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Featured Looking for some advice re: homeschooling

Discussion in 'Parenting & Autism Discussions' started by ErrolEast, Feb 24, 2017.

  1. ErrolEast

    ErrolEast Active Member

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    Hi,
    I have a five (almost six) year old daughter with OCD, SPD, and Asperger's Syndrome. After having five different specialists now suggesting that I consider homeschooling her, I was looking for some opinions from some other parents with children on the spectrum?

    Intellectually, she is very advanced, her peers can't keep up, and she is so clever that she has developed a real skill at manipulating the faculty at school to get extra sensory breaks. She has limited interest in peers as is, but when I ask her why she doesn't want to talk to the other kids she gets very exasperated and says things like "I just can't mommy, they just don't understand me" or "they are soooo boring" (I swear she is actually a very sweet and wonderful child!).

    The number one problem she has at school (beyond the socialization issues) is that she gets bored with the materials and has a harder time keeping herself regulated during class time. The teachers have started giving her school work from upper-year classes and she blows through them and is still bored. Often, her boredom results in classroom disruption, she will "play dumb" and tell them that she doesn't know how to do things in hopes that she can go do something else (her teacher and I figured out that she was faking when I asked her if her toy unicorn knew the answer to a question she was struggling with and the unicorn could answer without hesitation). Sometimes the behaviours can escalate to the point that she harms herself.

    On average, I am called to the school anywhere from 10-18 times per week. She is in a small class, has an amazing teacher and full-time one-on-one EA, she also works with the resource team and the behaviour team, but still, none of them can seem to figure her out. Her EA has been working with spectrum children in my daughter's age group for about 20 years and she has stated that she has never worked with a child like mine, because there is a precision and logic behind everything she does and that she is too smart for anything that school can throw at her.

    At home we are already doing additional assignments, I have the curriculum books and all the education apps on my computer and she consistently skips ahead to the grade 3 level course material. She reads Goose Bumps books to me (one chapter every night before bed) and her understanding of math and science is probably more advanced that the vast majority of my extended family. She loves to learn and is the most inquisitive person I have ever met (sometimes, to a flaw), and most of our time together involves learning activities by her choice already.

    We have all the routine charts and timers and fidgets both at school and at home, but she is doing so much better at home. I have recently taken an LOA from my job to be at home as she has not been able to get through a full day of school without my having to come in and intervene. Often times, she isn't able to remain at school, and sometimes her panic attacks can be so severe in the morning that I am unable to get her out of the house at all.

    I briefly considered homeschooling when she first started JK due to an immediate regression in her behaviour and the fact that she lost a lot of skills during the first few months of school (ie, she was writing her name, knew the alphabet, was reading picture books, was able to complete basic math problems in August but by Christmas she lost all of these skills). But I ended up dismissing this out of fear that it would impede her socially, and at that point, we didn't have a diagnosis beyond OCD and SPD.

    The latest specialist we have gone to see is a speech pathologist, and she didn't just bring up the idea of homeschooling, she strongly suggested that it would be the best thing for my daughter and that by being engaged in her learning, it would give us more time to focus on socializing in other ways (ie joining Sparks and other extracurricular activities).

    My husband says he fully supports whatever I think will help our daughter succeed the most, and agrees with the specialists that she would do better at homeschooling, but is worried that I would get burnt out.

    So, what I really need to make a proper decision is some input from someone that has experienced this? will she be more successful? will we be able to work on her social skills through other routes? Any other suggestions or extra information?

    (PS. please don't be afraid to give me honest answers, I have yet to get through a family event without at least one person telling me that the real problem is my parenting or my favourite, "She doesn't look autistic")

    Sorry for the very long post!
     
  2. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Lost Soul V.I.P Member

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    I am an adult diagnosed with Autism, SPD, and ADHD rather than a parent of a child with those kinds of diagnoses, so of course take my opinion with a grain of this-guy-is-not-a-parent-salt....

    Most of our lives are spent outside of school, in social contexts with rules and norms that are largely different from the ones that children will be surrounded by in school. And those social skills children may learn at school that can and do apply to other areas of life....well, why can't they learn said skills in those other areas of life instead?

    I think you should do whatever seems to work best for your daughter. If homeschooling seems like it might work better, could you try it temporarily and see how it goes?
     
  3. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member

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    There is another self diagnosed aspie on here, who believes her daughter is on the spectrum and I am sure she homeschools her. Well, she will no doubt see your thread and reply.

