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Old 10-18-2012, 02:52 PM   #1
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Homeschooling a special needs child?

My son just turned 5, and this is his third year in pre k with an iep. He started due to a speech delay and some behavioral problems. Academically he has done amazing. Learns everything they teach him, only issue may be getting him to focus on the task. Once he has it, he does not forget. Behaviorally he is not doing so great. He will have random periods of tantrums at school. These can last for a week or a month. My husband and I have off and on discussed homeschooling him. We just don't know that he will thrive in mainstream kindergarten, and we don't want him to be outcast because of his behavior. He is nearly caught up on speech, and recently just went to consult for it. This past week he has had horrible and aggressive tantrums, and they even had me pick him up yesterday. I am not sending him back this week. The school is really pushing meds for him( we have not had any formal diagnosis yet).We think he would be high functioning autistic, or ADHD, or a mix. I'm sure we will be talking a psychiatrist soon. I guess what I'm wondering is, has anyone pulled their child out of special needs preschool to homeschool? We are worried about taking him from the structured environment, but we are even more worried about his future and coping in the mainstream classroom. Would love any advice, support, or encouragement.

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Old 10-18-2012, 03:09 PM   #2
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Re: Homeschooling a special needs child?

Your child sounds like my son 8 years ago. School has been a struggle socially and behavior wise for my son. But my son is advanced in all areas. He was in preschool with an IEP for a speech delay also. The schools insisted he was medicated also for adhd which he has also he was medicated for a mood disorder. He has been bullied the last 3 years in school because frankly middle school kids are mean. He was diagnosed finally with autism after years of being medicated for a mood disorder that was only brought on by adhd medications. Right now he is not medicated and we do not see a difference.
School has not been good to him if I could change the past I would have homeschooled from the beginning. Right now in the 8th grade we are starting homeschooling next week. Do not go through what we have if you have the means to homeschool try it. Socially my son does not fit in, most of the time he just is at a higher level then other kids and frankly they are anoid by the things he wants to talk about. I have a lot more to say but do not know where to begin so I hope this helps.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:30 PM   #3
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Re: Homeschooling a special needs child?

Hi! I am sorry to read about your struggles with your son. It is hard when the school puts pressure on you to medicate before you have spoken with a reliable medical professional. I would not be comfortable with that myself. Sometimes I am not comfortable with the first opinion I get from medical professionals. Making the decision to medicate can be difficult and should certainly never be made simply because of pressure from a teacher.

As for homeschooling I have two special needs boys who I homeschool. Some days are easier than others. My oldest is 11 and high functioning PDD NOS, SPD, Growth Hormone Deficiency (pituitary dwarfism) and Anxiety NOS (most recent diagnosis we haven't really gotten a handle on yet). My youngest is 6.5 (soon to be 7) and Mood Disorder NOS (bipolar of childhood) and ADHD (that one may drop as he ages and the bipolar becomes more official it is hard to tell, mania in children is often misdiagnosed as hyperactivity). We did decide to treat Tharen with medication, I know some people believe in alternative treatments, even for Bipolar, but as someone who deals with bipolar myself I know exactly how important a proper med regime is. Kearnan is not on any medications as this point though he may need something for anxiety in the future. In the past we have tried both public preschool (PPCD program) and a mainstream charter school classroom for Kearnan, neither situation was the best fit for him. He does best at home. Tharen is stubborn and fights me at home however I do not necessarily believe he would do better at school. More than likely he would just fight me more. The benefit to sending him to school would be getting a break from him and I would feel guilty about that. Not to mention the added fighting to get him ready ect would not be worth it. We find that homeschooling, extra curriculur activities and private therapy work better for the boys. I have a great developmental specialist to work with for Tharen and I am thinking that is who I will switch Kearnan to as well (he was seeing a psychologist but I am not crazy about her). Some kids do thrive on structure though. There is nothing to say you can't keep up structure at home. Diagnosis is a good first step. You may be able to find an autism program in your area if that is what your son needs, or at least a school more willing to work with him and you as a family.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:42 PM   #4
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My kindergartner is high functioning autistic. We are homeschooling. We had extensive discussion in our house about what would be best. Funny thing, dh and I both agreed on the pros of hsing, like we would be able to work on the things he struggles with (writing) and move quickly on things that come easy for him (reading and math). We had totally different reasons that we where nervous, I worried b/c we basically opt out of all therapy from the public school by homeschooling, dh worried that I would get lazy and not teach anything. Sorry for the rabbit trail!

Hsing is currently working well, I can be flexible on some things when necessary. He does ST once a week at a private organization. We are currently trying to get a little more socialization in, mostly because he obviously needs some peer interaction. So I guess if you ask me, I would say go for it!

