(Inside: Can you homeschool your autistic child? Is it even legal to homeschool an autistic child? Yes and Yes!! In this post I answer the most common questions that come up when wondering… can you homeschool your autistic child?)
When homeschooling, you get a LOT of questions.
How do they get socialization? How do you plan your homeschool year? How do you homeschool a large family? How do you choose curriculum?
But when you are homeschooling your autistic child, the questions just intensify.
See, most people don’t even know if you can homeschool your autistic child… Let alone the legalities or how it actually works.
So today I’m tackling that super common question… Can you homeschool your autistic child?
Can You Homeschool Your Autistic Child?
When most people ask this, they don’t mean it at face value.
See, homeschooling any child seems difficult, but to homeschool your autistic child seems to have a lot more logistics involved.
Some people want to know… can you legally homeschool your autistic child?
Others want to know how you can homeschool your autistic child if you aren’t a trained special education teacher.
Still others worry about the social skills your autistic child already struggles with that they may not get help with at home with only their siblings.
Can You Legally Homeschool Your Autistic Child?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Once again for the people in the back… YES.
If you live in a state where you can legally homeschool your neurotypical children (spoiler alert: that’s all of them) you can legally homeschool your autistic child.
Now, I live in Washington State, a fairly homeschool-friendly state. Here there are no nuanced laws that separate disabled from abled children. We don’t have any extra forms, testing, or requirements.
That said… I don’t live in every state.
Your specific state may have disability specific homeschool laws, but I’ve never heard of this being a thing. Your mileage may vary with that! But I do know that you can legally homeschool your autistic child in all 50 states!
But You Aren’t a Special Education Teacher…
When concerned friends, family, or even strangers pose this question about homeschooling your autistic child, I have to remind myself that it’s something I may have asked before I had an autistic child.
I mean, if special education teachers spend years of specialized training learning how to best educate disabled students… Aren’t they the best possible teacher for your autistic child?
Now, there are many, many fabulous special education teachers in the world, just like there are many, many fabulous general education teachers in the world.
But in both cases, their hands are often tied by red tape, the district, and budget restraints.
My autistic son needs a one-to-one aide in order to learn, but his school district would only provide one if he were aggressive or violent.
So we homeschool. He can get individualized attention from us, and learn in whatever way suits him best.
Beyond that, I’ve been A-Man’s mom for nearly eight years.
I taught him to use sign language, and eventually, talk. I taught him to walk, and eventually, run.
I taught him his ABC’s.
(Okay… SuperWhy helped…)
And how to use the bathroom, and wash his hands, and drink from a cup, and to climb.
If we, as parents, are equipped to teach our autistic children everything from birth to age five (sometimes with the help of therapists… I do love our therapy team!) why would we suddenly be unequipped to teach them starting at five?
Once again, though, I do not hate special education teachers. They are almost all awesome people that do incredible work in the lives of disabled children every single day.
We have a special education teacher at our church who’s worked with A-Man specifically and designed a Sunday school curriculum specific to his interests and ability level.
So to be clear: This isn’t a bash on special education teachers, and it isn’t to say they aren’t needed. It just means you don’t have to be a special education teacher to homeschool your autistic child.
But What About Social Skills?
I actually feel the social skills argument when talking about whether or not you can homeschool your autistic child is exactly the same as when discussing a neurotypical child.
School isn’t for socializing.
Just ask every teacher I ever had…
That said, kids do get the chance to practice some social skills at school, like taking turns, working together, respecting authority figures, and polite conversation.
All of which we practice within our family every day, as well as with the people we see at the grocery store, at the park, at the library, at homeschool meet-ups, and at church.
But at school, there are also negative social skills taught…
Like to bully the kids that are different or weird.
Or to change who you are in order to “fit in”.
Or… Dabbing… (I’m kidding. Kind of.)
And those are social skills I’m okay with all of my kids missing out on, whether they’re neurotypical, autistic, or anything in between.
We’ve found plenty of progress in A-Man’s social skills by getting him involved in different activities, and we’ve been able to go at his pace because we homeschool.
So with those three main concerns addressed, I hope you see now that you absolutely can homeschool your autistic child.
And we’re just at the beginning of a 10-day series for homeschooling moms all about homeschooling your autistic child, so stay tuned for the rest of the series!
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