05 Apr Strategies for teaching children with Autism Spectrum Disorder at home
With the incredible shortage of autism schools and autism support services available in South Africa parents are forced to take matters into their own hands and many turn to teaching children with Autism Spectrum Disorder at home.
The problem that this presents is that autism education is not easy to navigate. Finding an autism friendly or autism specific curriculum is near impossible because over the counter or off-the-shelf curriculums are all geared only for the mainstream child.
Understanding Autism, understanding how an autistic child learns is the next challenge as each autist is so different. It is called the autism spectrum for a very good reason.
In Johannesburg autism services are easier to access than in rural areas, outlying areas or even bordering municipalities but this still does not mean that there are enough services available.
My advice to any parent that wants to home-school their child is read about autism, research autism, educate yourself about autism, learn about development delays and about different international teaching methods used in Autism schools, autism therapy centres and autistic clinics across the globe.
You can also subscribe to international online curriculum providers or get help from teachers and educators in a variety of autism specific chat rooms. Another great approach is to consult with a Sensory Integration Occupation therapist or one that has experience in Autism – ask them to help you work out a home based program for your child. You can furthermore consult with a Speech Therapist and even a Physio-therapist that may also be able to assist with home based activities that you can do with your child.
The most important part of home-schooling your autistic pre-school child is: “knowing what the child needs to be able to do by what age (development milestones). There are certain development milestone a child has to achieve in order to successfully complete a CAPS academic curriculum in a mainstream school and as a home-school parent you will need to work hard to help your child achieve these.