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Allison TX

Can anyone tell me about homeschooling a child with ASD?

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Hello!  I posted this question on the General Board and it was suggested I post it here too.

 

I have homeschooled for 12 years, but I have no experience with autism.  I keep hearing that school is the best option for these kids because their social needs are different than "normal" kids.  But I've also heard that having a child on the spectrum is a big reason TO homeschool.  

 

Is there anything that you would recommend for someone considering homeschooling a child with ASD?  Is it a lot different than homeschooling a non-spectrum child?  

 

Thank you for any help or thoughts.  I'm feeling confused about what I am capable of doing and what will be the best for my child.  

 

 

I realize these kids vary significantly, but I want to hear about all different experiences because I don't know how high functioning my child will be.(She's just turned 4) I just want to hear that there are people that have homeschooled successfully and don't regret that choice.

 

I should also clarify- I'm not considering putting her in the public school.  She is currently going to a private school for kids with speech and language issues and some learning differences.  She started in August right after we got a diagnosis.  She has made amazing progress with her speech.  There are only six kids in the class with 3 teachers- one of them a speech pathologist.  She enjoys going and we couldn't be happier with her progress. 

 

But-  we drive close to an hour each way, 4 times a week. Next year it would be 5 times a week.  And she would need to leave the house even earlier because the start time is earlier and we'd hit morning rush hour traffic.  It makes it hard to participate in some activities for my other two kids still at home because of the schedule.  And it's very expensive.

 

I guess I'm trying to decide if I can provide a home program that is as good or better than they can provide at the school.  I will definitely continue with speech therapy as well.  

 

​I guess I should also add that she is generally a very happy, sweet little girl.  She likes to go places and doesn't seem to mind change. She likes other kids/people, but she has a tendency to withdraw and go off by herself if I let her.  Her main issue seems to be speech/language, with some occasional quirky behavior. 

 

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Well we're at the Happiest Place on Earth right now which is one of the perks. Otherwise I'd be on a keyboard and give you a little by answer. Short is its way more work than you can even think and more disadvantages than advantages for some kids. The issue is centralized services, getting all under one roof. Social isn't the reason. And yes you'd need to bring in workers or send out your other kids to make sure she gets the hours. I sent away my dd. It's no joke. No breaks, lots of work.

 

What's her support level? 2 or 3? You wouldn't be asking if it were 1. Level 1 kids mainstream and require less support. I don't personally know anyone who homeschooled level 3. Well that's not true I know one person using a charter with level 3 . It's HARD. Level 2 I know a few. Level 1, run of the mill, quite common.

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Here, dd straddles the level 1/2 boundary.

 

Homeschooling her is hard. I *think* it's still the best option for her, but I wonder and worry and second-guess myself constantly. It has the very high price of requiring my pretty much undivided attention, which has meant I can't also teach my other dd. Her classes are all outsourced. Thankfully, she can handle that academically, but she has some pretty major resentment about life's inequities.

 

We got a late diagnosis. School was not working for her before the diagnosis. If we could go back and have her start K with a diagnosis in place, able to effectively advocate for the supports she needed, I might just choose to do that. We never really had that option.

 

Also, here, the school would not have provided ABA. We needed that, badly, but would still have had to do it ourselves. So school would not have been a "one-stop shop" for us. Ymmv.

 

Perhaps the biggest problem with homeschooling dd at the moment is that I am tired. We've been doing this for... six years?... now. Dd has absolutely no intention of ever going back to public schools. Ever. One thing about autistic kids, they can be absolute about things.

 

But I'm staring at high school with a kid who is a slow learner, who gets emotionally swamped by stupid math stuff that she knows she ought to be able to handle. Stuff like 600 divided by 6 = ??? .

And I am patient and supportive as all get out, but she gets swamped and overwhelmed when things get hard.

 

I would love to be able to send her to school now. LOVE. But she'd be overwhelmed and embarrassed in front of classmates, not just me. And she would be surrounded by other students, when she gets fed up with too many people. And a number of those students have their own issues with emotional control, when we've spent years and $$$ helping her to develop hers a bit. I have sat and watched a bus pull out of the school parking lot with teens fighting in the aisle and the driver ignoring it.

 

But I have only so much energy, and I know I have not provided ideal schooling at every point. We muddle along.

 

The good part? Dd is basically pretty happy and self-confident. She functions fairly well in most life skill areas. We've spent time in the areas where she shines. I think she is happier than she would be if she were in public school.

 

But all this is just one kid, and her learning difficulties don't really reflect the spectrum per se. Plenty of autistic kids would struggle less in academics than she does, and perhaps more socially. So no real advice, just a look at how things work for one family, and best wishes for yours.

