School Options Part 2

In the first part of this discussion about school options, we talked about the occasional need to confront a school about the education opportunities for your child. Now we will look at three other options in the event you realize your child’s school cannot meet their unique needs related to autism.

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1. Accept the status quo. Especially in smaller school districts, there may be a limited number of educational options for our youngsters with autism. Sometimes it may be in the best interest of our child to accept the status quo, and to spend time filling in the gaps at home. So, for example, one of my friends was in a classroom with several other students with very explosive behaviors, requiring implementation of very structured behavior strategies. Although he was compliant, he needed the small class setting and individual teacher attention. His parents wanted him moved into a class with a more casual, encouraging atmosphere, but the small school in their small town did not have that option. The parents discovered their son did, indeed, learn to tune out the other students and to enjoy his learning experiences. The family also made a point of having casual, enriching learning experiences at home in the afternoons, weekends, and evenings after school – reading time, field trips, and other fun educational activities.

2. Look at alternatives. Some families choose home school, private school, or other education alternatives to the public school program in their town. These are certainly viable options that have proven successful for many families. Just a word of caution about expectations – all educational settings have some challenges and limitations, so do not expect these alternatives to be perfect situations for your child.

3. Move to a different town. If the local school district is too small or not equipped to meet the educational needs of your child, it might be in the best interest of the family and youngster to move to a different school district. This may seem like a radical action, but it is similar to a family’s moving to provide more opportunities for their youngster who is particularly gifted in a specialized area such as golf, viola, or advanced math.

TIP FOR THE DAY: No matter the situation, I encourage you to proceed with caution when it comes to confronting the school or making a major change. Sometimes the grass can only appear to be greener on the other side of the hill.

NOTE TO READERS AND LISTENERS: I am Cathy Knoll, a board certified music therapist and long-time friend of many folks with autism. At FAQautism.com we are committed to providing free, practical, everyday tips for making life better for people with autism. Feel free to send me a confidential email at talk@FAQautism.com with your thoughts or challenging situations or innovative solution. And don’t forget to check out our website for a wealth of ideas and a glimpse into the world of autism. http://FAQautism.com

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