The truth is that some schools are more equipped to handle autism than others. A school’s ability to provide for your autistic child will be based on the level of resources, curricula and staff it has at its disposal. Ultimately, you need to find a school that suits your child best in order for them to thrive.
The “best schools for high functioning autism” is a question that parents have been asking themselves. There are many different schools to choose from, so it’s important to know what type of school your child will be attending.
There are three sorts of schools in the United States that assist pupils prepare for the future.
Your taxes fund public schools, which you are probably acquainted with. Private schools are regulated by the states, but tuition is paid out of your own pocket. Finally, there are homeschooling solutions that allow you to turn your house into a classroom.
Which is the best choice for your child? The answer is contingent on your availability, your money, and the severity of your child’s autism.
Is Public School the Best Option for Your Family?
For American kids, public schools are the most conventional type of education. You probably went to a public school if you left home for school every day and never heard your parents talk about tuition or fees.
The use of public schools is widespread. In the United States, for example, over 67,000 public elementary schools served students in 2018, compared to over 20,000 private elementary schools.
Most of the time, you will not be able to pick your child’s public school. Based on where you reside in the state, an institution will be chosen for you. Interviewing administrators and inspecting the grounds are off the table. The school will be chosen by the state, and your kid will be enrolled.
There are certain advantages to attending public schools, including:
- Cost. The expenses of public education are covered by taxes. Parents anticipate incidental payments, and you may be required to provide a child’s pencils, papers, and other learning materials. However, you will not get a tuition charge.
- Additional services are available. Autism-affected children have a right to a free and suitable education. School systems create strategies to encourage a student’s talents while limiting their weaknesses, and you won’t be charged for it.
- Special classrooms are available. If your kid is severely affected by autism, he or she may need to be placed in a special education class. Your youngster may get extra learning help from skilled professionals here.
There are certain disadvantages to public schools, such as:
- There is a lack of precision. Few public schools, according to experts, provide well-rounded autism programs that adjust to a child’s individual requirements. Some don’t allow sign language or other creative modes of communication, while others don’t give assistants with one-on-one attention.
- Poor preparation. According to studies, individuals with autism are detained 25 times more often in public schools than their neurotypical counterparts. Other strategies might be used by teachers that specialize in autism education to assist their students. They may turn to unproductive practices that may damage children if they do not get proper training.
- There is very little supervision. Children may be nasty, and when they see disparities, they call them out. Youngsters with severe autism may not detect taunting from their classmates, while high-functioning children may be intensely aware of the slights.
Consider public schools to be a middle-of-the-road choice. Some low-functioning kids, as well as some high-functioning pupils, thrive in this environment. Many autistic persons slip through the gaps of these enormous organizations.
Are there any advantages to attending a private or charter school?
Parents who are unsatisfied with public education but are unable to homeschool their children may choose private or charter schools. They’ll hire a team of instructors and administrators to educate their kid, and the job will be done away from home.
The majority of religious private school alternatives are available. Nonsectarians account for less than 15% of them. That may be excellent for certain families. They think that an atmosphere that is loaded with discourse of a higher power would provide a more caring educational environment.
Private schools aren’t the educational equivalent of the Wild West. States are in charge of the programs, and facilitators must demonstrate that they are meeting the standards or risk being shut down. Because each state’s policies reflect the many policy viewpoints at work inside its boundaries, families relocating from one place to another may experience drastically different outcomes.
The following are some of the advantages of private/charter schools:
- Specialization. Autism is the focus of certain charter schools. All of the pupils have the disease, and all of the staff members cater to the unique demands of these young brains. Parents are not obligated to advocate for change. It’s on its way to them.
- Supervision. In exchange for the money they pay, parents demand a high-quality education. In order to attract students, private schools must compete with public schools. Small class sizes and high-quality instructors are typical at private schools, which may lower the danger of bullying.
- Options. Without being pushed into a school based on location, parents may select and choose the school that feels suitable to them. This is a significant advantage for many individuals.
There are certain disadvantages to attending a private school, including:
- Buyers should exercise caution. There are no two persons with autism who are the same. A school dedicated only to autism may be prepared to manage a low-functioning kid, but a high-functioning youngster may feel unchallenged. It’s equally possible that the opposite is true.
- Cost. Private schools may be quite costly. For example, one autism-focused institution in Oregon costs almost $30,000 per year in tuition. Parents who pick this school should consider the financial implications.
Families with high-functioning autistic children often choose private schools. They want a customized education for the kid, yet special education programs in public schools do not seem to be beneficial. Parents who are unable to afford the hefty tuition fees may be hesitant to take advantage of the perks.
Should You Homeschool Your Autistic Child?
Almost every parent in the United States became a homeschool teacher during the COVID-19 pandemic. When schools closed, parents had little choice except to continue their children’s education at home. This wasn’t a novel concept for some parents of autistic children.
