Re: To Homeschool or not Homeschool with Asperger Syndrome
My 10yr old is on the line between pdd nos and aspie. He is due for a new evaluation this year. Over the years since he was diagnosed as "severe Pdd NOS" at age 3 he has experienced the public schools PPCD class room (something I would never even consider doing again), a public charter school in a main stream class room and home schooling, our entire family prefers homeschooling. I won't mince words, the public school told me point blank that they would never offer my child anything other than a self contained class room and possibly, when he is older, "life skills lessons". Like all parents I want more than that for my son but that is the current ISD policy on handling ASD children. Should his diagnosis change, and with the DSM V threatening to change the diagnosis of many previously ASD children it just may, that may very well be a reality, but for now he has no hope of ever receiving a proper education in our local school district. I will admit that after my youngest son was born our old insurance company denied our claim for therapy and I was at a loss as to what to do for him. I felt desperate and agreed to try the PPCD program. There are no words for how horrible it was. Private therapy is far superior to anything the public school can offer and all they were offering was daycare with defunct therapy thrown in. Not all school districts are like this of course, but I would be loathe to send any ASD child to a school district that did not strive for mainstreaming.
The charter school experience was not all bad. They did their utmost to make a place for him in the class room and he found friends there. Most of the other kids were very sweet and quickly understood that he was "different" but didn't seem to mind. He had several little girls who went out of their way to mother him and help him out. The problem was that the school was small and while that was also one of its greatest assets it meant that if you had one teacher who wouldn't apply his IEP your hands were tied. He would spend 8 hours a day at school and come home with 4+ hours of homework, most of it math. Kearnan is a whiz at math, he understand concepts without even needing them explained to him. The issue was his teacher was not following his IEP to keep him on task so he wasn't doing his work in class. He came home with his entire days worth of work to do and they had a lot of busy work (they used Saxon curriculum). No matter how many times I discussed it nothing was done and the teacher started taking it out on him. He became increasingly anxious in her class. He spent part of his time in K, part in 1st and part in 2nd. It was the 1st grade teacher we had trouble with. He became so anxious he was vomiting each morning before school. At first I thought he had a stomach bug and called him in sick but by the third time I figured out what was going on (my brother and I also have nervous stomachs). Well of course after three absences the school called to complain so on top of everything else I was feeling pretty frustrated that the school essentially owned my child. I told the principal I would be happy to send him to school vomiting if that is what he preferred and he should have a talk with his 1st grade teacher. He wound up finishing his year spending half of his time in the library/councilors office. The senior girls turned him into a project, teaching him to read and dance. I didn't care as long as he was away from that teacher who apparently the principal didn't care to stop from bullying him. I love the concept of the Charter school, the way the kids can move at their own pace between the grades and the students get to interact. The whole family feel is great and all of the kids were really sweet, but certain members of the faculty were pretty messed up and it suffered severely from underfunding. If I had to send my kids to school for some reason I would probably choose there or a similar program, but I hope to never have to do so.
We moved back to homeschooling and we are all very happy now. The anxiety melted away almost immediately. Kearnan is due for a new evaluation and to start more intensive therapy again (including social skills group). I keep him active in TKD for social interaction. He has really blossomed in our present TKD school because it is a good school. The kids there accept him for who he is, they don't care that he is different. The pride he gets from leading warm ups and teaching the lower belts can't be earned anywhere else. He is also active in several other hobbies including doll collecting and anime conventions. So I guess he is a nerd but he is a happy nerd.