Should You Home School Your Autistic Child?

Although the government provides for an equal education for all children, and their “no child left behind” policy ensures that every kid in school is given the same instruction, the truth is that not all children are equal. It may sound harsh, but if we’re being honest, every child learns and develops at his or her own pace, and all have varying levels of ability when it comes to comprehending language, mathematics, and so on. The unfortunate result of a system of rote learning is that children are pushed through, whether they’re ready or not. And while some may excel despite this, others will only fall further and further behind over time. The system also fails to account for children with any kind of specialized needs that might require additional considerations. It is for this reason that some parents opt to send their kids to private or specialized schools that have a better chance of meeting their needs and helping them to reach their full potential. Others opt for home schooling.

The decision to home school any child is a very personal one and each family likely has their own reasons for doing so. As the parent of an autistic child, you no doubt have concerns (and rightly so) about the ability of the public school system to offer your child the instruction that will help him to make the most of his talents and intellect and hopefully become a functioning and productive member of society. No child should be treated as a cog in the machine. And yet, this is almost exactly the mentality adopted by the public school system at large, thanks to the meddling of the federal government. But before you opt for home schooling there are a few things to think about.

First and foremost, you need to consider whether or not there is a professional institution that is better equipped to teach your child. If you can afford to send him to a private school where he’ll receive the individual attention he needs to thrive, not to mention specialized teachers that have the knowledge and skill to work with his particular hurdles, then you may do him a service by allowing him to continue his education in an environment where he’ll still enjoy social interaction with his peers. But if you happen to be trained and equipped to offer a better education at home, or your child has difficulty with the noise and activity present in the average classroom, then home schooling may present a better opportunity for him to learn and grow.

Of course, you also need to address the issue of qualification. The laws concerning home schooling situations vary from state to state. You may be required to hold a teaching certificate or even an advanced degree in some cases (and your online MBA from Pepperdine may not apply). Or you might have to apply for permission from your district in order to teach your child at home. And you’re unlikely to get any help in the way of funding, although you’ll be expected to shell out for your own set of textbooks, testing materials, and so on. In short, home schooling is no walk in the park. But if you have the time, the means, and the skill necessary to educate your autistic child at home, and you feel the environment is more conducive to learning, then you should not hesitate to make your goals a reality and do what is right for your child and your family.

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