I am a mom of a 10 year old boy who has Asperger's Syndrome. Just recently, Jan. of 2010 I started homeschooling him. It has been a real struggle and challenge. I also have a 2 year old who pretty much takes up much of my time. It has become increasingly difficult for me to balance everything and still find the time to dedicate to my son for his homeschooling. Also, many times he doesn't want to do work he just wants to play. I'm not sure if I made the right choice, I've tried to keep him active with other activities for socialization like karate class, and homeschool meetups with other kids. I'm considering placing him back in school in the fall, he would be in 5th grade. I feel guilty for wanting to do that, and think about how difficult school was in general for him as well as for me. I was wondering if being in school is much better for children with asperger's for the structure and routine. At home it's become chaotic and hectic at times trying to balance baby, chores, homeschooling, and other activities. I really need some good advice, I feel like I've failed him, and I've tried so hard at this. I was looking at getting a tutor to help out and get him up to speed and maybe placing him back this fall. Any advice would be so helpful.
Each child’s situation is unique, and you really would need to make the determination whether it’s best to send your child back to school. Keep in mind, if he’s been in school the entire time up until a few months ago, this transition could be somewhat difficult for him as well. He’s making the shift from “this isn’t Mommy the Mom, this is Mommy my teacher.” Such a change can be challenging for ANY child.
We would say keeping him involved in other social activities like the martial arts sounds like a great strategy for keeping him engaged with the outside world. In addition, the idea of getting a tutor may be a good idea. Having such a resource could help you feel less guilty, while simultaneously allowing your child to get the academic support he needs should you send him back to school, or even if you continue to homeschool.
If you do decide to re-enroll him into school, be sure to enlist the support of the school administration, specifically the school’s speech-language pathologist to make sure he gets the services he needs. Also, getting him involved in extracurricular and social activities in school could serve him well.
Homeschooling can be a challenge, albeit rewarding, between many children and parents. Part of being successful at home instruction is understanding what your son needs academically, socially and behaviorally.
Many parents of children with learning challenges choose to homeschool. However, you may wish to avail yourself of homeschool organizations that assist parents with children who have special needs.
In addition, you may wish to revisit with the school special education teams. They may need to adjust or be creative with making a program that suits the needs of your child. You can also ask them for names of advocates who are used during these meetings. An advocate is someone who helps a parent negotiate their way through the special education process. (Which can be lengthy and at times difficult to understand). Please see if this person is paid or a free service before asking for their help.
Here are some websites that might lead you to people who can assist you with your questions specific to homeschooling a child with Asperger's syndrome. Please read the materials careful and consider all aspects of this situation. Only you will know what is right for your fifth grader and your family.
Another option is to enroll your child in special homeschool "classes". I'm a homeschool mom as well as a certified, 20-year veteran teacher, and I currently work with Sylvan Learning Center. I personally have taught Aspergers students in private homeschool classes, and they do wonderfully there. Part of the reason is the smaller class sizes, but another part (in my experience) is that homeschoolers, in general, tend to be more tolerant, sensitive, and "inclusive" than their public-school counterparts. The teasing and general "meanness" just isn't there, at least not on the scale I witnessed when teaching in the public schools.
In the Atlanta area, for example, there are several homeschool "academies" available, and even Sylvan has just launched its own homeschool program. Beginning in June, they'll be offering a wide variety of classes, testing services, etc. just for the homeschool community. That way, a student with Asperger's gets the social interaction with like-minded students on a smaller scale. (Anyone interested in the details can go to www.sylvanhomeschooling.com for more details). Good luck!
I was reading your question and it hit me that we are almost in the exact same situation. My 9 year old son has Aspergers and I also have a two year old. I am a teacher as well. The specialist told me that my son would never make it in private school. Not only is he making it, he made the all A honor roll and is quite popular with many friends. I always say don't underestimate your child but also know that you aren't superwoman. I get down on myself for thinking I'm not doing everything right as well. I try to remember that I'm doing my best and that's all I can do. I know Icould never homeschool my son for the exact same reasons you describe. Children always seem to listen to everyone else better than their parents for some reason. My son never has the meltdowns at school that he has at home. I wouldn't feel comfortable with him in public school, but have found a private christian school that has become a second family to us. If I tried to homeschool him I know I would never get him to listent he way his teachers do. I don't take it personally because a lot of my students parents say the same thing to me. I say do what feel right to you. I imagine it's trial and error. See what works for oyur family. I honestly feel Asperger's kids greatly benefit from the socialization of being with other children as long as it is a positive situation for him and not a negative one. It made an incredible difference for my son to find a small loving christian school. I don't have all the answers but that my opinion.
First of all, you have not failed him! Trying various alternatives and options for a child with special needs is a courageous and necessary process. In this case, though, it looks as though what you have learned is that for your son, with the other demands you currently have, homeschooling is not an ideal option. I do not know what the public school situation is for you. I am a special education teacher, fortunate enough to teach in a district where the needs of the child are truly first priority. (I also tutor children with special needs who are homeschooled). I have taught in other districts where this is not the case. But your son DEFINITELY needs structure and routine, and possibly some additional services (specialized teaching practices, therapies) that the district ought to provide. How involved were you in the IEP process before? You, as parent, have a number of rights to ensure that your son receives the education that is appropriate for him. If he does not, you can engage in "due process" to correct the situation Getting a tutor to prepare him for re-entrance is an excellent idea. But he also needs to be prepared in other ways as well (socially, knowing the routines, knowing what to expect, getting to know some of the people who will be working with him, etc.). It would be VERY helpful to talk with the school about your son's needs and making a plan to prepare him so that being in school can be a much more productive and gratifying experience. And, as I said above, make sure that you have a big say in the IEP process. Good luck!
I have a son, 12, who is diagnosed ADHD and I believe has ODD also. We have had problems since he was in K with schools and he was kicked out of a private one. The past two years here he had an IEP team, but things were hard for me. Last year was insane and I was on the phone or email with the Special Ed teacher who was coordinating him getting work done and what assignments he had with just TWO teachers. It was crazy and one teacher was so insistent on her view of what she though he should be doing and would not take into account at all that he learned a bit differently and what I had to say to assist her in that. He would come home with homework and it literally would take 4-5 hours for me to get him through it. He was upset with bullying in class and on the bus and though they addressed it, his behavior became more reactive and basically at school's end he was shocking me with the verbal spouts he was spewing forth to even his principal. The last week of school he got so bad and I was seeing him a nervous wreck all the time. She basically asked me to take him out early.
He gives me problems too and I see what you are saying about them being better for others than their own parents. I see that with ALL kids really. However, going into Middle School with 6 different teachers and a schedule that changed daily was a headache for ME not just him and with two other kids, I could not deal with that. I am homeschooling him right now and it is not easy, but seems the lesser of two problems than putting him in Middle School. I find we are going slower than perhaps normal because I want him to really understand what he is learning for more than five minutes, but it is tough. We are in a rural area and resources for many things in the city are an hour away and not here. I would love to hear from homeschoolers at this age about good writing and math resources for kids with ADHD.
it seems like you need help. i would advise enrolling him back in public school with the proper diagnosis and support from the school. The time you spend teaching him could be spent making sure that he is getting the help he needs at school. i understand you are trying to protect him, but remember, real life is hard and he needs to try to get used to it, again with the proper supervision and support. i think it will also help your 2 year old in the long run.
I own a math/reading learning center (after-school program) and have had many students on the autism spectrum. I have found that the structure -- same daily routine and expectations -- help all students, but particularly those who easily lose focus. My students with Asperger's typically have excelled in the math calculation skills and grammar concepts and often have most difficulty with word problems, understanding complex plots and writing creatively (with metaphors, etc.). What I've learned to do with these special students is focus on the areas in which they excel (rote memory, facts, their own style of creativity) and teach them how to use resources (thesaurus, for example) to help in areas that are most difficult. I have found the best combination for Asperger's students is close work with parents and teachers who are aware and willing to accommodate (modify assignments, requirements) but who keep the students main-streamed. I have one 6th grader with whom I've worked closely for 4 years (my regular program plus one hour weekly private) and who is now proudly on the honor roll in school. His specialty is memorizing, illustrating, and performing the essays that his mother and I help (substantially) with the writing. His ideas may get jumbled initially, but his grammar and spelling are excellent. Once written, he understands it well enough to perform it. The teacher knows he has a lot of help initially, but grades him on final product (and performance). And... he is also mastering Algebra.
Hi, My son is an Aspie high functioning (125 IQ) he has suffered from being in mainstream school and now at 14 years old he is being home schooled, the LEA have stepped in and have provided five hours tuition.
It is hard to make a choice for your child, I would say after every thing we have been through Joe attended school for 45% of the time he was sick with D and V from anxiety for the rest of the time and is now termed medically unfit to attend school and is suffering with depression
When I talk to Joe he states "I do not get lonely like you," He is on track for his exams they seem to learn naturally TV - Ipad give them the tool utube the info goes in it stays. I have now accepted that xbox live allows socialization at a level my Joe copes well with - he used to attend taekwondo brilliant he used to dance brilliant now he is reclusive not so brilliant "developmental stage"
Best things to watch Temple Grandin on utube July 2012 - watch her video about her life, follow the ideals of Tony Attwood but mostly listen to your self you are the expert it takes five years training to be a psychologist / professional and YOU have already achieved 10 years of experience you are the qualified person - your child is not the same and does not have ordinary needs what's good for us is not what works for them, good luck on your journey (If you make the connections in the brain their will always be a way to grow them