Once a child with autism reaches school age, parents ask themselves how to provide the best possible educational program for their child who has special needs. There are a number of options: public education, private school, or homeschooling, but what is the best option? Read on to help choose what might work best for your child.
Answer: It would be a challenge to find a school anywhere that does not have a student in it with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Most teachers will have a student with ASD in their classroom at some point in their career. Because the symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations, from mild to severe, a teacher may not recognize new students in their classroom with an ASD from year to year.
As the new school year begins, many parents of students who have Autism Spectrum Disorders are filled with trepidation as they know this involves establishing a relationship with their child’s new teacher, as well as the development of routines of communication and interaction. Many parents worry about how much the teacher knows about Autism Spectrum Disorders. They wonder: How much training have they had? Will the teacher be patient? Will he or she like my child? Will everyone get along and agree on goals and expectations?
Answer: Whether you are switching schools, moving from elementary to junior high or junior high to high school, or starting school for the first time, entering into a new school environment can be stressful for the child with autism.
Moving to a new school is a big event in a young person’s life. Whether it be attending school for the first time or transferring to another school, the transition can cause fear or anxiety for a person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Working together, parents and staff can help make this move a successful one by keeping in mind that a person with ASD needs predictability.
In this guide, the three terms used above will be referenced as “AS” or “the spectrum” Many students on the spectrum demonstrate exceptional abilities in a vast array of skills and talents. These can include but are not limited to: exceptional memory, mathematical skills, calendar projections, computers, music, exceptionally early and advanced reading skills (“hyperlexia”), poetry, writing stories and general writing skills, spelling, punctuation and grammar, imitations of people or animals, painting, sculpture and other forms of visual arts, chemistry and physics.