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How to Effectively Homeschool Children with ASD

It is estimated that 1 in 160 children worldwide has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) while in the US, 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with the condition. Once children reach school age, parents think how to provide the best possible education for those with special needs and requirements. For parents or guardians who decide to homeschool children on the autism spectrum, they might find this option challenging, but it also offers numerous benefits to their education. Parents can develop an educational program that is suitable to their child incorporating simplified and one-on-one instructions, student-centered curriculum, and frequent breaks. The home can become an ideal learning environment that is free of stress, bullying, and excessive noise which are typically found in mainstream schools.

Target Learning

Finding out your child has autism might be a shock in the beginning, but there are practical steps you can take to handle the diagnosis. Process your feelings, get support, and familiarize yourself with the condition to provide the best care and education for your child. If you have the time, money, and the willingness, homeschooling can become an alternative that provides many benefits for children with autism

Unlike classic schools, your child can benefit from targeted learning. Taking into consideration state rules, you can tailor made a course according to your child’s interests. This will make learning easier compared to traditional methods. As children with autism have lower levels of engagement especially in social settings, you can reinforce learning to suit their interests. For example, if your child loves counting vehicles, create a learning module that uses cars or trucks that will make it fun and easier for them to learn the concepts of numbers.

Topic Fixations

Autistic fixation is one of the symptoms of autism. Hence, a person with the condition will continually discuss the same topics, play the same song, or read the same books over and over. These fixations can be negative if they take over your child’s life or affect their relationships with others. On a positive note, obsessive tendencies can also become beneficial to your child’s development. Make use of these fixations to engage your student by finding a topic that interests them and relate it to your lessons. 

Regular Schedule and Frequent Breaks

Routine and structure are very important for children with autism. A daily schedule that you post with visuals as a reference for your child will help them know what is in store for the day. Note that you will need to take frequent breaks so that your child can take time off from learning, decompress, or find a sensory input. To make this easy on your student, create a safe space at home where your child can decompress and take a quiet break. Fill it with items that soothe them whether it’s a book, music, or a soft toy. This spot can also be used when your child is experiencing a meltdown or having troubles with tasks.

Keep a Record

Documenting everything that you do when homeschooling is vital so that you have a record of what has been done and what could still be improved. In addition, organized records of your child will also help specialists, therapists, and doctors check the progress that has been made or to adjust interventions as needed. Records of homeschooling including audio or video tapes can also serve as proof of your child’s education for college and job applications. While it is understandable that you cannot keep every paper that will accumulate over the years, you can make a folder and select documents such as their final grades, tests from each subject, photos of projects, and curriculum studied.

Homeschooling offers an opportunity to educate a child with autism focusing on their strengths, interests, and abilities. It also requires dedication and patience and enlisting available support such as homeschooling groups and your local community can make your mission easier. 

Written by Jennifer McLee

Education World Contributor


Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash