Parents faced with finding the best educational setting for a child with Autism are discovering a wide range of options thanks to the demand for such. For children with Aspergers, education involves much more than academics. The very structure of the learning situation must be a match to the student’s particular strengths and weaknesses. In addition, therapy needs must also be addressed. Here are the most common options parents of children with Autism have for education.
- Public schools are obligated to provide a free and appropriate education for all student s within their enrollment. The goal is education in the least restrictive environment for all students, meaning more chances for peer interaction. Students with Autism will most likely have IEP contracts. They may be mainstreamed in classes called inclusion classrooms. They may be in regular classrooms for some subjects and pulled out to a resource classroom for others. In more severe cases, students may spend most of the day in a special education or resource classroom. Individualization determines the best approach.
- Autism focus schools are popping up as the cases of ASD multiply. These schools require students to have an official Autism diagnosis before enrollment. The child’s academic program is planned with his strengths and weaknesses in mind, allowing time for the assortment of therapies common in the treatment of Autism.
- Residential/boarding schools for children with Autism are especially helpful for older children and teens with Autism or Aspergers. Education includes academics, therapies, and basic living skills. The students are encouraged to pursue on campus extracurricular activities and social training opportunities. The goal is the child’s future independence.
- Homeschooling is gaining ground as a popular choice of education for typical and special needs children. Parents become teachers, therapists, coaches, and mentors for their children. You cannot beat the one-on-one attention and instruction a parent is able to give a child with Autism. Homeschooled students may learn in a strictly scheduled environment, eclectic style focused on the child’s interests, or completely child-directed, delight learning sometimes called unschooling. Of course, students with ASD usually thrive in an organized environment on a set schedule.
In many cases of children with Autism or Aspergers, education via the local public school special education department is by far the most popular choice at this point. Parents must search locally for the best possible option for their child with Aspergers.