Online Schooling and Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome

While many children on the autism spectrum attend a brick and mortar school, new options are now available. Today I’d like to discuss online schooling and autism, as this is a road that we will soon be traveling.

My oldest has Asperger’s Syndrome or PDD-NOS depending on which professional you speak with. He is a very bright child and although he enjoys going it is becoming apparent that his current school is not able to meet his varying needs. Alexander is considered twice exceptional (2e); he is gifted and also has learning challenges.

Twice exceptional children often fall through the cracks as many educators can’t see beyond the learning challenge and thus don’t expect much out of the child. So Alexander is getting a bit off track during his day because he is able to quickly finish his work and so he is sent to listen to an audio book or work on the computer.

Now typically one would think working on the computer would be a delight, especially for my son who absolutely loves the computer. However the work he is tasked with is very basic. He just turned nine and is a young 4th grader. He chose the 6th grade work on the computer and he was required to insert appropriate punctuation into a sentence and then ensure that the capitalization was proper. I am honestly not surprised that he ends up goofing off during these tasks.

Now I’m not excusing his behavior, he should not be interrupting his classmates’ learning experiences but the teacher really needs to be challenging my child. He is exceeding state standards but they refuse to offer him any additional work.

So now we have made the decision to pursue online schooling for Alexander to finish out his 4th grade year. We aren’t homeschooling, as I honestly don’t feel I am equipped to do this properly but we will be using the curriculum that is offered by one of the online charter schools in our state.

We will probably start next week as it takes several days to process the application. I am extremely nervous about this venture but I feel that it is the best choice until we are able to move to a new school district in the summer of 2011. Wish us luck!

About Melissa

Melissa is the mother of two children on the autism spectrum and strives to provide information about all aspects of autism through her blog, The Autism Education Site. Follow Melissa on Twitter. Like me on Facebook.

© Melissa Hincha-Ownby and The Autism Education Site, 2008-2014.


  1. My son is 10 and currently a 5th grader at a fantastic school in our county. He also has Asperger’s. He is in the gifted program and scores well above his peers on standardized tests. However, he is incredibly bored at school and although he has many “acquaintances”, he has no close friendships with his classmates. He has one very close friend who is now in middle school and no longer in the same elementary school as my son. We are considering enrolling him for middle school in the new county online program that has started this year. I would love to hear how you like the online program for your child. I know it’s a perfect setting for my son’s schooling, but am concerned that he will spend the majority of his day in front of a computer rather than interacting with others…which is obviously an issue with an Asperger’s individual. He attends a great karate school three nights a week and has some friends there, so I wonder if that will be enough.

    Good luck to you…I would love to know how it goes for you and your family!

    • Hi Pam,

      Thank you for your comment. We’re now about a month in and we have great days and not so great days. Today, not so great. I’m not a teacher and so when we run into a roadblock where a topic isn’t clicking for my son, I only know of so many ways to try to get it to click. Since I’m not trained I don’t know how else to try it. Soooo…we put the topic away and will try again tomorrow. However, it is very rewarding to see him learn and once this specific topic clicks and he gets it, I know we will both celebrate. The school has some groups created that my son participates in including a Lego Robotics Club. I’d say he’s about 25% computer time and 75% other time – worksheets, writing, reading, science experiments, outdoor time, etc. We are both happy with the decision, despite rough days like today.