 

Coming back to add: if academic struggles are an issue, then any interruption life throws in your path assumes more long-term importance.

 

We spent a year+ doing minimal school while both of my parents were sick and dying. We tried to keep school going, but realistically, a lot of days it didn't happen. After this period ended, my older dd bounced back as if the interruption never happened. I've heard other homeschoolers say the same sort of thing about their kids after family drama.

 

But, for my dd with autism, that time has never really been made up. She's still behind. I don't know how the full picture would have looked if she'd been in school, but the academics would have been more consistent.

Edited by Innisfree
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Social isn't the reason. 

 

What's her support level? 2 or 3? You wouldn't be asking if it were 1. Level 1 kids mainstream and require less support. 

Well, I think social is one reason to consider or reject school, depending on the child and on the school system. 

 

I have a Level 1 kiddo, and he requires less support, but I definitely still have questions.

 

 

 

Hello!  I posted this question on the General Board and it was suggested I post it here too.

 

I have homeschooled for 12 years, but I have no experience with autism.  I keep hearing that school is the best option for these kids because their social needs are different than "normal" kids.  But I've also heard that having a child on the spectrum is a big reason TO homeschool.  It depends a lot on the kid and the school. We had a very supportive school socially, but not so much academically. My son is 2e, and it wasn't good when he was bored. On the other hand, there were things he couldn't do that should've been red flags, but they weren't really--everyone thought, He's a boy/He just isn't interested in this task/Lots of kids have a hard time with this at first. He was simultaneously bored stiff and under-served. He came home overloaded and would melt down.

We didn't have a diagnosis when he was in school. It was a private school, so if we had known, we'd probably have been encouraged to seek an education elsewhere, lol! He was diagnosed when he was almost 9 and the pieces finally came together.

 

Is there anything that you would recommend for someone considering homeschooling a child with ASD?  Is it a lot different than homeschooling a non-spectrum child? I think knowing your child's areas of strengths and weaknesses and knowing how that child learns best are a help. I think that it's good to know when you can adequately provide something and when you cannot. I cannot, for instance, adequately teach my ASD son composition. He has some language glitches that have shown up late in the game (aside from some red flags that were just not red enough), and his brain just struggles with this. We have a tutor for this and a speech therapist that works on academics. It's our fourth tutor that worked directly on these issues, and this one finally seems to really get it, and we have enough data to know some of what isn't working vs. what might just need more tries.

 

Even though my son with ASD is profoundly gifted and may have a higher tested IQ than his younger sibling, his younger sibling learns more easily in many ways. There isn't just one learning profile for kids with ASD, and that is part of what makes things difficult. Some commonalities are needing to see things from many points of view and in many contexts to generalize information from one situation to another, and working on language storage and retrieval even when language skills seem intact. Language plus problem-solving is also a problem for a lot of kids. 

 

If you are not working with a speech therapist or behavioral therapist that is readily familiar with autism-specific language issues, you might want to find one.

 

Thank you for any help or thoughts.  I'm feeling confused about what I am capable of doing and what will be the best for my child.  

 

 

I realize these kids vary significantly, but I want to hear about all different experiences because I don't know how high functioning my child will be.(She's just turned 4) I just want to hear that there are people that have homeschooled successfully and don't regret that choice.

 

I should also clarify- I'm not considering putting her in the public school.  She is currently going to a private school for kids with speech and language issues and some learning differences.  She started in August right after we got a diagnosis.  She has made amazing progress with her speech.  There are only six kids in the class with 3 teachers- one of them a speech pathologist.  She enjoys going and we couldn't be happier with her progress. Are they doing any autism-specific therapy? Is it just for articulation? I ask because there are lots of language-ish issues that can be quirky.

 

But-  we drive close to an hour each way, 4 times a week. Next year it would be 5 times a week.  And she would need to leave the house even earlier because the start time is earlier and we'd hit morning rush hour traffic.  It makes it hard to participate in some activities for my other two kids still at home because of the schedule.  And it's very expensive.

 

I guess I'm trying to decide if I can provide a home program that is as good or better than they can provide at the school.  I will definitely continue with speech therapy as well.  You might be able to provide good instruction, but the school might be able to help the instruction generalize better (or vice versa). It's pretty individual. It also doesn't have to be "forever" on either the school end or the homeschool end.

