Homeschool?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Asperger Adult Resources : One Thread
My son was diagnosed with AS just recently. His Dr. has recommended homeschooling for him. He loves to learn, but refuses school because everybody "hates" him, he tells us. he is only 7 and I want him to have the social aspect of public schooling. But he has quit sports, church and church choir recently. The school on the other hand doesnt agree with homeschooling and is reluctant to give him an IEP either. They are just dragging this out. In the meantime have referred him to see a school psychologist to better see if he really needs a IEP. So I have one Dr. saying school and the other saying homeschool. Any advise? He is also noticing he is "different" and I really want to explain to him what he has and why he feels the way he does. How would I talk to A 7 year old about AS?
-- Crystal F Statler (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 14, 2001
With respect, asking an AS kid to socialize typically--and enjoy it-- is like asking them to change their eye colour.Expressive-receptive language problems, theory of mind difficulties, obsessive interests, and joint-attention deficits make socializing highly problematic.Whip in peer teasing and adult intolerance and ignorance and then tell me why any AS kid would leap at "opportunities" to socialize on your terms.Homeschooling can work as a bridge to full-time attendance if it's used to develop techniques that make standard curriculum accessible. An IEP is key: it protects, as much as anything can, your child from arbitrary teachers with unreasonable expectations.It also provides the standard for evaluation:grades should be based solely on progress towards IEP goals.If problems arise because the IEP isn't being followed, you then have a legitimate basis for complaint--and remedy.Adaptation and accomodation are crucial IEP elements.Anything less and your child is being mainstreamed,i.e., present in the classroom, furniture-like, but not receiving an education.I'd strongly advise an evaluation by a professional with no ties to your board in any capacity. School psychologists are deeply conflicted as bureaucrats involved in allocating scarce resources.Unless you're very fortunate, most school psychologists are not very well informed about AS and the challenges it poses to educators.You might also get some help from Tony Attwood's book on Asperger's.If your child is literate, numerate, verbal, and relates well to you, then much is possible for him.
-- Gary Watson (email@example.com), January 18, 2001.
As someone who has been diagnosed with aspergers I would like to reply.
If your son wants to make it in the business world when he grows up or wants to date girls when he hits puberty in a few years, you will be doing him a great favor by keeping him in school to learn social interactions. However the decision is tough. You need to tell teachers about his problems and also have them make sure he is not going to be teased. I had a teacher who was a former marine who believed I was acting awkward due to lack of discipline and not due to disability and was quite abusive so make the school and the teachers know exactly what your son has. Be thankfully he was born not to long ago before anyone knew what aspergers was. As late as the 1970's and early 1980's autism was viewed as bad parenting or it was so serve that involved mental retardation and a special home would be needed. Thankfully that is no longer the case expect for the most serve autistics. Make sure you talk to each of his teachers and make sure he has the best teachers possible. You may want to enroll him in special ed at his age. Many children with aspergers may be intelligent enough for regular class work, but the course load may be too intense. Remember the atmosphere around him is very intense and his attention span is very low. This may be a compromise for him so he can still learn social interactions at the same time have fewer things to worry about that distract him.
The good news is that special ed for me and another person I know with aspergers was only temporary. For me by High school I could concentrate, was fully mainstreamed, and things changed and I learned socially what was acceptable and what was not. I made friends and even had a girlfriend. Even with a few bad experiences in elementary school I believe it was imperative that I went to school for my current social development. As a parent you need to make sure the teachers know what he is capable of and not capable of and your sons diagnosis is a good start. Your son is very unique.
But keep in mind social development is almost as important if not more then a good education for someone with apsergers. How is he going to learn how to make friends? How is he you going to know how to talk to girls? How is he going to enjoy his childhood and soon his young adult life? At 7 I was quite out to lunch and it wasn't until later that I become more and more functional and aware. It is also quite common for individuals with mild autism and aspergers to have extraordinary functioning growth as the brain rewires itself during childhood and adulthood.
My first psychologist who diagnosed me recommended that I get the most social interactions possible, even if I was failing in school. I believe he did the right thing. Keep in mind school psychologists are not always paid the most and are not that good in quality. Mine that was referred to by the school did not even know exactly what PDD disorder really was. My parents had to pay for there own for my diagnosis and school recommendations. Most school districts will support a diagnosis and a school recommendation from a different pyschologist but you will have to pay out of your own pocket. Make sure you find an expert in austim or aspergers and he or she can explain in great detail about your son not only for you but also to your teachers.
One more thing. If someone in life has a weakness it is appropriate to focus and the weakness to diminish it or weaken the weakness. For example if a student is not doing well in math, the teacher needs to focus on the weakness so the student does not fall behind. I believe it is the same with your son. He will always be a few years behind socially but he will move forward and you can help narrow the gap. Businesses are a lot less accepting of those who are different then schools are and he needs to learn how to communicate effectively when he is grown up and not learn avoidance as a solution.
-- Tim GIbney (TimGibney@mail.com), March 29, 2001.