On-spectrum learning – children with borderline autism

For years now there have been misconceptions about the disorder of Autism, but there has never been a focus on its silver lining. Studies have shown that there is a large percentage of very smart autistic children and if their intelligence can be enhanced through training or schooling, they are able to lead a normal life.

Schools have declared these children unteachable, and suggest special care should be given to them. The fact is that borderline children want to be treated as normal students. Problems may develop such as anxiety and social disorders, as they do not interact with “normal” children. Home schooling is a way to assist the parents of ” on-spectrum” children to ensure a level of education is completed and to enable them to go to university and be part of an economic society.

So how is borderline autism defined? 

Cognitive ability in autism is associated with autistic severity; that is, children with intellectual disability (ID) have more severe autistic symptoms than those with borderline intelligence or “normal” IQs. However, in some cases the children have a very high IQ and are “little geniuses”.

There have been case studies showing that children can be taught in an environment where they feel safe and relaxed but should be guided. Schools give up too easily and children are often misdiagnosed when they have ADHD or autism. With Cambrilearn, children now have the opportunity to study at their own pace and in the safety of their own homes. With the help of our caring teachers, children can ask questions and view recorded videos that add to the learning experience, making learning fun!

The problem that frequently arises is that teachers are not willing to deal with or help borderline students. In primary school, class activities, surroundings, noises or even other children teasing them, can initiate a reaction and this could lead to anxiety or outbursts.

Diagnosis is one of the most difficult parts of this disorder and could be very costly. There is no set way to go about helping your own child. The first step is to tackle the most important part of life which is education. This can start at home. At Cambrilearn we are able to assist the world’s English-speaking children from the age of seven, straight through to A level, to attain a world-class education.

Autism and healthy living

Healthy living is one area that can also make a huge difference when it comes to the power of the mind. Omega 3 plays an important role in healthy brain function. It has also been proven to treat some factors of autism.

Social development is extremely important when it comes to the education of borderline children, as they act from their own perception of life. If the right social stimulation takes place, the autistic condition can improve. For example, kicking a ball, playing a game where objects are moved around, or even games that require strategic thinking: these all help to develop the mind to improve analytical skills. Analytical skills are essential when solving problems in maths or science. The encouragement of reading is one of the most important factors when it comes to home schooling, regardless of the student’s disorder. It builds a better vocabulary and trains the mind to remember, which in turn enhances studying for exams as well as coping with basic everyday school work.

Why Homeschool Your Child With ASD?

  • A truly individualized program that fits the child’s needs and can change hourly/daily/weekly as needed.
  • Less stress/anxiety for the child.
  • Curriculum choices: You choose and adapt curriculum to suit your child and work at their speed.
  • Safety: Abuse, neglect, bus drivers/aides, restraint rooms, bullying, etc. happen all too often in school settings.
  • Educational viability: If your child cannot process the sensory surroundings of school, home can offer a great alternative.
  • Fitness: Since schools have all but given up PE, or don’t adapt it well to kids with ASD, you can create your own program to fit your child’s likes and needs.
  • Flexibility of schedules: Some kids learn better in the morning, some in the evening, some need longer breaks in the day, homeschooling offers you more flexibility.
  • Less wasted time: Commuting to/from school takes moments, and you don’t have to shovel the snow out of the driveway to get there.
  • Field trips: My favorite part of homeschooling is turning any trip, even a walk down the road, into a learning experience.
  • Less time fighting the school and more time working on goals.
  • Comfort: You can homeschool in your jammies. Enough said.

Methods Of Teaching

Since every child is different, and as with all things autism, you may want to use a mix of approaches when educating your children, but keep this in mind: If your child cannot function in his/her community, it doesn’t matter if they can do long division. Teach functional skills in every way you can.

Unschooling generally means that the children can learn whatever they want, however they want, whenever they want, without curriculum. Like the Floortime method, it’s wholly child-centered and child-focused, though Floortime has more concrete goals that you work towards.

Homeschooling generally means teaching your children at home with curriculum. You can use standard ed curriculum, specialized ASD curriculum, modify either, or create your own completely.

Since the needs of children with ASD change with time, functioning and health, you may use different approaches as your child’s needs dictate, and that’s one of the best parts about homeschooling – fitting the program to what YOUR child needs, when they need it.

There is also something called “Flexschooling” which is basically half day at home and half day at school. Most US schools don’t like this option as they may not get paid for only half time and they have less control over what’s being taught, when and how, so the IEP would have to crystal clear as to who will be responsible for which goals. There is a book on the subject: Autism and Flexischooling: A Shared Classroom and Homeschooling Approach by Clare Lawrence.

Varied Approach: Whether you choose a strict ABA/VB-type approach, a more child-directed approach, a more Montessori/problem solving approach, a typical brick and mortar approach, or a mixture of many approaches, it’s up to you and your child to choose what works.

Lifeskills for children with ASD are paramount: My children are now adults and my best advice about educational goals would be this – Every child with ASD should have lifeskills goals in every home program, IEP and IFSP, because if your child gets lost and cannot navigate his or her own world, it won’t matter if they can spell Montana, or do long division. Life skills like self-care (laundry, bathing, cooking, cleaning), safety (crossing streets, not touching hot burners, knowing their name and phone number/address), communication skills (even if nonverbal, there are skills they can use to get help) just to name a few.

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