 

​I guess I should also add that she is generally a very happy, sweet little girl.  She likes to go places and doesn't seem to mind change. She likes other kids/people, but she has a tendency to withdraw and go off by herself if I let her. This could be reinforced more staying at home. I would give heavy consideration to that. Her main issue seems to be speech/language, with some occasional quirky behavior. I would note that many of our kids make progress relative to themselves and need continued therapies to reach their potential. Some have very specific problems, like my son does with language, and others show problems in a few areas, but then the list continues to grow as they age but fail to develop skills as quickly as their peers and when peer interractions become increasingly difficult.

 

I think the analogy often used here is that at the start of a marathon, all the runners are bunched up, but as the race lengthens, the faster runners pull ahead, and the slower runners spread out. Some of us have kids whose skills may all be neatly packaged up, and they might be faster or slower. Others, like my son, have skills where they are far ahead and skills where they are very behind. 4 is so, so early to tell what's up with your daughter.

 

I would ask school professionals and the speech people what they think is best, and maybe try specific things with your daughter to see how it goes. Over time, you might decide one schooling option is much better than another, or you might decide that one schooling option leads into the other one, and that she needs both to meet her full potential.

 

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On "social " we can be more precise. You want her to hav friends? Be able to go into mainstreamed social situations? Make conversation?

 

Think about what you really want and want your real, precise goals are. Then you'll find a path and know why you're doing it.

 

I can get my ds friends with the social skills groups I have access to. We can work on conversation without school. Being in mainstream social activities is more about support in the activity than school.

 

My kid is terrible at waiting and school is really good at teaching them to put up with boredom, deal with no preferred, and waiting. Transitions you can do yourself or with school.

 

The school kids get less on real life. We go to a games club for social skills and the kids can't play games. Not like 100% can't but just in general I'm saying the strengths are flipped. But life sucks if your kid can't wait or transition and doesn't suck if he can't play Catan.

 

Our experience is like Innisfree's to a T. To a T. Think about what that means. We'll see with his new IEP but I don't know if my ds would mainstream with an aide. His current IEP doesn't say that. He needs significant support and I don't really feel like some low paid aide is necessarily better than me homeschooling him. I'm better than the that aide. I'm looking for a setup that is BETTER than what I can provide.

 

Innisfree's lust of dangers and problems are exactly what I'm seeing.

 

Gotta scat. Last day of Disney. Gotta do sensory and get him going. He got a sunburn yesterday. It never ends. You're always on, problem solving. And not normal level but keep everyone safe level because something happens. We lost his headphones and didn't bring spares.

 

It's living with the reality that the failures will be my fault. And it's seeming obvious we WILL fail. I don't see how we can succeed. It's what I want to think about when I get back. What does success with this look like. It's not scholarships or fancy college. What is it?

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Back to school thought. I gave access to st least 5 autism schools or schools that can handle autism and I'm not sure ANY of them fit ds. And to say autism school for social, really? He enjoys kids with ADHD and SLDs but doesn't gravitate to kids with autism. They're stressful and "weird" to him.

 

Social is a nebulous thought. That's why I'm saying be specific. Maybe my ds would make friends with other kids with autism if he went to an autism school but it's not guaranteed. The belonging and consistency would be good. I think they need that stability and predictability. You could do that lots of ways but it's valuable.

 

Saying you'll get that with a coop or CC or something will depend on D.C.'s support level.

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I would expect things to change. My ds has gotten more um just MORE over the last few years. The demands and the expectations aren't high yet. Your dd may struggle as demands increase. Maybe not. What's the IQ. What is your psych telling you? I think the higher IQ drives them crazy because they can conceptualize it but can't regulate it.

 

Again not trying to be offensive just saying the support level and IQ and total picture of what you have available will decide how it goes, not just the three letters.

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I have to drive an hour each way for social skills groups and language SLP and OT. 2 hours each way for PROMPTfor his apraxia. And autism schools have ABA on campus. So yes a good autism school could be WAY more efficient.

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Just following up on a couple of things mentioned in previous posts. (Note, DS13 does not have an autism diagnosis at this point -- he has NVLD -- but faces many of the same challenges and is definitely right up on the border of HFA).

 

First, I think it's really advantageous that you have the diagnosis at age 4, because there are options for early intervention that can make a difference. And, even though autism varies widely among individuals, it gives you a starting place for looking for services and ways to help her. With that said, you will likely find that you won't really understand all of her social and academic needs at this point, and what you choose now for her, school-wise, may not be what is best for her in later years.

 

So I think for the school question, it may be best just to think about what will work best for her and your family for next year. Will she be kindergarten next year or do another year of preschool?

