As we begin a new week, and with Sweet B on vacation this week, so begins another day of the Autism A to Z series. Today’s letter is E and for us, that means: E is for Education. Now, I could mean educating the public and/or the uninformed about autism but I’m going to talk about special education and homeschooling. We already do an autism and afterschooling series here and I have talked about special education before as well. Both our own experience and a basic beginner’s guide.
Autism and Educational Services
When it comes to education, yes, an individual with autism is more than capable of participating. This can either be in a public or private school setting or you may want to pursue homeschooling as an option. Under IDEA, all school age and preschool children with disabilities are guaranteed a free and appropriate public education. This does require some work on your part, including setting up either an IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan) or IEP (Individual Education Plan) which were both discussed in decoding special education terms.
But advocating for services, depending on where you live, can be difficult.
And then there’s a matter of deciding what type of educational model to use when it comes to your child.
Different approaches offer different benefits and often times, a combination of approaches will be the best fit for your child.
Educational Approaches for Autism
So what are these approaches?
Examples include: ABA Therapy, Floortime, and TEACCH.
For Sweet B, a combination of ABA and TEACCH have worked nicely for her. Recently, her school also started using the Autism Curriculum which, after taking assessment tests, seeks to cater a curriculum around an individual’s needs and learning styles.
And this is key- individuality. Since we know that autism is a spectrum disorder and that no one individual with autism is the same, you would then have to take a similar approach for education.
Where it concerns early childhood/early intervention, Susan Stokes (an autism specialist) has this to say:
The fundamental features necessary for a successful early childhood program for children with autism are:
- Curriculum Content
- Highly Supportive Teaching Environments and Generalization Strategies
- Need for Predictability and Routine
- Functional Approach to Problem Behavior
- Transition Planning from Early Childhood program to elementary school
- Family Involvement
Written by Susan Stokes under a contract with CESA 7 and funded by a discretionary grant from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
I would argue that this is fundamental for a school age child as well (but with relevant transition planning ex: middle school, high school, post-school).
And what about homeschool? Is homeschooling a viable option for an individual with autism? Of course it is!
Just make sure that you’re following the homeschooling laws in your state and that you’re developing an appropriate IEP, just as you would with a public or private school. Homeschooling may even be a better option if you can manage it. That way you’re ensuring that your child is truly receiving an individual education.
But even if you aren’t able to homeschool, just keep your goals in mind. You want what’s best for your child in all aspects of life. This includes education and whether you send them to school or homeschool them, you will ultimately know what’s best.
Latest posts by Kori (see all)
- What Hobbies Can You Consider Taking Up As A Stay At Home Mom? - March 27, 2023
Our son was diagnosed officially in January and started school a few weeks ago. I love the program he is in because we get a feel of what he will be learning. Have I seen progress so far? Yes, this program works for us. Its a year long program until he transition to Kindergarten. This is a great and very informative post. You said it best individuality. Many seems to forget that.
My daughter was diagnosed when she was 18 or 19 months old and the program that she’s in right now, she’s been in since kindergarten. We love it there. They also offer an extended school year so she’s not missing out on her therapy services. I’m glad that you’ve found a program that works! That can be a challenge sometimes.
I have a mutual friend whose son was diagnosed. She does not talk to me directly about it. I may try to share this with her but I would hate to offend her or bother her. It’s that fine line of .. what to do. If that makes any sense.
That makes perfect sense. I’ll admit- unless it’s something I find myself or a close friend or family member sends to me, I really don’t appreciate being sent articles/posts/etc that have to do with autism. I’m in a few support groups on FB, but otherwise I try to keep it separate from stuff that I do online.. well, short of posting about it in the blog, anyway.
I have a number of friends with children with autism. I’m glad they don;t hide them from society. They go places in public together like restaurants and parks and such.
I always looked at those social outings as opportunities to educate/inform if the situation ever came up. 🙂
These are wonderful points. I’ve known several autistic kids and they had teaching much like this.
2015 A to Z Blogger
Visions of Other Worlds
Every state varies on the home schooling laws. Charter schools that have home school programs work great because they are seen as a public school and you usually have an online teacher assigned to your child. They have you mail in samples of work every month, they call on the phone and even do video classes.
I’m also doing the A to Z challenge, Organize Home Life on http://AMomsPointOfView.com
I hadn’t considered charter schools as an option. Thank you for reminding me of that. I’ll definitely check out your challenge as well.
I’m glad that parents have so many resources and options today! My husband’s best friend is a special needs teacher, and he does a phenomenal job. When we’re all out together and his students spot him (as happens often in small towns), their faces just light up.