Public school districts and even private schools face ongoing challenges in meeting the needs of children with autism. One reason is that each child on the spectrum has a unique set of traits and needs, making it difficult to create an effective support system in classrooms. Homeschooling with autism, on the other hand, allows parents to better provide a learning space that matches their child’s needs.
If you’ve considered homeschooling your child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), you may be onto something. One common trait of ASD children is being overly sensitive to auditory and visual stimuli, something that you’ll find an abundance of in a traditional school. Here’s why that can be a problem for your child and how you can create a sensory-friendly learning space through homeschooling.
Children With Autism — Sensory Differences
People with autism experience the world differently, and these perceptions can have a significant impact on their quality of life. Many with ASD may have difficulty translating what they see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. Sensory perceptions can become frightening and even painful, leading to lasting anxiety. In a learning environment, this isn’t productive.
Homeschooling With Autism — Creating a Sensory-Friendly Learning Space
School can feel frustrating and somewhat terrifying for a child with ASD who has sensory sensitivities. When you choose to homeschool your child, you control the environment. The things that would be frightening in regular school, like loud noises, bright colors, and physical closeness, you can eliminate on day one.
Here are a few other suggestions for creating a sensory-friendly learning space for your homeschooler:
1. Organization & Colors
Most traditional classrooms are incredibly “busy.” You’ll find lessons and artwork covering every inch of wall space and every bright color imaginable. For children with sensory issues, this is going to cause overload and stress.
When homeschooling, stick to simple organization and neutral colors. Avoid putting too much on the walls except maybe a single calendar to keep track of assignments and maintain a daily structure.
2. Lighting & Sound
Lighting and sound are particularly important as well. You can help a child with extreme light sensitivity issues by using LED lights in your learning space, which create a softer glow than fluorescent ones.
Some children with ASD are also highly sensitive to even the smallest sounds, like a wobbly desk or a television in the background. If this describes your child, simply be aware of this as you choose and set up your home learning space.
What you choose to teach your child also plays a role in creating a sensory-friendly learning environment. Every child is different, so what your child dislikes or is drawn to will likely be different from someone else’s child. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can adjust your lesson plans and curriculum to suit your child’s needs.
Get Access to the Homeschooling Resources You Need
When it comes to homeschooling children with ASD, you can customize a program that suits your child’s particular challenges, needs, and interests. For over three decades, the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS) has been helping parents and their children succeed. Learn more about the benefits of SCAIHS membership today.