Considering Homeschooling Your Child on the Autism Spectrum?
Some Helpful Hints and Suggestions For Parents
The decision to homeschool is a lifestyle choice, not just an educational choice. It is a big decision to make but where do parents start? The following are recommendations that parents may want to take into consideration while making the decision to homeschool.
Remember that homeschooling will involve the whole family. Is your marriage strong enough to survive the time and effort that must go into successful and effective homeschooling? Parents must agree on the methods and strategies to be used in homeschooling their child. Parents already have enough stress and worries because of having a child on the autism spectrum, so adding more stress by not being in agreement together should be avoided.
What are your plans for providing equal time for siblings? How will you handle it if a sibling wants to be homeschooled as well? Some siblings may be jealous of the attention the homeschooled child will receive, so it is a good idea to schedule in special, and alone, time with the sibling(s).
What is your financial situation? It is a big financial sacrifice as well, as either one parent will need to stay home to homeschool, or parents will need to pay for a tutor or staff person to teach/work with the child.
What are the requirements regarding homeschooling in your school district or state? Contacting your state Homeschooling Association is a beginning step. Staff thereshould be able to outline what the requirements are in terms of notification, paperwork, progress reporting, forms, assessment, and support. States have different requirements regarding the above topics so it is a good idea to contact this agency for initial help.
If possible, join a homeschooling support group. Parents there will support you and give recommendations on dealing with the school, finding materials and resources, and arranging for social activities for homeschooled children.
Plan to involve your child in social and community activities, both with homeschooled children and without. Ideas could include church activities, karate, gymnastics, dance, sports teams, drama club, tours of community buildings and organizations, and volunteer work such as Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels, shelters of all kinds, Humane Society, etc.
Find professionals to help you, and create your own team for your child. These may include speech language pathologists, occupational and physical therapists, music therapists, developmental pediatricians who have additional training beyond general pediatrics, and behavior specialists. If a therapist or medical person confuses or patronizes you, or does not believe you, look elsewhere. This team also includes outside help. Enlist, and accept, the support of neighbors, friends, and extended family members.
Learn all you can about your child’s disability so you can be a knowledgeable and effective advocate for him or her. Try all the therapies out there! You never know which one may work with your child. Use caution and some skepticism but do not be afraid to try.