When deciding how to educate your child with autism, there are several options, from home-schooling to public school. But, which one is best for your child?
If your child has had issues in the public school system in the past, it’s worth speaking to education solicitors who can inform you of your legal standing. Otherwise, it’s easier to make an informed decision from the get-go.
In this post, we’re going to help you do just that by covering the three main ways you can school your child with autism to help you decide which option is best for you.
Which Schooling Options Are Best for Your Autistic Child?
We’re going to look at the three most common ways to school your child with autism and weigh up the pros and cons so you can decide which is the one for you.
Home-schooling requires a lot of self-sacrifice on the parent’s end. Luckily, most parents with autistic children are used to this and are more than happy to home-school their children if they give them the best chance in life.
Also, children with autism are very knowledgeable about ASD and usually surpass public school teachers and administrators. If you’re willing to put in the time and give up your weekdays to teach your child, this is one of the better options.
Many curriculum tools online, local support communities, and other information are available if you choose to go this route. Here’s a quick list of pros and cons to help you decide if this is how you want to school your child with autism:
- There are fewer distractions and stressors in the learning environment.
- You can individualize your child’s education to their specific needs.
- A flexible schedule means you can attend any therapies and other appointments your child requires.
- Zero chance of your child being bullied for being ‘different.
- Not every local area will offer the same level of support.
- Not every family can afford to home-school (not having to work is the big separator).
- Home-schooling a child with autism can be emotionally draining and too overwhelming for some parents to handle.
2. Public School
Children with autism have the option to join a public school the same as any other child. They have to have accommodations to support them, but they can attend if you wish to go this route.
Of course, all autistic children are different and need different accommodation levels to help them make it through the education system. This is where an Individualised Education Plan (IEP), sometimes called an Individual Learning Plan (ILP), comes in.
IEPs are written documents that outline an educational program for a child with special needs. This is usually a collaborative effort between parents, teachers, and educational specialists.
The amount of time your child spends in a traditional classroom with other children depends on where they are on the autism spectrum. Some children do full-time with support, and some part-time with the rest in a special education classroom.
Here’s another quick pros and cons list to help you decide how to educate your child with autism:
- Some schools have social skills training available, and a public school is an excellent place to practice them.
- Most schools are required to have an IEP or ILP, so you have a say in how the school educates your child.
- If the school has an autism classroom, they might have access to specialized software that you wouldn’t access at home.
- The school might have other special therapies available to your child if they meet the necessary criteria.
- Some schools don’t have a trained teacher to deal with autism, which can make it difficult for them to do so.
- Teachers have classrooms full of students, making it difficult for them to follow your child’s IEP or ILP effectively.
- It opens your child up to bullying from other kids, which would be detrimental to their condition.
- If your child is struggling in school, they might find it difficult to tell you because of their condition, which means you won’t know what’s going on.
3. Private/Special School
When it comes to specialist private schools for children with learning difficulties, there tend to be generalized ones for people with ADHD and dyslexia and autism-specific schools.
Autistic children tend not to generalize special schools because they primarily have specific social skills. Therefore, the programs and support these schools offer are inadequate to teach your autistic child.
If you can get your child into a specialist autism school, they have a lot of significant advantages but, as with all the options in this post, some cons as well:
- They’re set up specifically for children with autism, so everyone on staff knows how to teach them.
- They have a wide range of therapeutic resources available on-site, so there will likely be some that are appropriate for your child’s specific needs.
- They’re the best option if you can’t afford to home-school your child and their autism is too severe for them to go to public school.
- There is minimal chance of typical school bullying.
- As these schools only accept children with autism, they’ll only socialize with other children who have it – makes it hard to integrate them into everyday society.
- These schools’ costs can be through the roof. It can be as high as $50,000 a year in the US and £60-100,000 in the UK.
Are These the Only Schooling Options for my Autistic Child?
In this post, we’ve covered the three main schooling options for children with autism and weighed up the pros and cons of each.
There will be different options available to you depending on your location and the local support those areas have for autism. However, on the whole, you’re likely to have to pick between home-schooling, public schooling, and private schooling.
You always have the option to try one out and change your mind later, of course, so don’t worry too much about your first choice. Hopefully, this post has been helpful to you, and good luck deciding what schooling option is best for your child.