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Homeschooling Autism

Tips, Advice, and Networks to Support Your Family with Autism and Homeschooling

By: Mindy Scirri, Ph.D.
Disclaimer: Throughout this series, we will be using the diagnostic language and terms that most people who are searching the Internet will use to find information. We fully understand that using any term to categorize children may result in generalizations that may not apply to every child, stigmas associated with that term, and the possibility of overlooking the many beautiful positive traits that exist when we look at the whole child. We celebrate the differences that make us unique individuals and learners, and we write everything in this series with the hopes of benefiting all children and their families. Resources are provided as options for you, may not represent the views and opinions of A2Z Homeschooling, and in no way are meant to replace medical or other professional advice.

Homeschooling a child with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum? Many before you have done so and have had success. What you need are resources, especially if you are new to homeschooling, and a network of fellow homeschoolers who have walked in shoes like yours. Some say that if you meet one child with autism, you have met one child with autism. In other words, every child with a diagnosis of autism is different, and you may not be able to base all your decisions on best practices and the success stories of others. However, by doing your research and talking with experts and other families, you can become informed and get ideas that may help you and your child.

When you decided to homeschool your child with autism, you may have met some strong opinions about your decision. Non-believers may have questioned your expertise or skills or knowledge of teaching. They may have argued that your child should be in traditional schooling in order to get the services and/or socialization your child needs. Whether or not you responded to these criticisms, know that there are plenty of people who will support you, and many who have walked this path are willing to share their experiences and advice.

The following are resources that we hope will help you on this fantastic journey of homeschooling you have begun:

Tips and Considerations for Homeschooling Autism 

Advice and Stories from Families Who Are Homeschooling Autism
Homeschooling Autism Support Groups

Other Resources on Autism 

 *This post contains affiliate links. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Although most of the resources listed here are free, those marked with a $ have a cost or require a fee/subscription in order to access the full range of materials.

Tips and Considerations for Homeschooling Autism

When you are homeschooling your child with autism, you may find that certain things—like a structured schedule with frequent breaks for movement—can help to make your homeschool successful. Many organizations, professionals, and publications offer tips for homeschooling with autism. Hopefully, these will be of help to you:


101 Games and Activities for Children with Autism, Asperger’s and Sensory Processing Disorders $
By Tara Delaney
In 101 Games and Activities for Children with Autism, Asperger’s, and Sensory Processing Disorders, she shows you how to teach your children by moving their bodies through play. These interactive games are quick to learn but will provide hours of fun and learning for your child. And many of the games can be played indoors or outdoors, so your child can enjoy them at home, outside, or on field trips. More than one hundred games that help your child: make eye-contact, stay focused, and strengthen his or her motor skills; associate words with objects and improve language and numerical skills; and learn how to interact with others, how to take turns, and other social skills needed for attending preschool and school.”


Get Out, Explore, and Have Fun! How Families of Children with Autism or Asperger Syndrome Can Get the Most out of Community Activities $
by Lisa Jo Rudy
“Many families with a child with autism or Asperger Syndrome feel that involvement in the community is not for them. This book sets out to change that, with a rich and varied menu of suggestions for how such families can take full part in community life and support the strengths and interests of their child at the same time. Informal learning experiences can be the key to self-discovery, communication, self-confidence, and even independence for many children on the autism spectrum. Only outside the four walls of school will your child truly discover their own passions, abilities, and social peers. ‘Get Out, Explore, and Have Fun’ is a guide to what’s out there, how to find it, and how to make it work for your family. The book includes hints and tips for involving your family in the right community activities, from sport to science; information on museums, arts organizations and science institutions as venues for an enjoyable and enriching day out for the family; and resources and ideas for helping your child build on their strengths, interests, and preferred learning styles to explore life in the community. Handouts about autism are included, as well as handouts suggesting ways in which organizations and institutions can successfully include young people with autism in their activities. This book will open the door to community inclusion, creative exploration, and social learning.”

 

Home Educating Our Autistic Spectrum Children: Paths Are Made by Walking $
By Terri Dowty and Kitt Cowlishaw (Editor)
“In “Home Educating Our Autistic Spectrum Children”, parents who have chosen to home educate their children with autism or Asperger’s syndrome candidly relate their experiences: how they reached the decision to educate at home, how they set about the task, and how it has affected their lives. Following these personal accounts, the final chapters offer practical advice on getting started with home education, legal advice from an expert in education law, and contact details of support organizations.”

 

 

Homeschooling a Child with Autism | Time4Learning
Find out how homeschooling a child with autism can allow you to know that your child is getting needs met. See a comparison of homeschool versus public school education and suggestions for homeschooling your child with autism, including how to teach reading, writing, and math to students with autism and how Time4Learning’s curriculum can help.

Homeschooling the Child with Asperger Syndrome $
by Lise Pyles
“Packed with inspiring ideas and tips that can be used with any curriculum and on any budget, Homeschooling the Child with Asperger Syndrome explains how to design a varied study programme built around the child’s own interests, making use of simple material as well as computers and online resources. Parents planning to homeschool their child with Asperger Syndrome will appreciate Lise Pyles’ encouraging and practical advice, including step-by-step instructions on how to assess and improve body language and social skills, accommodating the child’s need for ritual or perfectionist tendencies, and how to develop handwriting and coordination skills.”

