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 k12.com 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!