06 Mar Autism school or home school – what is best for my child?
You’ve consulted with a variety of doctors – have the support of your family and your friends, done the research and decided to move forward with Early Intervention for your Autistic child or toddler. But who do you choose? How do you let your not-speaking autistic child out of your sight and trust that he/she is getting the best treatment or intervention that money can buy? Do you go the autism schooling route, autism therapy route or do you tackle the intervention on your own (at home)?
Well, truth be told …. You can do the intervention at home. You can do online autism courses, attend autism intervention training sessions and enrol your child in an out-patient therapy program at a local therapy centre, clinic or hospital.
Or you can take your child to one of the schools in your area. South Africa has a few very reputable autism specialists that you can choose from. It is important for you to visit a few centres before making your final decision.
Home-schooling an autistic child can absorb your life fully and I have met many mom’s that could not cope with the pressure of it all. I have also met some that make it seem like a walk in the park.
Your decision is going to be based on so many variables and it is a decision that only you can make. I do believe that you will know what route you want to go once you have met with the autism service providers in your area.
My advice on what you should look at when considering an autism pre-school or autism centre for you child:
- Location and distance from your work or home?
- Cost and whether you can comfortable afford the intervention without putting financial strain on your family.
- The operational times of the school or therapy centre and how this will fit into your day to day routine.
- Curriculum offered or program offered.
- Therapies offered in-house at the centre.
- Cost of additional therapies and whether they are elective or compulsory.
- General look and feel of the building that your child will be in. is it set up for autistic children and is it age appropriate.
- The class or group your child will be in – are they the same age as your child? Or will your child be placed with random age-groups both older and younger.
- Quality of the educators and therapist that the centre employs.
- Registration with health authorities.
- Track record with autism early intervention, autism therapies or autism schooling because there are many pop-up centres that will not provide your child with the intervention they need.
- CCTV and security in classrooms – which goes a long way to help reduces mom and dad’s anxiety to the non-speaking situation.
- Understanding of ‘AUTISM’ as a neurodevelopmental development delay and a willingness to share information and answer questions.
If you are still considering the home-schooling route then my check list for successful implementation would include aspects such as:
- Daily home schedule and do you have the time in your day to dedicate the needed attention to your child. (2 – 6 hours depending on the child’s age and requirements).
- External support that you can call in when the need arises.
- External resources such as additional therapies or medical services.
- Ability to set up a dedicated space at home for “schooling” purposes.
- What curriculum will you be teaching your child?
- What techniques will you be using on a day-to-day basis?
- Do you have all the tools you will need to teach a visual curriculum?
You can do our SETTING UP AN AUTISM HOMESCHOOLING course on Udemy if you want more information on where to start, what to consider and how to organize your living space.