 

My kids are in private schools, and I do a great deal of driving, so I completely understand that dilemma. It can be difficult, for sure. We have decided that each school is the best for each child at this point, though, so I am dealing with it as best as I can. Next year will be different, because my boys will switch to public school. DD12 is in a private school for dyslexia, and we are currently weighing how long she should stay there, because it is expensive. But it is so good for her that it's hard to weight that against the price. There are so many factors to consider.

Edited by Storygirl
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Continuing on with thoughts about social.

 

The social difficulties really are so varied. It's not just about the ability to make friends, as you probably are aware. When DS13 was being evaluated for his IEP, I kept saying at the school meetings that he has problems with social, and I had to make a case for that area to be evaluated in his IEP, because his teachers kept saying, "But he has friends." Guess what -- on the social evaluation done for his IEP, he scored a 1 for pragmatics (1 being the bottom of the scale). And that was based primarily on the rating form that his classroom teacher filled out. So the teacher was saying he didn't have a problem with social, but then when she had to indicate on the form how he was doing in various social areas, she rated him extremely low.

 

That's just to point out that what people mean by the word "social" really varies, and you have to dig down into it to see what your child's specific needs are.

 

Here are a few examples of things DS13 has trouble with. Communication skills in general (though he is highly verbal), which fall not only under language but under social. Being able to work with others in a group (very important in school, and an area that schools can help with if it is a problem area). Knowing how to ask for help. Understanding not only the actual words that the teacher (or whoever) says, but knowing what they mean by connecting them to previously learned things. DS13's teacher commented that she finds he really lacks background knowledge (she called it life knowledge), and she has to explain many things to him that other kids have picked up just through living life. Social impairment can also cause reading comprehension difficulties.

 

So someone who is very well liked by friends could still struggle with these kind of things.

 

And the friendship issue can change over time. When he was little, DS13 didn't have friends. We homeschooled, but he went to church and extracurricular activities and interacted with other children multiple times per week. Even so, no friends. When he was at the end of fourth grade, we moved into a neighborhood where he could have neighborhood friends, and he did interact more with them and with the boys at gymastics and church by that age. But we had some really tricky social issues with him as he began interacting with others more, and social is what caused us to pull him out of competitive gymnastics a year later.

 

Now he has been at the same school for three years, and he has people he has become friends with, but it's an extremely small private school. We expect him to have more friendship problems next year when he switches to public. Also, at this age (7th grade), the kids are still kind of goofy and juvenile and immature, so his social awkwardness kind of blends in with the general awkwardness of all boys going through puberty. I expect that high school kids might find him harder to connect with in a few years. I hope not, but probably.

 

And when DS13 was four, I was already suspecting something related to the autism spectrum (some psychs will diagnose NVLD as on the spectrum). But I had no idea that any of the things I just wrote about would be issues for him. I had no clue at all. And, honestly, some of the social challenges he has are kind of hidden, where people don't realize it about him at first and then don't understand what his deal is as time goes on.

 

For DS13 in particular, school has been good for socialization. Has it improved his social skills? Just being in school has not done anything to fix his social impairments. But it has revealed some things that we didn't know were issues when we were homeschooling, so that we can work to address them and either teach him the skills he lacks or find ways to modify things and accommodate for them. And he gets social help in his IEP and works with a SLP.

 

I know there have been other parents on the WTM boards who have removed their kids with ASD from school, because their school situation was not working for their child. And there have been parents on the WTM boards who have enrolled their homeschooled kids with ASD into school, because the school provides an environment and/or services that are going to be better for the child.

 

And in addition to that, a pro for school is that it provides a break for the parents, because in all honesty, sometimes parents need that, because it is hard to be the only one dealing with all of the needs -- when we enrolled in school, I had reached the point where I just needed a team of people helping me. You can set up a team of people to help you through private services (and we did that), of course, but the coordination of care still remains on the parent.

 

I'm not going to downplay the importance of the parent counting her own needs into the decision, because it's an important factor.

 

So the completely truthful answer is that school works great for some kids with ASD and is terrible for others. And for some it is a solution that is neither great nor terrible but that works. Homeschooling is perfect for some kids with ASD and difficult for others.

 

All that to say, at age 4, you probably need to kind of take things year by year. And as you learn more about your child's needs, you will will find your way. :)

 

Edited by Storygirl
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Just about the logistics -- can you spend one day a week near your daughter's school, instead of driving back home? Go to the library, do your grocery shopping or other errands, join a Y near there. etc. Find a few enriching (or just practical) things that you can do with your other child in that area? That would be one day less for him to be in the car.

 

My other kids ride around in the car a lot when their only reason for being in the car is to transport their siblings somewhere. Easily an hour or more per day, when the drive is not for their personal benefit. It stinks. I hate it for them.

