So you’re thinking about home schooling your child with Aspergers or another Autism Spectrum Disorder.
No doubt you’re wondering if it is even possible!
You might be asking yourself how you could possibly cope with being in your child’s company all day everyday!
Will he fall behind if you take him out of school?
Where can you find teaching materials?
The list of questions and concerns can seem to be endless!
I have asked myself all the questions which are running through your mind.
Home education is not only possible for children with an autistic spectrum disorder, but I believe that is often the best way to educate our children away from the stress and negative influences of school.
Our son Campbell was diagnosed with Aspergers when he was a 6 year old kindergarten student. The process of obtaining a diagnosis began with a conversation I had with his teacher. I wanted to know how he was going at school because at home his behaviour was becoming increasingly difficult to deal with. His teacher reported that he was an angel in class but she had noticed that he didn’t like it when the routine of the school day changed in any way. I made an off hand comment that I had often wondered if he was autistic, but I of course knew that he wasn’t. The teacher agreed with me that he wasn’t autistic, but she wondered if he might have Aspergers. And so the roller coaster ride began!
At this stage I was already home educating our older son. I hadn’t seriously considered home educating Campbell as I didn’t think I could cope with having him at home with me all the time. He appeared to enjoy school so it seemed easier to send him off to school and have a quiet day at home with Thomas and our baby.
Three days after receiving Campbell’s diagnosis we moved 400km away to the New England region. I considered not enrolling Campbell in school, but once again I didn’t see how I could home educate him and stay sane! So off he went to a large central school for his final term of kindergarten. It didn’t go well, so we decided to enrol him in a tiny Catholic school for year 1. The teachers were familiar the Aspergers, it was a small class with 2 teachers. Perfect!
But life at home became almost unbearable (due in no small measure to the disruption of a new town, and two new schools!). The meltdowns dramatically increased in their intensity. Campbell would often physically hurt us and we even had a few small holes in the walls as a result of flying objects. Often it would take me several hours to calm myself after dropping him at school. During all this time I was still thinking about home educating Campbell. I also thought I might be slightly mad even considering it. But I began to listen to what others with home educated aspies were saying. That it is easier, that the meltdowns would diminish. I didn’t quite believe them, but I began to trust that they might be right. I reasoned that things could not get any worse with him at school, so what did I have to loose?
Campbell has now been home for just over two years. Those other Mums were right. It is so much easier. Campbell no longer chews his clothes or vomits due to anxiety. The frequency and intensity of his meltdowns has diminished. He even has a real friend!
Home education is not a panacea for Aspergers! We still have many difficult moments. In the heat of the moment I often wonder why I’m doing this, I must be crazy! I plan which school I am going to send him too! But when things return to normal I know that we are doing the right thing not only for Campbell, but for every member of our family. Excepting ill health on my part, Campbell will never return to school.
So I encourage you to seriously consider this option for your family. Home education is much simpler than many people imagine it to be. Read as much as you can, talk to other home educating families. Ask the Lord what He wants for your family.
The following is a list of resources which our family has found useful on our journey.
Homeschooling Aspies (Yahoo email group.)
Maths -U- See (great for visual learners)
This article was written by Campbell's Wonderful Mum