Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Homeschooling ~ by Laura Carter

When most people think of autism, they think of the child in the corner banging his head on the wall, that can’t communicate or feed himself. But that isn’t always the case. There are extreme cases, but most autistic children can function somewhat normally in regular society.

A lot of moms with autistic children choose to homeschool because of the flexibility of choosing what, when, and how their child learns. Because autistic children’s brains function differently than neuro-typical children’s brains do, looking outside the box of normal school routines can help autistic children learn more efficiently and in their own way.

For instance, instead of doing book work or worksheets, an autistic child might prefer practicing writing letters on the window with dry-erase markers. Other ways to teach letters is by using sand in a box, or walking the patterns on the floor. Because autistic children tend to have poorer basic motor functions, it’s best to stay away from projects that involve precision or great finger strength.

For teaching math concepts children with autistic tendencies might find it easier to understand actual objects being used, instead of numbers or pictures on a paper. You can use cheerios, raisins, blocks, or even noodles to demonstrate most math concepts.

When working with autistic children on handwriting or writing you have to understand that the brain-to-finger connection is not always stable, therefore autistic children will more than likely have sloppy handwriting and not understand the need for precise letter placements. They may smash words and letters together, or space them too far apart when there’s room. It’s important to be understanding, but go over it again and again to reinforce the concepts.

There are many different levels of autistic children, from the very disabled to somewhat “normal”, functioning children. The high-functioning form of autism is usually referred to as Asperger’s syndrome. Children with this diagnosis have struggles with focus, fine motor skills, understanding social cues and situations, and thinking in the abstract. They very much like facts and logic, so they will usually excel at math and spelling, but struggle in literature, English, and subjects that involve original thought.

If you are unsure if your child has autism on any level, many resources can help you make decisions for your child and your homeschooling schedule.

Books I Love about Asperger’s/Autism:

Quirky, Yes- Hopeless, No. Practical Tips to Help Your Child with Asperger’s Syndrome Be More Socially Accepted By Cynthia La Brie Norall, Ph. D

Can I Tell You About Asperger Syndrome? A guide for friends and family by Jude Welton

Helpful Website about Asperger’s/Autism:

The Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support (OASIS) center has joined with MAAP Services for Autism and Asperger Syndrome to create a single resource for families, individuals, and medical professionals who deal with the challenges of Asperger Syndrome, Autism, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder/ Not Otherwise Specified (PDD/NOS).

Asperger’s Syndrome – Symptoms – Autism Spectrum Disorders Health Center – WebMD
Although there are many possible symptoms of Aspergers syndrome, the main symptom is severe trouble with social situations.

Asperger’s syndrome – Mayo Clinic
Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment for a disorder affecting communication, social skills.

Copyright ©  2012 Eclectic Homeschool Association

This article is reprinted from the Eclectic Homeschool Online by permission. The Eclectic Homeschool Online is an online homeschool magazine and community for creative homeschoolers.