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socialization for AS kids? how important is preschool? is anyone homeschooling?

1005 Views 9 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  cjbeach
i'm pretty sure that ds (age 3.75) has asperger's. we go for a formal eval in 3 weeks (eek!!!)

i've been reading everything i can get my hands on about AS, and it seems that early intervention for social skills building is important. from an attachment parenting/natural family living perspective, though, i'm wondering if early socialization is really all that crucial. i dont want to wait and set him up for failure, but i'm wondering if the whole concept of early schooling is flawed. and i'm wondering if there's another way to teach social skills that wouldnt be in a school type setting? anyone btdt? any ideas? anyone homeschooling a young child with AS-- if so, can you share your experience?
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My son, just turned 4 and is Aspergers Syndrome diagnosed, though we have an updated eval in August.
I have been homeschooling him for the last year. He has a huge desire to learn and with homeschooling, we get to use whatever subjects currently interest him. For example, he loves maps. He probably wouldn't get much exposure to this in preschool, so luckily I am able to indulge his needs with maps, games, workbooks, etc...
He sets the pace for learning and I take up on his cues.
Socially, there is so much available out there. Children don't really get the proper socialization in schools anyhow. We arrange playdates, Noah takes theraputic horseback riding lessons, swimming, etc....
We go to the playground, the library, music classes.
I know that he would never conform to the school enviroment. He does not like the classroom setting and thus, would probably not thrive as he is.
I truly hope it works for you, as there is no doubt in my mind it is the best.
I think it depends on your child and what their big issues are. If your ds plays w/ friends and has plenty of opportunities to interact w/ ppl, then you may not find preschool necessary. If your ds enjoys being around other kids and you can find a good play-centered preschool, then it may be enjoyable for you both

For our family, we have enjoyed having Parker in preschool. It gives me a chance to have one on one time w/ my other child, gives Parker a chance to meet other kids (he has behavior issues too so I don't take him too many places... it can be very difficult and exhausting) and dh and I have learned so much from his teacher. I've also gotten to meet other parents of kids like him, which is nice too.
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My ds (almost 3.5) is autistic, not aspergers though. He has limited speech and receptive language. He does not play with other kids, but enjoys being around them. We have decided to send him to special needs preschool for 3 half days in the fall. The biggest reason is that he needs to get his therapy - the ot is working wonders for him right now - and that is the only way he is going to get it. I think after the initial adjustment that he will really enjoy it and thrive. I will work with him at home on the other days that he is not in preschool. I hope that by the time he is 5-6 years old, he will not need so much therapy and I can homeschool him. I am going to be homeschooling my almost 5 year old dd in the fall, plus have a newborn baby.
We are facing the same decision. They are recommending a couple of hours of preschool a week with an aide working one-on-one with him to help him with socialization. We get to choose the preschool and interview the aides. It is really flexable, so we are thinking we will give it a try. We can also get a care worker to come to our house and take him out somewhere where he will have the opportunity to socialize so they can work with him. Again, we get to interview the workers to find one that is supportive of our beliefs and such. We get to set the pace and make all the decisions so we figure it is worth a try to see how it works out with ds. We will handle all the academic stuff at home (he is far advanced beyond pre-school) and outside schooling will ONLY deal with social skills. We are thinking it seems like the best alternative since he will get one-on-one help (I can't provide this as I have a 21 month old and a 9 week old) and because he seems to take direction better from outside people right now. If it doesn't work out we will stop.