 

But people do find positive ways to spend that car time. I bet if you wanted ideas and posted on the Chat board, you would get many suggestions. (I know you didn't ask for ideas -- just throwing the idea out there).

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Just about the logistics -- can you spend one day a week near your daughter's school, instead of driving back home? Go to the library, do your grocery shopping or other errands, join a Y near there. etc. Find a few enriching (or just practical) things that you can do with your other child in that area? That would be one day less for him to be in the car.

 

We did something like this when my son was in preschool (long before we thought we'd homeschool). It worked well--we just had to have a plan.

 

And yes, even when things are ideal, sometimes lots of time in the car is what some families get stuck with. Other families, it's the kids on the bus a long time. There are ways to make it productive or at least fun.

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I apologize for not responding sooner.  I completely forgot that I posted on this board!  I read through all the replies last night, and I really appreciate all the help.

 

I did not receive a number diagnosis related to ASD from the Psychologist.  I knew nothing about autism at the time and didn't know enough to ask about the number.  She just said she had "mild autism", and to retest in the spring after speech/preschool services had been in place for a few months to see how much progress had been made. I'll know more after we meet with the Psychologist again.

 

I'm going to observe my daughter's class this week, and am hoping that I will have more insight into what direction to go next year.

 

It's very helpful to hear about other's experiences- whether you kept your kids home or sent them to school.  I'm just trying to get  a feel for what it might look like to homeschool someone with ASD.  I realize there's probably not a normal. I have yet to hear any "expert" support the idea of homeschooling a child with ASD, so I'm just curious about how it looks for people that are doing it. 

 

Also, since we're going back to the Psychologist soon, is there anything specific I should ask?  

 

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. : )  

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Ok, I'm back! The DSM allows the psych to specify support levels, and they can even say support level for social, support level for I forget (different aspects). So people can get split numbers, like level 2 support for social level 3 for language or whatever. I think the psych we're seeing now is going to keep my ds' support levels even, but they can be broken up like that. If you have a written report, there might be something in there. I think in general "mild" probably means level 1, but who am I to guess? I would check your paperwork. 

 

The HFA thing goes back to DSM4 and prior and is sort of messy. Like when they were using it, it was kind of, well it didn't mean what we, as newbie parents, think. I think it may have been connected more to IQ. Support level is a little more precise because then people know ok this is what support your dc needs for that aspect. 

 

So then I'll warn you, if you read my old board posts my ds was sounding a lot like yours at that age. We were having fun doing school work, though he was requiring a lot of effort, and he seemed to roll with things. His support level now that he's 9 is significant. And when he was diagnosed at 6 (and with every eval after that), he was right on the line. Like he has always been at that which way is he going, up or down. People wanted to *believe* good things, like believe oh he's going to be 1, and on some really good days, because of his IQ, because of his curiosity, because he was trying so hard, you would kinda think that. But it's that we were bringing in so many supports. As the demands increased, what had been borderline, with people saying well maybe this way or that way, well it isn't so borderline anymore. He requires significant support.

 

The reason he takes so much time and effort is because he's using the person he's with to co-regulate. So if I'm down, if I'm distracted, if the person he's with is down or distracted, he's going to find something ELSE to use to co-regulate. So that's where you get the withdrawal, the circling into the vortex. So you think about how well your dd is doing, and it's because she's getting hours and hours and hours every day of intense interaction. You can read Solomon's book on Engaging Autism and read more about that. What he describes is in the vein of how we're doing things with our behaviorist. It might resonate with you. But the point is that although people can be picky over what kinds of things in the interaction, reality is no matter what the dc is probably going to need intense interaction. And the higher the support level, the more we're talking.

 

Now the advantage for you, having homeschooled so much, is you're able to be flexible with methodology. That's like me. I'm over the newbie homeschooler hurdles and I could rep for any curriculum vendor in the convention hall. So I can be really flexible and pick things that really target right where he is. That part is really good!! You're bringing some serious strengths to the table there. You're bringing an ability to customize that will be beyond what the ps can do. Now some schools can do more than others. I've had an IS (Intervention Specialist) who was like oh in our district I would write him custom material! That's pretty wow. But in general I don't know that that is so common. 

 

Now your disadvantage is you're used to thinking of what homeschooling is, and depending on the dc and his mix of academic issues and challenges, it might not be that. It might be that she looks pretty typical and uses typical curriculum and is fine. My ds isn't. That's really going to be your dc's mix, no guarantees.

