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August 4, 2021

5 Tips for Homeschooling Your Child With ASD

How to succeed at homeschooling a child with ASD

Key takeaways:

  • Work within state education guidelines/laws
  • Inform your child’s therapy team
  • Consider your child’s age, developmental stage, and learning style when choosing a homeschool program
  • Stick to a routine and schedule
  • Ensure proper socialization
  • Join a homeschool co-op or local group
  • Incorporate ABA Therapy into your child’s schedule

Due to COVID-19, your child may still be learning remotely. Or, perhaps you’ve decided to step away from traditional school (the remote and in-person versions) for other reasons and homeschool your child.

If you have a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), learning from home comes with advantages. It also has its unique challenges. We provide tips and resources to ensure your child learns and achieves the necessary academic milestones.

The pros and cons of homeschooling

The decision to homeschool a child with ASD should not be taken lightly. Although the idea might sound good, you’re taking on a challenge and it may not be the best situation for your family. There are pros and cons to homeschooling. They include:

Pros of homeschooling:

  • You can spend more time with your child
  • You have the ability to create individualized instruction
  • You can focus on your child’s strengths
  • You can create a more flexible schedule
  • You can devote more time to your child’s interests
  • There is no bullying or peer pressure
  • You have more control over what your child eats
  • You can avoid too much sensory stimulation
  • You have the power to help reduce anxiety and stress
  • Home is safer and healthier for immune-compromised children

Cons of homeschooling:

  • There will be added stress on you as a parent
  • Your child may not respond well to you as a teacher
  • You must plan and organize everything
  • It can be isolating and lonely for your child (and you)
  • You’re in charge of all social activities
  • There may be a lack of structure
  • You won’t get “breaks” from each other
  • Your child might not gain adequate independence

If you are going to homeschool your child, we have tips to help you master it. Here are five to put you on the road to success.

Tip 1: Work within state guidelines

Homeschooling has more flexibility advantages but it’s not to be taken lightly. Although you do have more freedom when it comes to curriculum and a schedule, you still need to follow the law. Check with the Department of Education in your state to learn about the requirements and guidelines for students. It’s important to follow them, especially if you have an older child or teen. Failure to adhere can result in credits and grades not being recognized for graduation.

Tip 2: Inform your child’s therapy team

It’s important to talk to your child’s entire treatment team which can include a BCBA, Speech Therapist, Physical Therapist, and counselors. If your child is attempting remote learning, you can also ask his/her teachers for advice. They may be able to suggest accommodations and ways to make remote learning easier.

Tip 3: Choosing a curriculum

You can find a wide variety of homeschool programs out there, including ones geared for children with ASD and other learning challenges. It’s important to consider your child’s age, developmental stage, and learning style when choosing a program.

Options:

Tip 4: Create a schedule

Children with ASD often do much better with a consistent routine. If you’re homeschooling, you can create a specific schedule that fits your child’s needs. Perhaps he/she focuses better in the morning versus the afternoon. Shorter sessions may be better if your child struggles to stay focused. You can incorporate more active, hands-on learning.

NOTE: Be sure to include breaks in your daily schedule!

With school-based remote learning, you will have to work around times when your child needs to be online and sitting at the computer. However, you may still have some flexibility to work around his/her needs if you talk to your child’s teachers.

Tip 5: Ensure proper socialization

Even though children with ASD often struggle in social settings, it’s still important to ensure they get opportunities to interact in the real world. There are many ways to accomplish this goal, whether through local homeschool groups or online.

  • Join a homeschool co-op (you can even find groups for children with ASD)
  • Enroll your child in local homeschool classes (YMCA, zoo, museum, art classes, library, book clubs)
  • Encourage your child to take up a sport
  • Group music lessons
  • Organize playdates
  • Your church
  • Look for groups online

Incorporate ABA Therapy into the routine

ABA Therapy is implemented to teach a child a variety of skills and behaviors to replace challenging behaviors with more appropriate behaviors. Some children may engage in behaviors that interfere with homeschooling such as frequently leaving the learning environment, becoming upset with more difficult school tasks or avoidance of schoolwork. ABA Therapy can prepare your child for the behavioral expectations of homeschooling by identifying the function of challenging behaviors and teaching appropriate replacement behaviors to communicate in a more functional manner. For example, if a child often leaves the homeschooling area or avoids returning to school work after a break, he/she may be taught to request breaks appropriately, tolerate waiting for a break, or tolerate lower preferred schoolwork.

There are 7 goals of ABA Therapy according to Psychology Today.

  1. Determine which behaviors require a change
  2. Set goals and expected outcomes
  3. Establish ways to measure change and improvement
  4. Evaluate where your child is now
  5. Learn new skills and how to avoid challenging responses
  6. Review your child’s progress
  7. Decide whether further modification is needed

Begin your child’s assessment today

If your child has ASD, ABA Therapy at Lumiere Children’s Therapy is key to helping him or her gain essential skills and independence. We provide in-office and home-based ABA therapy. We also provide other comprehensive therapies for children with a wide range of physical, emotional, and developmental conditions

Our services include:

  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Developmental therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Social work
  • Augmentative alternative communication
  • Early intervention
  • Teletherapy

Lumiere Children’s Therapy is a full-service, multidisciplinary pediatric therapy practice located in Chicago that serves the developmental needs of children from birth to 18 years of age. Learn more about how our team of clinicians works to improve the lives of children and their families.

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