If the program is flexable and you get to call the shots it might be worth a try for an hour or two a week. You can always pull him out if it isn't working, and you should be able to work out a program to fit your needs, beliefs, and lifestyle.
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We recently made this decision as well. In our case, the program was very inflexible and did not even offer enough therapy for her - I had her independently eval by a speech therapist and they recommended at least 1 hr one on one/week. The school had 1/2 hr week group therapy. and no ot. SO.... we're going to start looking around for playdates and such. I may take her to an art class or something for her age group. We will definitely homeschool.
My nine year old is hfa/aspie & he attends public school. Alex has been "in the system" since age 3 when he began his early intervention. At first, he attended a preschool specifically for children with special needs. There, the teachers & aides worked hard to help the kids learn to deal with a classroom-type setting & helped them to figure out some ways to interact more in the "real world". Personally, I don't feel like I could have/can provide all the help he needs all the time-especially not considering I have him, another child on the spectrum, & two more "regular" kids, so they have been a big help to me & to Alex as well. He really enjoys school & being around the other kids his age makes him want to be "like them". Every child in his class knows about his problems, he has peer helpers, his classmates often "talk him down" when he gets upset-they will even let him win games....I'm continually amazed by the great kids in his class. We have yet to hear of anyone ridicule him for his disability. His behavior is better when he's going to school & he is able to get his OT & speech 3 times a week, & one on one therapy whenever he needs it. They are able to provide resources for him that I couldn't on my own. I have been lucky with Alex's school-they are wonderful. I form a kind of "team" with everyone who works with my kids at the start of every school year, & we strive to work together to do everything for him we can the same way at home & at school. For him, consistency is key, for me, it's open lines of communication with everyone who has anything to do with the education(both academically & socially) of my child.
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I have a 12.5 year old Aspie son, a 6 year old Aspie daughter, an almost-4 year old autistic son, an almost-4 year old probably-Aspie daughter and a 19 month old with speech delays (and a PDD-NOS diagnosis). Oh, and a NT 13.5 year old, too!

I homeschool all of my kids. I utilitze ABA trials for my autistic son to teach him new concepts and regular curriculum with extra hands-on stuff for my Aspie kids.

As another poster already mentioned, there are lots of opportunities for social interaction other than preschool, so preschool isn't an absolute necessity.

I personally think homeschooling is a wonderful option for ASD kids because you can give them the one-on-one teaching they need and they don't have to deal with the sensory overload of a school environment. I hear of soooo many kids who "hold it together" during school and then meltdown/fall apart when they're at home. I'd rather my kids not be so stressed that that kind of thing happens, kwim?

Anyhow, good luck with your decision!
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we have an ABA program at home and I am also not sure about preschool for my 3.5 yr old son with autism. I have a choice of not sending him to preschool and getting speech on the side with a therapist that has already proved to be useless or try preschool and a new therapist that I get a good vibe from already. With the IEP we should be able to make it work. (If I write it that way and push what I want and not let the school boss me around!)
Jupiter has alot of food issues and I am concerned that the school will not take the food limitations seriously and he will have diet infractions. The consequences are 3 days of hell until it passes through his system.
As far as the social aspect, I think he could learn from his peers if he is taught how by one on one guidence with a para or aid. He likes to be around other kids and he would benefit from exchanging pictures with his peers however he will need guidence or it will waste his time.
I will continue to homeschool as well and supplement with preschool.
So far!!! Who knows what tomarrow will be!
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I think it's totally individual.
My DS is 4. Last year we had the word "socialization" shoved down our throats so we enrolled him in a private SMALL preschool which had just opened. Initially it was fantastic, so much so that we upped his hours to full-time. But as time went on the school grew to "normal" classroom size and it was disastrous. His dx is pdd nos/ hyperlexic type with Asperger's symtoms (that was at 3yo when the psych felt it too early to give an Asperger's dx though because of his speech issues doesn't really fit into an Asperger's dx either).
So anyway, school grew and Cam was WAY overstimulated in a classroom of normal size. It was pretty disastrous... 3 steps forward, 5 steps back.
So we pulled him out after only 7 months and found an ABA "center"in Orlando that we send him to twice a week (though that's dwindling as he masters everything there quickly now). And we've been homeschooling. I do use a token system if I'm having a hard time getting him to concentrate. He's been reading since 2 yo 2 mo so I'm not pushing it.
He's also off all his supplements now. In the past we did a LOT of supplements and GFCF with a doc not far from here. We cut most out as he progressed. But his attention is very poor. He did very well taking an Attention liquid supplement or something like SeaBuddies.
We just signed him up for karate for "Socialization" and he loves it,though he's the kid a teacher will buddy up with...he just doesn't get it. He's so overstimulated there it's like he's buzzing BUT it's so much fun that he loves it and asks to go!! We hope as we continue maybe this will help him work through some of the overstimulation.
1:1 he's fantastic, put him in with a group and he's a different kid.
As far as homeschooling goes....I'm considering something like Waldorf kindergarten THIS year (unless by some odd luck he qualifies for the school distict's communication class) he didn't qualify for anything last year when Early Intervention ended. We're still waiting to hear about this year's re-eval. I say STILL because school here starts the week of 8/7.
Sorry so lengthy...
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