Homeschooling Children with Asperger's

Instructor: Zach Gospe
Finding the correct academic placement for your child can be a difficult task, especially if your child has Asperger's disorder. Homeschooling is an option that may be what is best for your child. In this lesson, we will discuss the option of homeschooling a child with Asperger's disorder.

Homeschooling a Child with Asperger's Disorder

Your child, Ethan has been diagnosed with Asperger's Disorder, and finding the right school for him has been very difficult. Ethan's teachers are unable to provide him with the support that he needs throughout the day, and a school environment just isn't the right fit for him. You have recently researched the option of homeschooling and think it may just work for Ethan. Homeschooling is the process of teaching your child at home instead of a traditional school setting. However, homeschooling your child with special needs is a huge task.

Asperger's Disorder is a high functioning form of Autism that usually causes a student to struggle with social interactions. This includes a lack of non-verbal cues and eye contact, high pitched or loud volume of voice, and interrupting. Ethan's behaviors can be distracting to his classmates, and he usually benefits from frequent breaks. He has trouble relating to his peers and has a hard time when encouraged to work in group activities. This lesson will go over ways to make sure that homeschooling any child with Asperger's Disorder can be a success.

Individualized Instruction

One of the major benefits of homeschooling your child with Asperger's is the individualized instruction that your child receives. Individualized instruction is the process of tailoring teaching specifically to the needs of the individual who is learning. Unfortunately, in public or private school settings, students with special needs usually do not get the specific attention that they may require. By homeschooling your child, you can provide him/her with a program that best fits his/her needs. Keep in mind that Asperger's students benefit from highly structured activities, so homeschooling on a specific schedule is vital.

For example, Ethan works better first thing in the morning, so you can create a schedule with most of his academics first. Ethan also enjoys doing most of his work on his laptop or tablet. You can create a curriculum in which technology is a focus so that he can benefit from using those tools.

Building Family Relationships

Homeschooling gives families a great opportunity to become closer by working and learning together on a daily basis. Conversations can not only be personal but educational because home and school are completely connected. Because children with Asperger's struggle with building relationships, this is a huge benefit for these students.

Ever since Ethan has started homeschooling, you can understand more of the academic struggles that he has. He has gotten closer to you on a personal level because of the amount of time you spend together. Ethan is building trust, and you are learning more about him each day.

Limiting Distractions & Interruptions

Homeschooling a child with Asperger's Disorder requires preparation and planning. Make sure to create a quiet, distraction-free area for your child to work in. Turn off the television, cell phones, and other technology devices unless they are being used in a lesson. Let friends and family know that you are not available during homeschooling hours unless it is an emergency. Provide your child with a clean, clutter-free desk and the tools he/she will need for their lessons.

For example, Ethan's brothers and sisters attend public school, and when they come home from school they enjoy getting snacks and doing their homework at the kitchen table. This can be very distracting for Ethan. Consider creating a separate area in the home for him to get his work done. This way, when his siblings get home from school, it isn't a huge disruption for him.

Opportunities for Social Interactions

Children with Asperger's struggle with social interactions. Sometimes they don't understand how to relate to peers or even make friends. If you are homeschooling your Asperger's child, then you need to make sure that you provide other opportunities for social interactions. Social interactions are moments between two or more people in which they need to speak or engage with one another. It is important for students with Asperger's to learn how to interact with their peers and other people in their daily lives.

For example, a great idea would be to enroll Ethan in a play group or a social therapy group so that he can practice how to interact with others. He could also play a team sport, join a martial arts class or another course to encourage social interactions.

Lesson Overview

Overall, there are benefits and struggles with homeschooling your Asperger's child. Some of the benefits would be providing individualized instruction, building family relationships, and flexibility. Some of the struggles would be making sure you provide opportunities for social interactions and providing a quiet area with limited interruptions and distractions. Every Asperger's child is different and homeschooling can be a great alternative to traditional schooling for some of these students.

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