    I am also self diagnosed right now and oh dear, not a mother, but as "the tortoise" says: why should that stop us from offering up help? Because I get: oh you are not a mother, what would you know and of course: you don't look autisic.

    I am not so sure home schooling is the answer, in honest; unless you can give up your work and be the full time "teacher" and can go above and beyond her on educational understanding? If not, then really it is not going to be the best option.

    I would have thought that if her teachers knows she has aspergers,, they should actually employ and teacher who specialises in teaching children with aspergers?

    If not, then I guess, home schooling is the best way, since she doesn't seem to need social interactions. I hear so often: one NEEDS social interactions. Mmm perhaps if they can meet people on their own level; but it is counterproductive if they derive no pleasure and yes, despite being an adult, I can ascertain the sheer bordom speaking with NT's but in fairness to them, I am boring to them, since I can go on and on and on about my favourite su bjects and thus, it is realative.
     
  4. Caitie33

    Caitie33 Member

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    I'm a self diagnosed aspie. I have a four year old son who we are currently trying to get diagnosed so that we can figure out how to move forward with school. He was not able to attend preschool because of his behavior and we are going to another place just for children but so far it seems I'm the only one who can clearly see he must be on the spectrum. He doesn't fit in with other kids. When he tries to make friends he either gets in their face and blurts something random about carnivores or comets, or finds a younger or older girl to play with. He echoes random things days or weeks after hearing them and repeats them over and over. When he was three and barely spoke otherwise he started saying "eight, eight, eight..." A few weeks ago it was "Never break the chain." from a Fleetwood Mac song. He spins, makes up words. He didn't qualify for an individual education plan with the school because they said he has language and is smart. If he doesn't get a diagnosis I feel like I will have to home school him or he'll just continue to get in trouble for his autistic behaviors. Even if he does get diagnosed I wonder if it would be better for him. If your daughter has an aide at school and they are fully aware of her needs and they are willing to work with her then maybe it is just a matter of helping them figure out how to better help her or challenge her. Maybe being able to do more challenging things could be a reward for good behavior and completing the regular class work. If you decide to try home school I know there are online options and other resources for parents and tutors you could hire. If she goes beyond your knowledge on a particular subject it doesn't mean you can't teach her. You would just be the facilitator, making sure she has the right resources and materials to explore her own interests. I've come to realize that whether we send him to school or do home school that there will be lots of challenges and I'm probably going to get pretty burnt out either way. Bottom line you know your daughter best and you will do what you have to do to help her succeed in life, its what good mothers like us do. Don't let anyone tell you it's your parenting. You are obviously very dedicated to your child. You'll know the right thing to do, just make sure you have enough support for yourself.
     
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  5. OkRad

    OkRad Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I was homeschooled. Saved me life and sanity
     
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  6. Allicat

    Allicat Member

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    I'm a big fan of public schooling, having been working in one public school or another for over 25 years. I also think there is a lot to be said for homeschooling. IMHO, it very much depends on the child and the parents.

    My 12 year old is currently having a difficult time in school. He was (finally) diagnosed on the spectrum just recently, having an ADHD diagnosis since he was 5. He's gone from no support in kindergarten to a self contained classroom with a 1-1 aide in 7th grade. Academically he's a really bright kid, but socially he is struggling.

    I've considered homeschooling a few times. And each time I've come to the conclusion it would be detrimental to our relationship. He doesn't see me as a "teacher"; I'm mom. Which means a lot of resistance on his part if I attempt to step into that role. Frankly, that's not a battle I wish to fight; we struggle enough over other things. It would also not be financially feasible, as a single mom. But you likely won't have the same issues, so it might be a more viable option for your family.

    If you decide home schooling isn't for you, another thing to look into is alternative education programs (this is something we are exploring right now). Maybe there is a program in your area that would provide more appropriate support for your little one?
     
  7. WittyAspie

    WittyAspie The One And Only V.I.P Member

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    I have some family and friends that homeschool and love it. However, I would never consider homeschooling my daughter because she would never learn anything. She is so disagreeable that she would call the sky green just to never admit I was right. I think it depends mostly on how your daughter would respond to you being her intellectual authority.

    Getting burnt out is a very real possibility. If you do commit to homeschooling it might be good to plan frequent breaks (like a few hours every weekend) when you can be alone and mentally recuperate.
     
