Considering Homeschooling Your Child on the Autism Spectrum?
Some Helpful Hints and Suggestions For Parents
A study completed by Easter Seals Society and the Autism Society of America in 2008 revealed that 70% of parents of children with autism were concerned about their child’s education, as compared to 36% of parents of typically developing children. Only 19% of parents of children on the autism spectrum felt that their children were receiving education to adequately prepare him or her for life, compared to 56% of parents of children without disabilities (Samuels, 2008). Parents are obviously concerned about the educational programming of their children on the autism spectrum and are turning to homeschooling for a solution.
Some benefits to homeschooling include the following. Gusman (“Homeschooling Children with Autism: 5 Reasons Why it Works,” 2006) shared five reasons why homeschooling may be best for children on the autism spectrum. These include: instruction which provides for optimal learning and maximized progress; the environment can be adapted at home more easily than it can be at school for the child’s sensory difficulties; flexible scheduling is more easily arranged at home, and less time is wasted on non-academic tasks; better opportunities for more positive socialization are provided through homeschooling; and the child’s interests can be incorporated into their schoolwork and studies.
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).