Home Schooling, not to be confused with Home Tutoring, is another choice or path to choose from when considering the best way to educate your child with Autism, ASD or special needs.
Requirements For Home Schooling
Obviously to be able to Home School your child you would need to be able to meet the requirements set by the Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS) or equivalent governing body in your state or country, and have the resources to be able to provide the time and suitable learning environment to make Home Schooling a viable option.
Some of the requirements set by the education authorities are as follows:
When choosing to home educate, parents undertake responsibility for their children’s education and must be able to demonstrate that their child(ren) have access to:
- an appropriate learning program which addresses eight areas of learning
- resources to support the learning program
- opportunities for social interaction
- a suitable learning environment.
Advantages of Home Schooling ASD Child
The advantages of home schooling a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder or special needs is certainly that the level of academic education will be more intense in the right circumstances. Most mainstream and special schools just don’t have the resources to be able to deliver a one on one (or even close) learning environment. The child is also distanced from the usual school yard teasing or bullying which can be a very disrupting experience to many children (special needs or not).
Disadvantages of Home Schooling ASD Child
The disadvantages can be that the child does not get the social interaction that they would be exposed to in a schooling system (this may be an advantage in some circumstances). Home schooling can also be a huge responsibility to take on, and ones circumstances would really need to be suitable for such a task.
Home Schooling would not be an option for everyone, it would require for at least one parent to be able to dedicate a considerable amount of their time to becoming the child’s teacher, which I imagine would have to be a full time commitment. If your situation is fortunate enough to be able to hire personal teachers then it would certainly be a viable option.
Social interaction would have to be organised by outings, group memberships such as Scouts or alike, and even family and friends get-togethers. Wherever the child has a chance to mix it with others and have some interaction of a social nature. This is possibly one of the more difficult tasks when Home Schooling your child.
Although controversial there are some lines of thought that lean toward exposure to all of life’s positive and negative social interactions in order to develop fully in a social sense. one can not be isolated from life’s inevitable outcomes for ever. On a physical health level it is well known that children “wrapped up in cotton wool” actually have more health issues than children who are exposed to the elements, and so it might quite well be feasible to consider this on a mental health equivalent!
Schooling Choices For a Child With Autism
So, in a nutshell there are the choices that we as parents of a child on the Autism spectrum or a child with special needs have.
- Mainstream Schooling
- Special Schools
- Home Schooling
Which path you take is purely a matter of weighing up what is best for your circumstances. As far as I am concerned there is no right or wrong path to take, you can only do what is best for you and your family. The one thing that I do strongly believe in is that love and happiness will get you through every time, no exceptions, and as Bear Kaufman from the Option Institute (SonRise) points out – Happiness is a choice!
Below are some links to sites with information on home schooling in Australia:
http://www.aussieeducator.org.au/education/specificareas/homeschooling.html Australian Home Schooling website
Australian State and Territories Government Education Home Schooling information:
http://www.decs.sa.gov.au/portal/community.asp?group=matters&id=homeeducation South Australia.
http://www.det.wa.edu.au/education/homeeducation/ Western Australia
http://www.det.nt.gov.au/parents-community/schooling/home-education Northern Territory
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