  8. ErrolEast

    ErrolEast Active Member

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    Hi!
    Thank you so much for your response! I am not planning on returning to work at this point in time. I want to focus on my daughter and school (I am working towards my masters in occupational therapy and currently hold an honours BA in psychology specializing in abnormal and developmental psychology and a BA in anthropology and sociology). as far as being able to meet her educational needs I am feeling pretty confident, my biggest fear is that if I go ahead with homeschooling she might end up with even more social setbacks than she already has.

    My family doctor told me later in life that he had encouraged my mother to have me tested because he believed I also had Aspergers, but my mother was afraid of putting a label on me and having me stand out even more at school. I am not a very social person by nature, but have gotten pretty good at faking it. However, I feel that is my biggest shortcoming and I do not want to fail her and leave her feeling even more alienated. She tells me that she knows she doesn't fit in and doesn't understand why people don't want to be her friend, but at the same point, she isn't particularly bothered by it because she says they are dull and uninteresting anyways.

    Her school is very aware of her diagnosis and they are trying so hard to work with her and meet her needs, but the public school system can only go so far, which is why I usually end up spending half the school day there working with her already.

    I just hate seeing her struggle and when she is at school I feel helpless to alleviate it. so, I guess I am also paranoid that the control-freak in me wants to pursue the homeschooling so I can protect her more...which isn't going to do her any favours in the long-run.

    ...basically I am yo-yoing and very conflicted about it, but have been debating it in my head for two years so far.
     
  9. ErrolEast

    ErrolEast Active Member

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    Hi,
    Thanks for your response, I appreciate the "inside scoop" she is still a bit too young for me to really get her take on things. She doesn't attend recess (too much noise and people) she doesn't participate in group activities because she prefers to do things on her own at school, but when she is home, she has play dates with a couple of friends outside of school (they are a few years older so, she sees them more as equals) and she seems to thrive with them. I will have to talk to the school and see if there is a way to try it out temporarily, I never thought of that option, so thank you very much!
     
  10. ErrolEast

    ErrolEast Active Member

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    Thank you! and good luck with your son's diagnosis. It took us three years to get my daughter's, the biggest challenge being that she is so high functioning, so I definitely feel your pain!
     
  11. ErrolEast

    ErrolEast Active Member

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    Hi,
    I am already the one she usually goes to for answers (I still have her convinced I have the answers to everything). I am really afraid of getting burnt out, with my anxiety issues, I can let things build up until I get overwhelmed and then I will just sort of shut down (thus, taking a leave at work). Currently, my husband takes our daughter out every Saturday, they have a daddy-daughter date, where he takes her to the museum, the library, the theatre, or just for a bike ride to the park (weather-dependent) so I can have my day of rest.

    It was his idea and I will never be able to thank him enough for it. I love my daughter more than anything, but sometimes I just need some quiet! Especially after a week of meltdowns and trips to t he school!
     
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  12. WittyAspie

    WittyAspie The One And Only V.I.P Member

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    His understanding of your needs will go a long way toward successful homeschooling. It sounds like you two are a great team.
     
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  13. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Lost Soul V.I.P Member

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    You're welcome and good luck!
     
  14. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member

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    I sense she has a superimposed dose of accademic skills, from her being aspergic and her mum being very bright too and probably even dad.

    For a child of that young age to believe others are boring ( even when mostly that is true), unfortunately, she is on the road to narcissim and so, actually she should stay in school and be taught to expand her views. Because at her age, if she is able to do SO much ADULT thinking, then she can also learn to look adapt to social situations. I take it from what you said: I am good at hiding.

    I agree that homeschooling will just cause more isolation for her, so a plan must be thought about, to get the other children to talk to her. In fact, it is probably a PERCEPTION of them not wanting to be her friends. Because, in truth, if she truly considers them boring, then she no doubt says so and that can deal a heavy blow to another child.

    I am so glad you posted this thread, because I have been feeling much like your daughter, but the fact is, that we do live in the NT majority world and so, sadly, we have to try and fit in somehow and many aspies have succeeded.

    What could try doing is searching out for another little girl of her age, who is also on the spectrum and see how that fairs, but yes, I think it may well be not a good move IN THE LONG RUN to homeschool her, because it is not so much about isolation; it is more cultivating a spoilt child ( no finger pointing there), but if a child gets what ever a child wants; then a child developes unsavery traits.

    She obviously is a clever little one, who can manipulate situtions for her benefit, but not for selfish ones; for comfort. Because sensory overload is torture and so, I admire her for finding a way to deal with it.

