There have been some fascinating and informative programmes about Autism broadcast lately which are raising awareness and understanding of the difficulties associated with it.
And a new little film featuring ten year old Alex explains some of the very real challenges autistic children deal with on a day to day basis with things we take for granted, like noise and crowds, or other sensory overload which influence a child’s opportunity to learn.
These difficulties can make school life and learning very hard for autistic children and is often a reason families opt to home educate instead. The same applies to families with children who have Asperger’s Syndrome or Attention Deficit Disorder. These children may not be thriving in a classroom because of their particular needs but this does not mean they are unable to learn, it’s more the case that they require a different setting or approach.
Removing children from the chaotic hubbub of classroom life can make a very real difference to achievement, happiness and behaviour of children with these particular needs. The children can learn in a climate that they’re comfortable with, e.g. one that may be quieter, calmer and with less sensory input, so they have a better chance to engage.
Through home schooling it’s possible to find approaches that help them succeed like working in shorter bursts of focussed activity with plenty of physical breaks, or through practical activity which doesn’t require sitting still, presenting learning in different ways, or chances to work on their own without the distraction of too many others around them, or alternatively the opportunity to interact in smaller groups. Home educating allows choice in the way learning is approached.
On the Home Education Special UK website several families talk about their experiences of home schooling their children with special needs and how doing so has helped them to succeed in ways not possible in a school environment where their individual needs were not met.
The site also answers many of the questions parents raise about home educating children with special needs in particular how you can still opt to do this if your child is Statemented or attending a Special school.
The Autism Education Trust also has some useful information on home based learning for autistic children with useful links to other resources.
For home educating Asperger’s children this site offers information, forums and links to support groups parents may find helpful. An inspirational site about autism, with particular reference to older children, can be found here. (Search home education)
So if you have a child that is on the autistic spectrum, who finds it overwhelming in a classroom situation, it might be worthwhile investigating the option of home education to see if this would suit them better and allow them to learn without the distress a school setting sometimes causes.