Originally Posted by CrunchyClark
I don't exactly agree with above comments that it masks special needs and delays. I think it allows kiddos to develop at their own pace and excel where they want and take extra time where they need to. My son has done so well that to most, they'd never know (other than the tics!) that he is on the spectrum.
After reading your post, I went back and checked mine to see exactly what I said. Here is what you are referring to:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move
Homeschooling masked the severity of my DDs SNs.
It was a statement about my child, not a blanket statement about ALL special needs kids. And it's true. There's nothing there for you or anyone else to agree or disagree with. It was OUR experience.
Second, it is true that homeschooling allows kiddos to develop at their own pace, however, with a special needs kid, esp one who is truly on the spectrum, it isn't that they just need more time to catch up. Their brain is wired in different ways that effect a variety of systems and will impact their lives forever. In order to reach their full potential, they need more HELP, not just more TIME. This isn't about some crazy hung up I have in my child doing what other humans her age do, but about how much control she will ultimately have to make her life how she wants it to be.
When dealing with a child with special needs, gambling that TIME is the issue *can* mean not getting kids the extra help they need. Take the hand writing issue for example. Let's say that most kids the same age can hold a pencil correctly and write the alphabet, and a kid on the spectrum can't. If the parent assumes that they need more time to develop at their own pace, they'll respond one way. If the parent assumes the child needs something different and extra, and sits down to figure out what it is with the help of their classroom teacher, special education teacher, physical therapists, etc. and then comes up with a real plan with measurable results that then the whole team is working toward (i.e., they have an IEP meeting) that's going to have a different impact on the child.
Part of how HS masked the severity of my DDs special needs was that I didn't have it in my face everyday the myriad of ways her development was off. If you don't even realize something is a problem, then why would you address it? It wasn't until she started school that I realized that homeschooling had been masking things.
My DD can pass as NT in a wide variety of situations. School ain't one of them. She is college bound but will required accommodations for college, which her school will help us put into place (as they have done for other SN students). The jury is still out on whether or not she'll be able to live independently from us. If she weren't spending time in places and ways that push her buttons a little, I believe she would be less likely to be independent as an adult. She is forced to work on her weaknesses, which in the long run I believe will help her be a stronger adult.
And although all of this sounds negative about homeschooling, I'm quite sure that there are times when homeschooling is the best choice for a specific child on the spectrum. I do think that parents and students would be better served by the homeschooling movement being more honest about some of the downsides of homeschooling so that parents could steer around them. My advice to a parent homeschooling a sn kid would be:
1. Create a very solid paper trail. Evaluations, letters from specialist, etc. Pretend that you are going to have a crises that requires your child to be enrolled in school and then get the paper work together than you would need to do so. It's a bit like buying life insurance, no one wants to think about needing it, but things beyond our control happen. Getting an eval can take a year in many places. If you have an emergency and your child HAS to enroll in school, they need real documentation to get any accommodations. Besides, the process may help you better meet your child's needs by better understanding them.
2. Figure out ways to take care of yourself. Most likely, your child will be with you more of the time for a long period of their life than most kids. The little breaks that become more often for *most* parents (drop off activities, birthday parties, sleepovers, camp) may not be on the horizon for you. This is a marathon, not sprint. Take care of yourself, or you can't take care of anyone else. (not doing this is ultimately a big piece of why my child ended up in school)
3. Enlist a team, don't try to do this alone.
4. Attempt to be as realistic as possible with yourself about your child's strengths and weakness so that homeschooling doesn't mask things to the extent that it did in our family, because when that masking ended, it was brutal for all of us.
5. Don't assume that any of the rhetoric in the HS community about how kids just catch on when they are ready applies to your child. It might. It might not.