Updated: Mar 15
Parenting a child with Autism is not easy even under normal circumstances. However, the last one year has thrown a spanner in the works on almost everything. Whether it was the daily routine you set for your child, or the familiar learning environment, the COVID-19 pandemic may have set you back on various areas of parenting your child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). While we transition from the year of the pandemic to the year of vaccines and reshape our everyday lives, schooling continues to remain an area that needs further thought and decision-making.
At the onset of the pandemic, all schools shut down immediately and subsequently made a quick transition to online learning formats. However, now schools offer a choice between digital learning, in-person classes, as well as hybrid options, allowing parents to choose what works best for their child. In the meantime, families dealing with Autism have started evaluating a fourth option which has always been around – homeschooling.
Are you are trying to decide between digital learning and homeschooling for your child with ASD. The Autism treatment experts at AB Spectrum offer some insights to help you choose the best option.
Digital Learning: Also called virtual learning or distance learning, the digital learning method uses technology to deliver lessons. Besides facilitating teacher and peer interaction, digital learning creates new learning opportunities due to its ability to incorporate personalized instruction and fun and engaging learning strategies. In a digital platform, the creative content curation and innovative technology-led delivery methods lead to dynamic interaction (such as live polls and discussion boards), as well as powerful storytelling and visualization.
Here are some of the advantages of digital learning for your child with Autism:
The same curriculum as that of your local county’s public school
Interaction with teachers and peers is entirely through technology, minimizing your time and effort for drop-offs and pickups from home and school
Avoiding the exposure of a school environment, which may be more prone to COVID-19 outbreaks
Effective training on usage of computer, internet, and other online tools and applications
Continuation of your child’s Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy through a virtual format.
However, digital learning may not always be the best option for your child with ASD.
If your child is easily distracted or starts to tune out in an online learning environment, it may lead to gaps in learning, which may be tough to make up for later.
If your child is vulnerable to sensory overload issues, the sounds, visuals, or other aspects of digital learning may trigger challenges or problem behaviors and take away from the actual learning.
Ideally, a digital learning environment should promote oral presentations, group collaboration, and peer interactions. However, every school may have some variations in the way they deliver the online curriculum. A poorly structured digital curriculum may create social disconnects and impact the child’s ability to communicate verbally or participate in social interactions.
Homeschooling: Nobody understands or knows your child better than you do. As parents of a child with Autism, you are usually in a better position than teachers to guide their learning. While some families prefer homeschooling their children due to religious or educational philosophies, others do it due to lack of adequate infrastructure in the schools, or due to personal preferences. The legal requirements for homeschooling in the U.S. vary by location. While some states have few or no requirements, others ask for standardized testing or portfolio reviews at fixed intervals.
Here are some of the advantages of homeschooling your child with ASD:
It allows you to be in charge of your child’s learning and provides plenty of flexibility in the learning formats. For example, you can plan a hybrid approach that includes a couple of days of classroom training along with the rest of the sessions at home. You may even decide that the in-person training is only for a specific subject.
It aligns your child’s learning to your family’s specific needs and priorities. For example, the learning can be in the form of dedicated homeschool time or blended into the daily activities depending on your schedule and preference.
It can help you capitalize on your child’s interests and learning abilities by redefining the curriculum content and method of delivery. For example, you can modify your teaching style based on what and how your child absorbs and retains knowledge.
Although the state of Missouri offers special education services for homeschooling children with special needs, not every family has the time, means, or ability to invest in homeschooling their child with Autism. Many parents find it overwhelming and emotionally draining to teach their child at home, even if they have the means and support to do it.
At Autism and Behavior Spectrum (AB Spectrum), we specialize in the Reggio Emilia ABA therapy approach and aim to bring about meaningful and long-lasting changes in the lives of children with Autism. Our qualified and experienced Board-Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) create customized ABA curriculum based on every child’s unique needs and developmental goals. Whether you choose homeschooling, digital learning methods, or a traditional, school-based learning environment, we ensure that our high-impact Autism treatments promote function and independence in your child with ASD.
Our flexible options include clinic-based ABA sessions (at St. Charles and Chesterfield, Missouri) and in-home ABA therapy throughout St. Louis, Missouri. We also offer a hybrid option that combines both.
To learn more about effective, evidence-based Autism treatments in and around St. Louis, Missouri, get in touch with the ABA therapy experts at AB Spectrum. Call 314.648.2687 or schedule a free initial consultation today.