Children with Asperger’s Syndrome tend to have a difficult time doing anything that involves social interaction. Unfortunately, this is true of a lot more children today. In fact, the CDC and the National Institute of Mental Health, the rate of Asperger’s has increased since the 1980s and the early 1990s. Now instead of there being between 1 in 500 children being born with this syndrome there are now 1 in 150 children being born with it and most of them are boys. This leaves us looking for the best way to homeschool a child with aspergers.
Challenges With School Aged Children
Children with Asperger’s Syndrome present a special challenge whenever they become school age. While they are known to have higher intelligence, and oftentimes be gifted, they are unable to cope with the socialization that takes place within the typical school setting. This presents the school with a special challenge of providing these children with special services while at the same time also providing them with gifted or advanced level academic work. For this reason, a lot of parents turn to homeschooling. Of course, this is only one of the numerous benefits that these children will receive.
Socialization: The Biggest Benefit Of Homeschooling Children With Asperger’s Syndrome
One of the biggest benefits to homeschool a child that has Asperger’s Syndrome is that the social interaction can be controlled. Therefore, you can take things at a slower pace that is more comfortable for your child. This is great because meltdowns can be avoided whenever these children are around their family and other familiar surroundings. Of course, you will still want to schedule weekly play dates, co-op classes or other types of extracurricular activities but you can choose those activities that don’t have as many children and thus be able to more easily work with the child’s social skills.
You will definitely want to take a proactive approach to teaching your child social skills but you will be able to set up anticipated scenarios and expected behaviors before the child enters into the situation. It is also easier to use eye contact, voice projection and other interactive skills to help your child along the way. This is different from the conventional school setting, which requires constant reactive behavior and is not set up for this type of intervention.
It is also possible to do group activities within your family instead of with other peers. This will help your child to be able to learn how to function as part of a team. These children will feel safer in this way because your other children have already learned to work with each other’s unique personalities.
Controlled Stimulation: Another Benefit Of Homeschooling Children With Asperger’s Syndrome
At home you will be able to keep stimulation overload to a minimum. This is important because a lot of children with Asperger’s Syndrome have sensory issues. Therefore, things like bright lights, loud sounds and unusual textures can negatively impact their ability to process information. Fortunately, homeschooling is much quieter and more orderly. You can also allow your child to isolate himself whenever he needs to decompress, which is something that can’t be done in the conventional school setting.
Choosing The Right Aspergers Homeschool Curriculum
It is a good idea to allow your child’s interests to lead you regardless of what homeschool curriculum you decide to use. Since homeschooling mandates working closely with your child, you will be able to tell what he is fascinated by or obsessed with. These are things that you will want to capitalize on since you can easily weave things like reading, writing, math, science and history into these studies. This will be much better for your child since they will be able to learn and grow by investigating those things that they are interested in whereas in school they will grow frustrated waiting for the opportunity to be able to do this.
You may also want to find a curriculum that does a lot of list building. Not only is this a great learning methodology but also children who have Asperger’s Syndrome enjoy putting lists together and discovering or building patterns. This stems from their need for a sense of order. You should definitely use it to your advantage instead of relying upon textbooks and lecturing, which simply doesn’t work for these children.
Another part of their need for a sense of order can be seen in their need for rules and a routine. This gives order to their environment and anything that is out of order can be quite upsetting to them.
While there is no one clear cut curriculum that will work for your child if they have Asperger’s Syndrome, at least now you know what to look for whenever you are in search of a curriculum. A lot of parents have actually found that unschooling and unit studies are what works best for them. Regardless of what you decide to use, you will find that it is much easier to accommodate your child’s educational needs when you homeschool them. You will also discover that your child is able to much more successfully engage in the world around them because you have chosen to homeschool.