 

Total aside, the thing that (no nice french here) upsets me about how they handle gifted autism is with this assumption that oh those kids don't need the VMPAC, blah blah. The more you look for holes the better. Like if your people are doing VMPAC or ABLLS, learn about this stuff. Because even the super bright kids turn out to have some funky holes, and they're going to be things you really notice as a homeschooler.

 

So yes, you'll bring strengths that could let you do certain things better than the ps. This stuff is not rocket science, and you can learn and do things and work with her, sure. Your greatest challenge will be distraction if you have other kids to work with. You can work through fatigue, getting support, driving to therapies, whatever. But if you have other kids, those are hours she's not getting with you. Now maybe she has a mix where that works, with no SLDs, no issues doing work independently, thriving on the structure of the herd, whatever. If it's working, it's working. But think about the hours she's getting in her preschool program and then go ok, who gives those? Because with autism, the whole thing about quality vs. quantity isn't true. It's both. It's intense interaction of high quality in quantity. 

 

I like that I keep my ds home. I like our bond, our connectedness. I like that I'm total in the loop and can push for things I value for him as skills or areas of intervention. There are a lot of good things about it, even with a significant support level. I've had IS (intervention specialists) review what we're doing and they're cool with it. All the things you think would be good will be good. And then anything that can possibly be challenging or bad really could happen too. 

 

Is it an option to move closer to the autism school? Or take an apartment there? I'm just saying you could put more options on the table. Might not be what you wanted, but these are not problems that are going away. I agree it's a lot to have to drive that far. However I was at a major autism school and saw ps busing from a city that was OVER an hour away. The ps pays for the full enrollment and the ps does the busing. Can you arrange that? 

 

We drive a lot of hours, and I give him educational videos on his kindle and audiobooks. So there's kind of that flipside, that you can try to use the time. 

 

If you brought her home at some point, where are your resources to bring in workers into the home? In our area, I can get a behaviorist and other workers in our home because the state has a disability scholarship program. The scholarship pays for SLPs and social skills groups, and that incentivizes providers to offer them.

 

Going to hs activities is a mix. You have behaviors, but those language issues will be even more of an issue. They'll affect all of the academics, and then you'll be realizing ok my kid can't go to ANY of the academic classes at the co-op because they don't work for him. You'd be looking at teachers who can't handle disabilities, who are used to teaching in their preferred niches (lots of notebooking, whatever). So like for my ds, co-op stuff is a bust. There was a lego robotics class I might have tried, but he would have needed support. Everything else, total bust. 

 

So that's pretty isolating if you conclude those things aren't going to work, kwim? Then you're back to how do I connect? And I hear you saying she's going out, but my ds was going out at that age too. The serious withdrawal came later, as he got older and realized the level of demands. So like this week I took him to Disney and he had a pretty good time. But he spent a MONTH saying he didn't want to go, he didn't care about going, getting angry and saying he wouldn't go, blah blah. He's been before and he knows the level of difficulty for him (lots of people, lots of noise, etc.). He knew it would be hard, so he was pushing back. But he wasn't that hard at 3/4, kwim? NOW is much harder than it was then.

 

Maybe it won't be that way for your dc. I'm just saying it can happen. 

 

That long drive is part of why we're not doing school right now. I don't have a school setting with a really good fit, and I can DO his school in the amount of time the commute would take. And I'm able to devote myself to him. But there are things school would do better, sure. The main thing is consistency of structure. That's HUGE. It's not realistic and lifelong, but it's calming and really nice to have. I like what I do too, like taking him out in the community, playing games, building lots of life skills. Like this time at Disney, my ds would anticipate the request for number of people in the party and hold up his fingers. It was really good! He gets used to consistent structures and it's very calming. It's why moving closer to the school could be on the table for you, because it would get you access to that calming, consistent structure. And maybe you're super good about providing it at home! Some people really are. They just kick butt with being consistent and structured. You know yourself.

 

I think having a psych answer up/down on homeschooling your dc is as variable as asking what a random dc with autism will be like. Homeschoolers really vary. What kind are you? Are you organized and structured? Are you chaotic and last minute and loud and constantly rushed? Are you thorough or more like here this will have to do? Are you flexible or rigid in your approach? Your dc will need significant one-on-one time, structure, supports, and probably some customized instruction or tailoring. To some homeschoolers that's a really enjoyable thing, an adventure they embrace like ok we're going to learn these new ways, we'll flex, we can learn and do this. And there are people who are pushing their ASD kids through straight xyz curriculum (Abeka, whatever). Now it's really structured, but is it really working for them? 

 

So if your psych had some bad run-in or values a particular thing more than you value it at this time, then he might be like oh that's terrible. But that doesn't mean it would be terrible with YOU. You are yourself and not like any other homeschooler. You have to evaluate yourself honestly and see how far you're willing to go to make happen what has to happen. The best questions you can ask the psych are WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN. Not who should do it, because that can have lots of answers. But WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN. That's what our current psych is doing. She's like we're going to have a list of what needs to happen and all that matters is that it happens. Then we can say ok how do I make that happen in a homeschooling context and how do I make that happen in a school and what do those paths look like?

 

Btw, I would agree that most of the psychs are quietly non-supportive of homeschooling autism. With ADHD, they're more like oh yeah, customize, this is great. With autism, the tone changes. Now I think that tone can change BACK with success. Like our behaviorist is sort of middle of the road. If it's working, it's working. She helps families who are pulling kids OUT of school, so she knows that school can really backfire for some kids with autism. So as much as the psychs are like oh school is a pat answer, it works, it's better, reality is for a segment of kids it's WORSE. I think my ds would have been one of those, because he's complex. He had significant, significant aggression, and it has taken us 3 years of hard work to figure out enough of what was going on and bring in enough supports that he can be consistently calm. The ps wouldn't have had all those layers, because it was super complex. And those complex kids are the ones that end up getting restrained, getting more stressed, getting more frustrated. We were plowing against that, bringing in hours of workers and supports but trying to find ways not to make those things WORSE. School does backfire for some kids. And I like that we could focus on being gentle and connected and real. That gives us a solid path to move forward. 

 

Psychs can say anything they want, and you don't get a money-back guarantee for if they're WRONG. They can be wrong, really wrong. So stick to the what needs to happen stuff, and you'll probably figure out yourself the HOW of it.

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I have heard it recommended, by experts, but never as a blanket recommendation. 

 

I have heard it recommended in this way, by people who are just looking at what they think is best for individual kids, but don't have any particular reason to favor homeschool over public school:  that some kids really have their needs best met at home with what they are able to do with the home setting plus outside activities, social opportunities, therapies, etc.  And that some kids really have their needs best met in a school setting. 

 

So with this, what I have heard is, that some kids who have a very high sensory sensitivity may just do better at home.  Kids who really need a lot of downtime may just do better at home.  Kids who have very asynchronous learning needs may just do better at home.  Kids who do MUCH better with social opportunities based around a shared interest may just do better at home (where they can have their social needs met in a very individual way, based around their special interests), and.... those are the main ones I have heard, I think. 

 

Then there are kids who can have their needs met very well at school, in ways that would be hard to replicate at home, or with outside activities, for various reasons. 

 

I have not heard any blanket statements from experts saying that homeschool is "always" going to be a better choice than public school. 

 

I have not heard any blanket statements saying that public school is "always" going to be a better choice, either. 

 

I think there is a lot of understanding that it is very individual, and some kids will really benefit one way or the other.

 

And then of course there are kids where either way is going to be fine, but I think getting into special needs, there are more kids where either one or the other is going to be a better choice in various ways.  Which, with kids without special needs, I think there is so much more flexibility and room for parents to go by their own parental preferences, and it will be fine either way, and less of situations where parents have a preference but it doesn't work for their kids, and they are in a position of needing to go against their personal preferences (which can be either way, a parent who would prefer to homeschool but thinks public school is a better choice, or the opposite, a parent who would prefer to send kids to public school, but thinks homeschool is a better choice). 

 

I think that is how it has been overall with special needs, for me. 

 

I am a lot less free to do what I want, according to my personal preferences, my own "personal philosophy" of how I would like to parent and educate my kids, etc.  I don't have that freedom in a lot of ways, because the things that are going to work out well for my kids (but not my daughter, lol, she would thrive with anything I think) are just more limited, they are not going to just thrive with whatever I would prefer to do.  I have to adjust to what is going to be best for them, even if it is not what I personally would choose to do if it were totally up to me, and they could just roll with anything (with anything that is a generally acceptable parenting/educational practice that could generally work out well for kids in general). 

 

However it is so nice to see my kids doing well, I don't mind too much if I am getting there in ways that aren't my first choice at times. 

 

Really, I never would have picked ABA.  Well, one of my kids absolutely thrived with it.  I could see that he thrived with it.  I am not going to just decline to do it when it is the thing that works for my son.  And with his severity of autism, there just were not a lot of options on the table.  It is what it is. 

