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May 23, 2008

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so NOT cool

Oh, goodness. This sounds SO MUCH like my own daughter, who is almost 16. I pulled her out of public school at age six and for many of the reasons described above. She literally developed dark circles under her eyes as well, and she struggled with the conformity of school ... unfitting rules, getting in line, not talking, not being allowed to stand while she worked on a project, etc.

I have been unschooling/homeschooling her since then. That said, she has never had an actual Asperger's diagnosis although I have been wondering about it for about six months, which is when I first learned about Asperger's. For instance, she has trouble looking people in the eye and with phone communications.

At this point, I'm not sure what to do to address the (possible) Asperger's. I mentioned it to the doctor once, and she completely blew me off. Any suggestions would be appreciated. (Other than those little quirks that make socialization more difficult, she is well adjusted and happy, and she does have friends.)

Heather Young

I struggled through the public school system with a nice mix of severe learning disabilities. My parents worked with me at home constantly so I could manage in public school (they were both public school teachers) . My husband struggled with the same thing. We home school/unschool or three--two of which have severe learning disabilities. It has made ALL the difference.

Paula Matine

I know it can be a big struggle to homeschool a special needs child. As for the question by "so NOT cool", I would recommend a second opinion by a specialist from a children's hospital. That is what I had to do for my child with ADHD. The pediatrician would never officially rule it so we went to a specialist.

Jillian

I pulled my 10 year old son out of school in Feb. to start homeschooling. he was having social problems along with other behavioral type problems. We found out he was an aspie kid.

It's much easier to deal with now that we know. I feel like a new mom again, figuring out what my child needs.


Jillian

Ann D

Thank you so much for sharing your story. My youngest was diagnosed in November at the age of 10 (after an 8 year journey to get the right diagnosis). We started homeschooling him two months before that. The gap between what the world of school had to offer him and what he needed as a human being and as a learner seemed to get bigger and bigger from year to year, until the gulf was impossibly huge. He is doing really well now. That diagnosis makes a world of difference. I don't know why other people (outside the family) were so afraid of a label. Crazy. Giving him that Aspergers label doesn't change a thing about him. It just makes it easier for us to insist that people treat him with the respect he DESERVES. That's huge.

Rolfe

It's interesting -- you give some great reasons for avoiding school for all sort of kids. I think all kids develop real social skills when they are flourishing, not just surviving.

Now that one of my boys has been diagnosed with AS, I see this even more. My son is an absolute joy to be with when you share an interest with him. This isn't just a proud dad talking. I see him have a lot of fun with other kids and adults.

But I can't imagine trying to make him stand in line at school. And pushing him into team sports would be cruel.

so NOT cool: Our pediatrician blew us off at first too, but we pressed to just get a referral "for our peace of mind". We also called several centers and local nonprofit groups to get referrals. Eventually we found someone who could see us, but it took some time and effort.

A blessed Mom

Thankyou so much for your uplifting article. I have been home schooling for 11 years. I have 4 children ranging in age from 6 to 17, two of whom are a-typical. But that was not why we chose to home school...Our decision was influenced by the home schooled kids themselves. Amazing kids. My children are flourishing and I can simply not imagine any other way. The concept of "socialization" has alays been somewhat amusing to me. No where in society do you see exampled peer driven environments. People do not work with or along side only those of their same age. Being prepared to engage in effective socialization in a community does not typically happen though the efforts of public shcooling . I so appreciate that all of my children can have meaningful commucnication with people of many ages. This is true socailization. My 6 year old was diagnosed with high functioning AS at the age of 4. At his evaluation, he could speak in 18 word long sentenecs and had word for word recall of stories and scenerios given to him. He was engaing and sat through the entire hour long session. He had excellent eye contact and even would touch the arm or hand of the person he was speaking to. My concern was that having only homeschooled all my children from the beginning, that the evaluators might suggest that this was the very reason he got information scrambled at times and did not always comprehend instructions or information.. This group of therapists did not. Instead they all commended the work we had done with our son. The develpmental psycologist pulled me aside and said "do NOT put your son in the public shcool system...it would completely un-do all you have done"..This was of course off the record. Again, I think it boils down to whether the socailization is positive or negative. I remember our neigbor being terribly concerned about "socialization" when we first told him of our decision to home school our children. It is interesting to note that, their neurotypical public shooled son has since dropped out of high school, can not keep a job, stays home all day smoking and has essentially rebelled in every aspect of life. He is disrespectful toward authority and is directionless. In most cases, I truely struggle with the negative effects of public shooling. Meanwhile our eldest is now writing a book, writes his own music (he plays piano), recently composing 16 peices used at a local ballet company, does all the ballet partnering at this same ballet company,is now taking college classes, is almost a black belt in taekwondo, plays the key board at church every sunday, and recently went to Mexico with my husband to help build a home for the poor. He loves people and has some very terrific friends. He is ADHD. All of this of course is not to "toot my own horn about my children", but merely using them to highlight a horrible misconception about homeschooling, especially of the a-typicals. I believe the term "socialization" needs to seriously be re-defined.

A blessed Mom

Thomas D. Taylor

Anyone needing free information on autism spectrum disorders is welcome to listen to the audio podcasts put out by Midnight In Chicago at www.mic.mypodcast.com. They are a useful resource for those who need them.

Monica Brant

Thanks for your articles about the Aspergers. I think I'm learning a lot from them. I have been enjoying very much your newsletter. We have found out that our daughter 10 has the syndrome and we are encourage to know that she can get better with time and proper care. We are Christian parents and our daughter has been taught a lot about the Lord, love and the Bible. We are amazed at the fact that she has such good memory for the stories and names and places. We also Homeschool our daughter and she reads since five years old, write and is in fourth grade doing very good in her studies. She is a happy girls and we try to make her socialize with others. she is the number 13 of 14 children. All one family. She gets lots of love and attention from every one and that we know has been a help in her development. Well, all this to say that Homeschool can help a lot to our Asperger's children.
I will like to have more talks and interchange ideas with parents with Asperges.
thanks
Monica Brant

essay writing

I have been wondering about it for about six months, which is when I first learned about Asperger's.

coursework

Well, all this to say that Homeschool can help a lot to our Asperger's children.

Stephanie Cuellar

I would like to ask some advice of you more informed parents and friends of homeschooling-asperger kids.

My nephew has asperger's, and school has been hell for him (he's 8 now).

I'm finishing college, and my new husband has said I do not need to work right away unless I want to- and I'm considering homeschooling my nephew.

His parents are unable to devote the time to it, but I think he would be so much happier and more positively challenged in a homeschool environment.

Do you have any input?
Thank you

Alicia Fisher

I use this example a lot. If you were afraid to swim would you jump into the ocean? Of course not. You would first learn how to swim and ease your way into any amount of water. It is the same with children with AS. Children with AS have fears in the social world. These children are bright and know that they are different from others, causing extreme anxiety for them. My opionion is this...give your child/nephew or otherwise the tools to know how to communicate and be socially "correct" in the world before expecting and throwing him out there to do it on his own.
I homeschool my 2nd grader that has AS and I WILL NOT put him back into regular school. There are MANY other ways for him to gain social skills without putting him into a setting that is not BEST for him. Find areas of interest for your child and surround your child with that and people with like inerest...this will develop those social/communication skills in ways that a school and peers will NEVER do.

Account Deleted

This proves that Asperger syndrome does not just lead to improper communication skill and
weak thinking. It has many other draw backs also. They can also struggle with social, motor and organizational skills. Let those children learn and do what seems interesting to them.

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