Homeschooling a child with an ASD is not much different than what is required than homeschooling a neurotypical child or children within a public education setting. The environment needs to be highly structured and utilize “Best Practices”, such as TEACCH Methodology, PECS – Picture Exchange Communication System, Social Stories, and Visual Strategies.
Parents and other family members will need training in these interventions or an ASD consultant to support individualized educational assessment and the development of materials and training in the applications. There are intensive therapies that can be used such as ABA – Applied Behavior Analysis, PRT – Pivotal Response Training, and Floortime – Developmental Relationship Model.
The last three interventions are very expensive and intensive and require parent participation and commitment and can be integrated into the daily schedule.
Children with ASD are expected to participate in the same curriculum as general education students, however the focus needs to be child centered, based on the child’s strengths, interests, and subjects and activities that have relevance and meaning in the child’s life.
The framework of programming, accommodations, and modifications within content areas that need to be adjusted to the learner’s developmental ability, cognitive ability, sensory needs, communication ability and social needs. In other words, what are the optimal conditions for the child to access the curriculum? participate in the curriculum, and achieve educational goals? and does the child need an alternative curriculum? As with most homeschooling, social understanding and interaction with other peers needs to be an area of high priority.
Parent’s considering homeschooling a child with ASD need to educate themselves on the complex nature of Autism and try to gain an understanding of the underlying characteristics of Autism and the unique characteristics of their child. Coping with a child with an ASD can be stressful depending on the severity of impairment. Consistency in the delivery of instruction, in providing clear expectations, and in developing a predictable environment and schedule of activities, are a few key concepts to be mindful of in order to create and achieve successful learning experiences.
Parents need to be mindful to balance their time and energy, take respite, talk with others, consult with professionals, and maintain optimal social and emotional health. ‘Quality of Life Outcomes’ are important for the parents, child, and other family members.