Hi zalesmom! I have a 16 yo kiddo with Asperger's/Tourettes and he IS an amazing kid! I know he'd not be as confident and well-adjusted today if he'd been in public school. He is actually remarkably social now--on his own terms. But, it took a long time to get there. It was nice and not stressful for him though. We could decide what interactions we wanted and how long to stay. We took his lead on it, and it's played out beautifully. He did do pretty extensive ST, OT, PT, and play therapy from the ages of 4 through 8. But, it was nice, because since we were homeschoolers, we were able to get a waiver for our private insurance to pay for therapy rather than through the school district. It was SO worth it, because he got multiple sessions each week for each type of therapy rather than the once or twice a month the district could provide. He also had the same therapists and was able to form some attachments to them which was really beneficial to him.
I don't think a 'lack of formal education' has anything to do with it! I've found that my son, able to develop at his comfort level, has outstripped all of the expectations of his therapists. In school, they suggested heavy supports to get him mainstreamed. At home, we just went with what worked at the time. He was a very late reader--not confidently reading independently until age 12. However, when he was evaluated at age 9, he had the vocab and comprehensive of a college freshman (thank you read alouds and audio books!) yet he read at a kindergarten level. It wasn't until he was 11.5 that it all clicked for him, and he advanced through all the levels of his reading program in less than a month (really I think it was bout 2.5 weeks!). He just voraciously sped through and couldn't get enough. He exclaimed that it was JUST like a movie in his head! He now reads multiple books a week. His hand-writing is still weak (he has always had some right sided weakness even after PT), but he is very into art now and that is improving his handwriting. All in due time.
I know that for him, having an environment where he could grow and progress at his own rate has been invaluable. He's often commented on it now as a teen that he loves being at home. He's traveled to a dozen countries, joined the volunteer fire department, really into Parkour, and is a respectful, awesome young man. I can confidently say that he would NOT be where he is today if he'd been in the system of public school. Even when he's been 'behind' on things per the school charts, he's never FELT behind. He's been allowed to develop at his own pace, and he always 'catches up'. His confidence is intact. That is something that I could never reteach or fix if he'd been broken in the special education system.
Are you feeling stressed and stuck at putting him into school? Or at home? What specifically is making life difficult right now? I know that for me, letting go of expectations that he must do x at x time and x grade level and x lesson really made life easier. I realized, he WILL learn what he needs when he needs to know it. He may not be on the typical trajectory according to his school aged peers, but I think he's actually leaps and bounds ahead of them in so many ways! Anything that he 'needs' to know, he will acquire when the time is right.
We did do meds several times, and it DID help as part of an overall program. (Zoloft 25 mg--hardly anything!--at bedtime) three different times about 6 mos, 3 mos and 3 mos over the course of about 4 years between 7 and 11 years old. It really did help to bring down his overall anxiety level and let us work through some difficult times (birth dad issues, grandmother dying, and adoption finalized). So don't completely discount them if they are part of an overall program. Think about it critically, and decide. You can always wean off or stop if it's not giving the desired result. I would definitely not be on board with a long-term 'let's just medicate to fix it' situation, but for a specific period for a specific reason, it can be helpful in combination with other therapies.
I hope you're able to get a better assessment :( I know for us, just not pushing the academics and doing things he enjoyed--sort of a deschooling period (even though he hadn't been to public school!) always seemed to help us out, before we jumped back in again.