heidi - posted on 02/11/2009

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I am concered that if you stopped sending him to school, the serives will stop.  My adivce is to look into that.  Just b/c you are going to homeschool does not mean your services will stop.  I do not think you can be denied like that.  It is not State law...it is Federal law.   I would contact the special education department in your district and find out.  My son has special needs and have not heard of such law that would prevent him from having services b/c he is homeschooled.  Also, since your son is on an active IEP, your health insurance might pay for additional speech and OT.  some insurance also pays for ABA therapy.  Keep up the good work..it is always one step fowards and two back.  But, the more you make sure he is using all of the services he can, then the outcome will be wonderful.  Also, a lot of places offer classes for autistic children...maybe your local Y, gymnastic or swim places...etc.  These programs are wonderful resource for information and help. 

Jennifer - posted on 02/11/2009

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Just an update, for anyone who cares. We got him to go back to school this week. His teachers are really amazing and I help in the class whenever I can. We have had issues with his OT not coming all the time and not really helping him make strides like he should be. The social aspect of school is great, to a point. I'm concerned with the amount of time he actually gets to spend being social. Most of the days that I've been in the classroom it's a lot of "sit down, be quite, listen and take your turn". So he's in a classroom full of kids, but there's minimal interaction. Plus he's been bringing home some very annoying back-talking habits. This sounds silly, but part of me is excited to hear him using new phrases and responding to me in new ways, but the other part of me just groans.. who likes a sassy kid?! grrr. Anyway, I raised a ruckus with the school, got on the OT's back side and set up a meeting with them. Daddy wants him to finish Kindergarten so he can say he finished it, and yes, I'd like him to get all the speech therapy and OT time he can while it's free. Plus we have to home school all summer anyway to keep his routine and schedule up (we have major issues if we don't get up in the mornings, get ready, and do some sort of planned activity or outing.. calendar time.. etc.) So I told him we'd get through kgarten the best we can and then he can do home school for first grade. My gut tells me he is completely burned out. Long days, not a lot of play time, and not a lot of family time or even alone time! At our meeting I'm going to see about bringing him to school later in the day or picking him up earlier, just to make it shorter for him. Who knows with these kids eh? It's one day at a time and one step at a time. One thing I know for sure, the public schools have the best services for special needs kids, but my younger daughter, who is incredibly smart, is not going there. I already know from what I've seen helping in my son's class that she would be bored out of her mind. We're already homeschooling her and I plan to do it as long as she wants to. Also! A great thing I discovered is that with year round schools an option in our area, there are lots of track out camps that are open to anyone who signs up in time. So if I get burned out and need a break with any of these adorable little cherubs, they are heading off to camp for a couple of weeks.

So that's my plan. Thank you for your advice and help and encouragement. It's good to have input and support :)

Shannon - posted on 02/10/2009

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There are typical kids that hate school. Maybe he'll like his 1st grade teacher. There are so many opportunities for autistic children in the school district. I would hate to see an autistic child pulled out of a very social environment into a less social one even if his needs aren't socially based. You probably need some time away from him from time to time and homeschooling him would probably be overwhelming. Maybe you can talk to his teachers, develop an interest, maybe find something he'll like to do after school like a swimming class. Give him something to look forward to when he gets home. Maybe he can talk to a therapist about his issues with disliking school, find out why? is it the kids? the teacher? a change in the environment? to much transition? Good luck!

Nicky - posted on 02/10/2009

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My 4 yr old is being tested for atusim here in july. I removed him from school his behaivor was not working with him.. Was crying, and wanting the sercity and the school wont allow him.. Also on top of it he is in speech he is hard to understand.. I will reward when he is behaving..I work with him at home.. If it comes down to it I will teach him at home!

Becky - posted on 02/10/2009

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I have 5 children.  None have  autusm or anything close.  My 6 yo however does have dyslexia and I teach him  and my 8yo at home.  I could not imagine sending him to school.  He was in Public for kdg and I wish I hadn't sent him. 



I homeschooled my oldest two for 10 years but thought I was done.   My oldest was having issues with the public school for the opposite reason.  He needed extra attention because of his giftedness( the teachers were resentful)



We didn't know that Todd was dyslexic because of the school.  They just let me know that he isn't very smart.  I know he is smart and have since found out about his dyslexia being the problem.  



I do not think homeschooling is for everyone.  esp when there is a differently abled student.  But for my family it is  a lifesaver!  I really can't imagine what the school would have done to him by now.



Good luck,  I know it is a hard decision!

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My children are still young enough that they're not in school, and none of them display any signs of autism. On the other hand, I have a 10 year old brother who since day one of preschool has had major problems. He would love school if we could find the right teacher to spend the extra time with him during the day. But otherwise, from the problems with other kids to rotten teachers, he hated it. We wound up homeschooling him for a year and almost did it again last year. He isn't special needs persay, but had speech problems and slight motor issues.

Homeschooling as you know is tons of hard work, you're home all day everyday without much help from the outside world. In some cases, it might be the best idea if you can't find a school/teacher willing to help. Just find lots of classes and clubs and activities out of the home that you can do with him, sign him up and homeschool away. Sometimes, special needs or not, it's best to try keeping them home if you have the time and energy. Maybe he just needs a year to settle into the routine a little better, mature a little more, or get to clubs and whatnot for more social activities.

I just realized I'm rambling, but I'm sure you get the idea. :P Good luck anyways!

Jennifer - posted on 02/10/2009

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Thanks for the support. It's just good to know that I'm not the only one (I knew I wasn't, but haven't run into anyone lately in the same spot) and good to be reminded that all kids love and hate school. We have to home school through the summers anyway so to preserve my sanity (I have two other younger children) I guess I should just milk all I can out of public school. I so wish we had the option of a half day program. We have an IEP meeting coming up in a couple of weeks. I think I will request being able to pick him up early some days. Trouble is, I know they do nothing in the mornings, really, except color, which he hates, maybe I could take him in late. Anyway.. thanks again for the support. I really appreciate it!

Karen - posted on 02/09/2009

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Well I too have a son with Autism, and in Kindergarten. I have a very supportive school and services as well he has a one to one aid. Our school you have a choice to do all day K or full day K. If your son is doing all day, why not take him home 1/2 way through.

He may also be bored with what they are doing, try challanging him more at home or rewarding him for going. My son also has really good days but really bad days too.

I am not sure if you have more then one child but I also have another son who is in grade 2 and he also has his good days and bad, but all in all Kids go through periods of likeing/hating school. It is not just a funtion of Autism, but a funtion of Childhood.

IF you do decide to home school, it may burn you out faster then Kindergarten is burning him out! If you do, I wish you the best of luck. I personaly could not do it, or correct that would not do it for any of my kids at this point in my life, maybe I will feel different when they are older. I don't know if this helps but you are not alone!

Heather - posted on 02/09/2009

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Boy, I can relate to you.  I have a daughter that displays autistic tendencies in certain areas but overall she does not qualify for the spectrum.  As she has aged, she thankfully does not have near as much trouble with sensory issues as she did as a younger child, but she is still very obsessive-compulsive and set in her routine, very narrow minded and focused, often oblivious to those around her.  She went through 3 years of preschool and is on her 9th year of speech therapy.  She normally on a daily basis hates school although she will have times where the world is wonderful and so is school.  There are times I wonder if it would be easier to just home school her, too, but the services she has received have been invaluable.  I guess I dont really have any suggestions, but certainly any moral support I can provide, I will. 

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