About 16 percent of homeschooling families do so because their kid has a particular need, such as autism. And 15% of parents pick this choice because their kid suffers from a medical or mental illness.
The following are some of the advantages of homeschooling:
- Spending time with each other. Every day, parent-teachers spend all day with their children. Their friendship becomes deeper with each passing day.
- Lessons that are tailored to your needs. Parents may pick what to focus throughout their classes, which may help their children learn more effectively. Parents of railroad-obsessed youngsters, for example, may illustrate crucial topics using train timetables, maps, and engine components.
- Learning on a daily basis. Homeschooling parents may construct lesson plans out of anything, including rearing animals, gardening, visiting a museum, or even grocery shopping. This is perfect for active autistic youngsters who can’t sit in a classroom all day.
The following are some of the disadvantages of homeschooling:
- Cost. On average, parents spend $50 to $500 per kid each year on homeschooling expenditures. Tutoring, online courses, and extracurricular activities are examples of higher-cost possibilities. These advantages may be required for both high-functioning and low-functioning kids to learn, and they may significantly increase the total expense.
- There are little possibilities for social interaction. When a youngster learns at home, he or she has no classmates with whom to interact. When locked at home with their parents all day, some high-functioning adolescents lack peer input. Parents may need to make an additional effort to provide these youngsters with chances for socialising.
- Isolation of parents. You won’t have much time to create a job or keep professional connections if you’re teaching your kid. It might be difficult to carve out your own possibilities when you are devoting so much time to your kid.
Homeschooling may help children from all walks of life. Parents should be mindful, however, of the time and financial implications of this alternative. If you don’t think this notion is good for you, it’s not a judgment on you as a parent.
Tips to Consider When Making a Decision
Your kid needs a solid education, and you, as a parent, must choose the best alternative for your child and family. It isn’t always straightforward.
As you choose the school your kid should attend, keep the following in mind:
- Find out how severe your child’s autism is. Autism is a disorder with a wide range of symptoms. Some children display autistic behaviors, while others do not. Homeschooling may be preferable for a kid with low social skills and a history of bullying, but public schools may be preferable for a youngster who thrives in social situations. You are the only one who knows your kid better than anybody else. Consider their skills and shortcomings, as well as the optimal educational atmosphere for them.
- Keep an eye on your spending. Some of the alternatives we’ve discussed have a significant price tag. Your household also has additional expenses to consider, such as rent, utility bills, and food. Don’t allow the schooling choice eat up all of your money. To balance the budget, you may be able to select and choose various solutions. Although public school may be the most cost-effective option for your family, you may set aside some dollars for extras like child tutoring or special education programs.
- Pay attention to your youngster. Even though many children with autism struggle with speech, they all have something to say. Allow your kid to tell you more about the educational path that seems to be the best fit for them. Pay attention to what others are saying.
- When in doubt, try something new. If your initial choice doesn’t turn out as well as you expected, you may switch to another. When something isn’t working, don’t be scared to modify it. Finding what works best for your kid may require some trial and error.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, get help from your child’s care team. Your kid’s physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, behavior therapists, and other therapists may all provide their opinions on what is best for your child. They may be able to throw light on aspects you hadn’t considered previously because of their unique perspective.
What Is the Number of Public Schools in the United States? (As of June 2019). EducationData.org.
Autism and School: Your Child’s Rights Autism Speaks is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about
Why Are Model Autism Programs in Public Schools So Rare? (Aug. 2017) Spectrum.
What Happens to Students with Autism in America’s Public Schools Behind Closed Doors? (February 2012) The National Autism Association (NAA) is a non-profit organization
The Council for Private Education has compiled a list of facts.
Private schools are regulated by the state (July 2009). Department of Education, United States of America.
Is it Better for Autistic Children to Attend Integrated or Specialized Schools? (June 14, 2014) National Public Radio is a public broadcasting organization.
Information about tuition and financial aid. Victory Academy is a school that teaches students how to win.
Here’s How Homeschooling Is Changing the United States of America. (2016, September). The Discussion.
Homeschooling on a Shoestring… Or No Shoestring? (Updated November 2019) The Home School Legal Defense Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending students at
In the United States, homeschooling is a popular option. 2016 (November). The American Institutes for Research is a research organization based in the United States.
Explained: Social Communication in Autism (April 2018). Spectrum.
Autism and Social Skills Autism Speaks is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about
Experiences of Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Who Homeschool. (2011, November). Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities are the focus of this article.
Homeschooling Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Special Education Teachers’ Perceptions and Beliefs (2012). Researcher who works from home.
There are many private schools for autism near me. Private schools are typically more expensive than public schools, but they offer a better education and often have smaller class sizes. Reference: best private schools for autism near me.
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Janice is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Special Education. She also holds a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) from Queen’s University, Belfast. She has worked with and case managed children and youth with autism and other intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in home and residential setting since 2013.