 

Homeschooling the Child with Autism: Answers to the Top Questions Parents and Professionals Ask $
by Patricia Schetter and Kandis Lighthall
“This practical, highly accessible guide answers parents’ and professionals’ questions about teaching children with autism spectrum disorders at home. The book helps parents decide whether to homeschool and guides them through the process of beginning and maintaining an effective homeschool program. All the essential questions are addressed, such as:

  • How do you know if homeschooling is right for you and your child?
  • Which homeschool program is best for the child’s learning style and needs?
  • How should a family get started?
  • What is the best way to address social, behavioral, and organizational skills when teaching a child with ASD?
  • When should you transition back to a traditional public school setting?

The book also contains tips and suggestions from real-life parents who have successfully homeschooled their children with ASD and includes lists of helpful resources for homeschoolers.”

Is Homeschooling Right for Your Child with Asperger’s?
Read one perspective about homeschooling with Asperger’s, brought to you by Your Little Professor, a “leading resource for autism spectrum, learning disorders, and executive functioning deficits.”

Six Tips for Homeschooling Your Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Read about the advantages of homeschooling a child with autism and discover six tips for how to homeschool successfully. This guide is written by Jessica Parnell, who is a mother, a homeschool evaluator, a teacher, and the President of Bridgeway Academy.

Special Education Teachers’ Perceptions and Beliefs Regarding Homeschooling Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
This study by Karen Hurlbutt finds that special education teachers have concerns about academics and socialization for children with autism who are being homeschooled regardless of whether they have had experience with homeschooling themselves. Read the article for more details.


Advice and Stories from Families Who Are Homeschooling Autism

If you are like a lot of homeschoolers, the people you want to hear from the most are the ones who are going through, or have gone through, a similar situation to your own. While every family’s experience with autism is unique, these stories and shared experiences may be beneficial to you personally and/or to the planning of your homeschool:

Autism & ABCs: Early Homeschooling on the Spectrum
Sara from Heart and Soul Homeschooling shares her experiences and advice for teaching children with autism.

Beyond Homeschooling Autism
Allison Trotter shares her “rocky journey through autism and adolescence after the homeschool years end and the ‘adulting’ transition begins.”

Home-Schooling the Child on the Autism Spectrum: Pros and Cons
Read about one family’s dilemma as to whether to change from public school to homeschooling. Consider the discussion of pros and cons and make sure you read the anonymous comments following the article to hear from real families going through the same decision-making as you.

Homeschooling Your Child with Autism
Hear from a parent-founded organization that grew from just a few families to thousands. The Autism Community in Action (TACA) shares information and resources for homeschooling and can provide you with a network of families for support.

 

 

Life Learning with Asperger’s
In response to a blog post from Life Learning Magazine, Susan McLeod-Harrison shares the story of unschooling with her son, Micah, who has Asperger’s.

We Aut To Be At Home
Read about this family’s story: “A blog following the homeschool journey of two work-at-home parents and our ASD son. With candor and humor, I hope to inspire other parents of autistic children who are exploring homeschooling as an option.”

Weird Kids
Shannon Anderson is a homeschooler of a child with autism and a member of the Aut-2B-Home email list. This website is a collection of information and resources, as well as tidbits from the experiences of her family.

 


Homeschooling Autism Support Groups

As you embark on this homeschooling journey, a network of support may be very important. You can join general homeschool support groups or special needs homeschool support groups, but homeschool groups specifically targeting autism may be particularly beneficial. Here are some for you to research to see if they meet the needs of your family:

Aut-2B-Home
This email list is a collection of families who are homeschooling children with autism full-time or part-time. Just sign up to be included on the listserv.

Autism & Homeschooling
This private Facebook group is “a discussion and support group available to everyone who is interested in home educating kids on the autism spectrum. We are here to help and to share, to motivate and to encourage. This group is inclusive and not affiliated with any religion, philosophy or political ideology.” 

Autism and Us – Homeschool Support
This is a private Facebook group. “Homeschooling can be a great alternative to traditional public or private school settings. This group is dedicated to supporting parents who are interested in homeschooling or who are already homeschooling their children. A place to get information on where and how to start, tools and resources as well as supporting each other with homeschooling tips, suggestions, and encouragement. This group is part of the growing “Autism and Us Community of Support” family. However, your child or children do not have to have autism to join this group. Anyone who is interested in homeschooling is more than welcome to become a part of this group.”

Autism Classroom & Homeschool Support
This is a private Facebook group providing “Practical advice & support for teachers and parents of kids with autism. This group has been set up by Curriculum for Autism.”

Autism Homeschool Success
This is a private Facebook group. “If you’ve chosen homeschooling for your child with autism, “Autism Homeschool Success” is here for you! You’ll find teaching ideas, curriculum reviews, helpful tips from other parents, and more!”