    Of course, I know, at the end of the day, you are her mum and will make the final decision, so I wish you the very best and feel sure that you will come out with a good decision. :)
     
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  15. Caitie33

    Caitie33 Member

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    What is so frustrating is that the very people who know what HFA is, and know how subtle the signs can be compared to LFA will say that. That they know that people with HFA/ aspergers can have very high verbal abilities yet that is the reason he has no IEP or diagnosis.
     
  16. Caitie33

    Caitie33 Member

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    Sending her to school makes no guarantee she won't be isolated or that she will learn how to get along socially. I spent elementary standing alone in a corner for recess and being tormented by the other kids. I was miserable. I wished to be home schooled. I still think it may have been better for me. There are plenty of people who do homeschool and I have heard there are groups of families who do who support each other and get their kids together so they can have social experiences. I like the idea of helping her find other kids on the spectrum to play with. Maybe there is a group of parents with kids with ASD who homeschool that you could get involved with. If not, maybe you could make one. I've considered all of these things for my son but my biggest obstacle is that I don't think he will take me as his teacher. Like someone said on here earlier he will argue the sky is green with me. All the other issues seem workable but that one. I want to homeschool him and think it would be best for him otherwise. Again don't let others opinions of what is best for your child get to you. I've heard it all at the mention of homeschool too, (your child will be awkward or a spoiled brat). Socializing doesn't only happen in school for children. I eventually had to learn true empathy too but it was by exposure to what other people go through in the world, not in school.
     
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  17. Ylva

    Ylva Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Consider giving her books that are difficult to read. The internet is full of high school and college level text books, or middle school. Novels that are slightly above her reading level would also likely give you a break.

    If it is so important that she socializes, keeping her in school with all those "boring" kids is probably the worst thing you can do. She will grow to hate it. Let her pick a couple of extrcurricular activities instead, dance or horseriding or chess or something, where she can meet children who care about the same things as she. If she is too young, wait until she gets older. (Hanging out with people who aren't your parents infrequently still beats hanging out with dull people against your well every single day.)

    On the other hand, one of the best things you could do is probably to intellectualize socialisation for her. Tell her about some social concept and go people-watch. Tell her about acting tropes, then watch a movie that uses those tropes. Make it fun!
     
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  18. ErrolEast

    ErrolEast Active Member

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    Hi,
    We tried dance class, and she loved ballet, but once the tap dancing portion started....things went south very quickly. currently, she is in gymnastics, and she loves it, I think partially because the interactions are very limited and she is one of the youngest kids in the class.

    We are also looking at registering her in Sparks, because it is science and nature oriented and because I am hoping it will teach her a bit about team work.

    I have seen her try to interact with other kids and it can be pretty painful to watch :( At the kindergarten BBQ at the start of the year, she walked up to another girl (after I encouraged her to introduce herself) and proceeded to tell her about how flamingos pee on their legs to cool down because they don't have sweat glands. The girl told her she was gross and walked away. More recently, when dropping her off at school, she began crying and begging me to stay because she didn't know what to do, another mom asked her daughter to ask mine to play and the girl responded "no one likes playing with her, mom, she's a total freak" which resulted in me going into work crying, too.

    She loves reading and gravitates toward the young adult nonfiction as well as adult-level science books, so she just seems to have an ever-expanding book collection (right next to the rocks!).

    Unfortunately, a lot of the extracurriculars offered in our city are very age-restrictive, so it is challenging to try to find groups where I can put her with older kids (she is very social with adults and has improved a lot with kids that are older than her, 8-12 yrs seems to be the magic age group).
     
  19. ErrolEast

    ErrolEast Active Member

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    I agree, when I was in school, I was very isolated. I never developed any friendships until high school, and even then it was little more than acquaintances. Growing up, I always wanted to be home-schooled because I hated the anxiety and boredom I felt in the classroom. I am still socially awkward though, and I think that is what makes me so anxious about the idea of pulling her out of school. I don't want her to be isolated because I isolate myself.

    Her father and I regularly plan day trips, activities, and playdates to expose her (and myself, my default) to social situations. At first, it was a disaster every step of the way, but she has really come around after the past couple of years and is improving more and more every day. But admittedly, her father pushes it more than I do, because my ideal day doesn't typically involve leaving the house.
     
  20. ErrolEast

    ErrolEast Active Member

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    Yes, her dad is pretty smart, too. To look at his grades, you wouldn't think so, though. He struggled through school his whole life and was diagnosed with dyslexia and Aspergers in his early twenties.

    We definitely have a type in this household.