Homeschooling an Autistic Child
When you are homeschooling an autistic child, you immediately believe they will be ok as long as you create structure to the day… Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.
Autistic children do like structure in general, however they are like everyone else in that it takes a long time to form a positive habit. So when you are forced to homeschool an autistic child because of Covid 19 breakouts, you are flipping their entire routine on its head overnight.
You may have already figured out that people with autism need a notice period for change. It could be the smallest thing that you and I would take for granted but in their heads… It’s a completely new world!
We have found with Jake that zoom calls are a struggle. The chaos of everyone trying to have their say and him not being heard is too intense. He also doesn’t have his one to one support, which means if the call doesn’t go at his pace, he feels like he is being left behind. As you can imagine, this causes an extreme melt down.
How do we manage the meltdown?
It’s understandable that parents often feel under pressure to put their autistic child through the pain of the zoom call. We don’t want our children missing vital information, and the older they get, the more vital that information becomes. We learnt recently though, that making Jake go through the calls is actually counterproductive.
To ensure we have the information required to be able to help Jake with the work, Linz and I will often do the call on our own. Making sure we listen to the key points so that we can relay the information to Jake in a one to one setting. Screen off and sound on mute, no one even knows that Jake isn’t there.
Explaining this process is key though. You can’t just tell an autistic child they are not going on a zoom 2 minutes before the zoom starts and expect them to be ok with it. You have to remember that children with autism will still feel the need to be included in class activities. They know they are different, but they often struggle with deliberately excluding themselves from things their friends are doing.
Give them plenty of notice and explain the benefits of not being on the call. Build their confidence around the work they are doing. That they are not alone when it comes to people not feeling comfortable on zoom calls. While the zoom call is going on, make sure they are doing something they love that consumes them for that 30-60 minutes.
Raising awareness for Autism
Everything we do at Unconventionall Apparel is designed to raise awareness around autism and the brilliance in the people on the ASD spectrum. Homeschooling children with autism is just one of many topics we will discuss throughout this journey.
Would you like to feel inspired to break free from the shackles that hold so many of us back? Then please have a look through the shop and grab something nice. A percentage of your money from every sale goes to The National Autistic Society. This means you can be confident that you are not only buying something cool… But helping a great cause in the process.