Edited by Lecka
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I am a lot less free to do what I want, according to my personal preferences, my own "personal philosophy" of how I would like to parent and educate my kids, etc.  I don't have that freedom in a lot of ways, because the things that are going to work out well for my kids (but not my daughter, lol, she would thrive with anything I think) are just more limited, they are not going to just thrive with whatever I would prefer to do.  I have to adjust to what is going to be best for them, even if it is not what I personally would choose to do if it were totally up to me, and they could just roll with anything (with anything that is a generally acceptable parenting/educational practice that could generally work out well for kids in general). 

 

However it is so nice to see my kids doing well, I don't mind too much if I am getting there in ways that aren't my first choice at times. 

 

 

Lecka, I liked your whole post, but this part really resonated with me. Because I so wanted to homeschool all the way through, and I was so excited about my vision of homeschooling. And then reality hit, and with children with challenges of various sorts, I had to adjust what I was doing in homeschooling so much that it really didn't resemble my vision at all any more. What I wanted for them, for our family, was not working well for them, given their needs and also their personalities. And what each of them needed was different from the others, and it was hard to split myself between them.

 

So I adjusted my approach while homeschooling. And then eventually we enrolled in school, and school has been a better choice in many ways. But it definitely was not my first choice. I can feel sad about that. But I also feel good that we have made choices that are good for them, even though the choices are way different than what I expected.

 

 

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You asked in your other thread if being within her family would be good social. Sort of. I think though she's just not quite at an age yet where you're realizing the extent of what her challenges will be. For instance, my ds at 9 struggles to problem solve. There's something called The Test of Problem Solving. He fails it, lol. So if my ds spills a glass of water on the counter, he doesn't know what to do. He literally can't figure it out. Age 9, gifted IQ. Can't figure out the steps and solve his problem. 

 

How in the WORLD is he going to hold a job???

 

Let's not worry about that. It will all work out. It goes back to 8Fill's point about employment and underemployment in the autism community. My ds WANTS to have a job and asks me regularly if I think xyz would be a good job for him. Like yesterday he asked me, as we were in an uber/lyft ride, if he would make a good uber/lyft driver. I LOVE that he wants to work! I am afraid for him and how it will turn out, because his ability to handle surprises is going to be low. He's going to need something pretty predictable. Something will work out, but this stuff is REAL.

 

So see her support level and let it pan out. I worry sometimes that I over-protect or maybe that he won't be able to use his skills elsewhere. Generalization is an issue. So if s/he can use the skill with you, but she can't use it with another person, it's not good enough. The magic number on that is 6, that we want them to use the skill in 6 places, with 6 settings, with 6 people, to get it to begin to generalize. So that's pretty challenging in a homeschool setting where maybe they have less settings, less people. We have to MAKE opportunities for them to branch out and generalize. That's why I'm taking my ds on trips, because I need him to go places and try his skills in other places, with other people. It can be done, but it's more effort.

 

I'm thinking more about what your psych said, and it's almost disrespectful. They are basically saying do RTI (response to intervention), that maybe your own whatever was so crap that the diagnosis will go away if you just get some intervention from experts. Did they recommend this program or what did they anticipate you doing? Did they anticipate you driving this far, or did they just assume you'd choose the ps? A shocking number of kids float like this, and that RTI kind of thing, hedging and saying well it's you, blame the parents, that's the first thing. I don't know, what your psych did just doesn't add up to me. I could be wrong or reading into it. I'm just wondering why they would tell you to drive 3-4 hours a DAY for something if it's not autism. And if it IS autism, then why not say so plainly and stop this idiotic hedging and why say come back in the spring after intervention, kwim? That to me is the RTI thing of well maybe it's you and that you just weren't doing something right, and that's offensive to me. And then I'd go ok, did the psych do the ADOS or not? And if not, why not?? So then ok, you do this crazy intense intervention and THEN you're going to do the ADOS?? 

 

That's how we didn't get our autism diagnosis from the first idiot psych. We were doing SO much therapy in the weeks prior, that we really bumped how he presented. I think your psych is being a little weird here. You do the ADOS, THEN you go do intervention. Did she ADOS or not?? Score? If she's screwing around with you, sure finish out, then stop, take the summer off, doing whatever you think, and in the fall go back to a psych who will ADOS. 

 

I don't know, I'm just saying be a little careful there. I don't understand what the psych is trying to do there, hedging on diagnosis. It either is or it isn't. This whole hedge, do intervention and come back in the spring, that's fuzzy to me. But I could be misunderstanding.

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I want to thank all of you for sharing about your experiences and giving suggestions.  You have all been super helpful!  Sometimes just knowing that you are not the only one going through something makes it seem not quite as difficult. : )  I have read and re-read all your posts.  There is a lot of useful information, and I have a lot to think about now!  Thanks again!!! 

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