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Old 10-18-2012, 06:57 PM   #5
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Thank you all for your responses! I think I just need to know that I can do it. My husband is obviously very supportive of the decision, but he will be the one working, and I will be the one dealing with the day to day grind. I also have a three year old, and we have a baby due in March. Busy times ahead for sure!

I guess we will start with really getting a diagnosis figured out. I know this can be a long process, but is important so we can really know how to help him. I think it will be ok once we get past the overwhelming beginning homeschool part. You will likely be seeing me around here often!

Oh and I do think one of our biggest concerns is taking him away from the therapy he gets at school. He is currently on consult for speech and OT, but I don't know that we can afford private therapy if it is necessary. I can hardly stand the thought of sending him back to school on Monday though. Definitely some big decisions to be made this weekend.
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Old 10-21-2012, 01:54 PM   #6
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Re: Homeschooling a special needs child?

It may depend on the state you reside in, but we are able to receive services whether we are in the local school system or not. Prior to this year, our girls went to parochial school and kids there received speech services, counseling and were in the G&T program. I'm sure they could get other help if needed, I just don't know about it. I'm sure hsers fall into the same category.

I would contact spec ed office and find out what you may or may not qualify for (and then I might also call the state dept of ed b/c some school districts are known to not want to serve certain kids unless they are forced).

I think it's just as easy to keep a schedule at home as it would be in school. As a former classroom teacher, I had a schedule, but it seemed that we had to change it frequently to accomodate assemblies, visitors, pictures, early dismissal--you name it, we switched the schedule for it. So, in your situation with a preschooler and a new baby, you woudln't have any more disruptions than a school classroom would. Just set an order of things and follow them. If math is an hour one day and five minutes the next, you are ok as long as you follow it with the next thing on the routine. good luck to you!
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:11 PM   #7
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Re: Homeschooling a special needs child?

You can do it! It won't always be easy, but sending him to PS wouldn't be easy either. And even if you HS, you can get services through the school system. You take him there for his speech and OT, and then just bring him home again. Depending on where you live sometimes when they are that young they will come to your house instead of making you go to the school for services. HTH!
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:47 PM   #8
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Thanks! We have officially started the withdrawal process. I am gaining much more confidence about this whole thing. In TN we have to be a part of a private school that is essentially homeschool. They let us pick curriculum and everything. Anyways, we are waiting on our application there so that we can start counting school days. I kept my son busy with different activities today, and he did really well. He loved the phonics book we were going through, and we worked a lot on handwriting. He gets lazy and his letters just get bigger as he writes. Haha So, I have hope that we can do this and love it!

My biggest fear now is just making sure I teach him everything he needs to know. Seems like a lot of pressure now that it is all on me. We will definitely look into him still receiving services from the school. His doctor really thinks he needs OT, but the school was so resistant on giving it to him. I'm not as worried about his speech right now. We made sure to leave the school on good terms so that it would be easy to get help from them if we needed it. Thanks again for all the encouragement!
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:07 AM   #9
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Re: Homeschooling a special needs child?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flufflovinmama View Post
Thanks! We have officially started the withdrawal process. I am gaining much more confidence about this whole thing. In TN we have to be a part of a private school that is essentially homeschool. They let us pick curriculum and everything. Anyways, we are waiting on our application there so that we can start counting school days. I kept my son busy with different activities today, and he did really well. He loved the phonics book we were going through, and we worked a lot on handwriting. He gets lazy and his letters just get bigger as he writes. Haha So, I have hope that we can do this and love it!

My biggest fear now is just making sure I teach him everything he needs to know. Seems like a lot of pressure now that it is all on me. We will definitely look into him still receiving services from the school. His doctor really thinks he needs OT, but the school was so resistant on giving it to him. I'm not as worried about his speech right now. We made sure to leave the school on good terms so that it would be easy to get help from them if we needed it. Thanks again for all the encouragement!
Congrats on getting things started! And to the bolded....that is all of us. We all have those worries and fears. They let the doubts creep in and give the homeschooling nay-sayers a stronger voice. Just ignore them. It just means you're a normal homeschooling Mom and are doing your best for your child. It also helps to keep in mind that PS kids usually have quite a few "gaps" in their education also. Good luck!
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:14 AM   #10
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Re: Homeschooling a special needs child?

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My biggest fear now is just making sure I teach him everything he needs to know. Seems like a lot of pressure now that it is all on me.
We HS too, and here's one of my favorite quotes about it- "Don't worry about 'gaps' in your children’s education...think of how many there are in yours. If your children know how to find out what they don't know, they are educated." We don't have to teach them EVERYTHING, but if we teach them how to learn, they'll be fine!
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