Autism Support Network
Although the site is not only for homeschoolers, you can connect with other families through groups and chat rooms and find out information about education, treatments, strategies, and therapies for autism through the site’s blogs.

Homeschooling Asperger’s, ADHD, PDD (High Functioning) Kids 2
This is a private Facebook group and “a safe place where people who are homeschooling (or making the decision to homeschool) their kiddos with a variety of different development challenges can come for encouragement, to share experiences, seek advice, and a number of other things….  The common bond we all share is that we’re caregivers and parents to kiddos with special needs and a commitment to ensuring the best opportunities for success and education possible by homeschooling.”

Homeschooling on the Spectrum: Autism, Asperger’s, PDD
This is a private, international Facebook “support group for home educators who have children on the spectrum.”

Homeschooling our Asperger’s, ADHD, ODD, etc.
Similar to the one listed above, this is a private Facebook group and “a safe place where people who are homeschooling (or making the decision to homeschool) their kiddos with a variety of different development challenges can come for encouragement, to share experiences, seek advice, and a number of other things….  The common bond we all share is that we’re caregivers and parents to kiddos with special needs and a commitment to ensuring the best opportunities for success and education possible by homeschooling.”

Homeschooling Parents of Children with Asperger’s Syndrome
This is a private Facebook group. “We are a respectful support group for Parents of Asperger Children who choose to homeschool. We welcome questions, ideas that work for you, funny anecdotes about your kids, your successes. We listen and respectfully try to provide empathy and support.”

Autism and Homeschooling

Or you can look for local or regional autism homeschooling support groups like these….

North Texas AUsome Homeschoolers
This is a private Facebook group. “We welcome new members who meet specific criteria. Members must:

  • Homeschool or plan to homeschool in the near future
  • Have at least one child on the Autism spectrum OR who has another social disorder such as ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, or other similar diagnosis
  • AND live in the Dallas or Fort Worth area

NO Professionals (School/District Employee/Psychiatrist/Therapists) unless you are a parent and homeschooling right along with us.”

Pittsburg Moms of Kids with Autism, ADHD, Sensory Issues and Special Needs
This private Facebook group “seeks to bring together moms from the Pittsburgh area and Western PA whose children have an autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, sensory issues or other special needs. We go through things that so many other parents don’t understand. I would love to form a community where we can help and support each other.” Although this is not a homeschooling only group, you may be able to make connections here.


Other Resources on Autism

The following resources may not relate specifically to homeschooling, but you may find them to be useful resources for information and ideas related to autism that can help in your homeschool:

Advocating for Students on the Autism Spectrum 
This comprehensive guide by Just Great Lawyers covers what you need to know to advocate for your child with autism. It explores both public schooling and alternatives, including homeschooling.

Autism Resource Center
“This Resource Center was made possible by a grant from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Campaign for America’s Kids (CFAK).” It provides frequently asked questions about autism, facts for families, video clips, and more.

Best Home Modification Ideas for Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder
“While the science on home modifications for these disorders is underserved, it is growing. This article will take a research-based view to find which home modifications have made a real difference in the lives of ASD/PSD families. It’ll discuss the foundational principles of modifications and why they’re important. Finally, it’ll give examples of changes you can make to your own home.”

 

  

Brilliant Minds Linked to Autism
Check out this BBC News article exploring historical figures like Socrates, Charles Darwin, and Andy Warhol, all of whom specialists believe most likely had a form of autism.

Spectrum Keys $
“The use of video has been proven to be a highly effective tool that can be used to teach specific skills, play sequences, social interactions and perspective taking to children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum and other language- based disorders. The result is an ever-increasing ability of these special children to build friendships, develop Independence, and meet new challenges with success. Research around video modeling goes back more than two decades.  However, the ability to view a video on demand has become possible with newer technology only very recently.  Spectrum Keys has created dozens of videos based on the research. These are also supported by stories and pictures that can be customized and modified to meet the individual needs of each child.”

Stanford Bio-X
Explore the results of research on autism, including information related to brain differences, treatments and interventions, and more.

Teaching a Child with Autism | Time4Learning
Find information on the learning needs of children with autism and ways to teach to their strengths and needs. A comparison of homeschooling to traditional schooling is also included.

Temple Grandin, Ph.D.
Animal behavior expert, college professor, autism advocate, and person with Asperger’s, Dr. Temple Grandin is both a famous role model and a great source for information. Explore her website for articles, books and DVD’s, and more. You can even get on an Autism Information mailing list.

University of North Carolina TEACCH Autism Program $
TEACCH Autism Program provides clinical services such as initial referral and consultation, diagnostic evaluations, family consultation sessions, and parent support groups, social play and recreation groups, individual counseling for higher-functioning clients, and employment services.”

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Also, be sure to check out Autism Homeschool Resources for free resources to help you teach and support your homeschooler with autism, as well as our Special Needs section for even more ideas!

 
Are you a family who is homeschooling autism? Share your experiences or resources with other families in the comments below….  If you are new to this journey, feel free to ask questions as well….

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