An important feature within the development of a child and that is the child’s education. With many different educational institutions to choose from, this can become a difficult task. Many parents are unsure of what the best type of school for child with Aspergers is, to help we have put together a list of the different educational options for your autistic child.
With the development of your child paramount, finding the best schools for Aspergers is essential in helping them to thrive in a specialist setting. Whether this is a mainstream school, special education or even home schooling.
It’s important to be aware that whilst there are plenty of options and schools for autistic children that directly address individual needs, they each come with pros and cons. Keep reading to discover the best type of school for child with Aspergers and help make the best choice for your child’s education.
What is Asperger’s syndrome and how does Asperger’s affect learning?
Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of Autism that affects more than 1 in 100 people in the UK. A common disability, Asperger’s affects the ways that people see, hear and feel. With their learning difficulties different to those with Autism, those with Asperger’s find the world an overwhelming and anxious place. This highlights the need of finding the best schools for Aspergers extra important so that they can feel comfortable in an educational setting while learning how best to communicate and interact with their fellow students.
Why is finding the best type of school for child with Aspergers so important and how does Asperger’s affect learning? Affecting the child’s social, communication and behavioural characteristics, even the slightest change in their routine or discomfort can trigger them and make them feel uncomfortable.
Finding comfort in sameness, a change in environment and social interactions can become a restricted no go area over their instant fear and discomfort. Another way that those with Asperger’s can be held back in education due to their disability and that is through a lower level of concentration but also poor motor coordination. When both experienced, this can frustrate the pupil and cause them withdrawal and struggle with their education.
Best schools for Asperger’s Syndrome
Mainstream schools with autism units are a popular choice nowadays, with more and more autistic children being mainstreamed alongside their peers. These schools such as the Romsey School in Hampshire, for example, are trained to provide support for children on the autistic spectrum and this can be either with an in-class teacher aide or with organisational support to help them keep track of their work. Asperger Syndrome children strive to be the same as everyone else and this educational setting will be of massive benefit for their social and emotional development. However, children with Asperger’s syndrome do cope better in small class sizes, which is less of a reality these days with very little funding from local educational authorities and increased consumer demand. The environment of mainstream schools are not always Asperger’s friendly, with high noise levels and stressful social settings that can be over-stimulating and stressful for the pupil.
Specialist schools for children with Asperger’s such as LVS Oxford offer an environment that mainstream schools don’t always provide. Staff in a specialist school will have extensive experience working with autistic children, alongside the classrooms being aesthetically autistic spectrum friendly. There will be ‘low sensory volumes’ in the classroom, meaning that light, noise, temperature and smells are minimised. Most importantly – the curriculum will be delivered in a way that meets the needs of autistic children, especially as they cope best in small class sizes. There are also residential autism schools such as LVS Hassocks – a special needs school Sussex.
Homeschooling a child on the autistic spectrum means that you know that they are safe, secure and getting what they need, when they need it. You can implement a flexible, individualised programme for your child’s learning and reduces their stress and anxiety. This option is financially challenging as it does require a parent to leave their full-time job in order to carry out the home-schooling. It will use up a lot of your time and energy having to be there for your child 24/7, as you won’t get a break, unlike when they’re away for the day at school. You will also have to plan lessons and ensure that they are meeting educational goals. Homeschooling makes it harder for your child to socialise as they’re not spending time with their peers at school. This requires more of a hands-on approach from you to ensure that your child has the opportunity to socialise.
What are the main pros and cons of special needs schools?
Unsure of which is the best type of school for child with Aspergers and which educational setting that they will thrive in most, let us weigh out the pros and cons of a special needs school.
From the specialised approach that they receive to the individualised attention, there are a number of benefits to choosing to send your child to a school that specializes in AS. Another pro to a special needs school and that is the smaller class size, resources and facilities designed and incorporated to benefit and calm your child. From sensory rooms, qualified specialists on hand, your child will be in a nurturing environment that can understand and support them as they learn and grow into young adults.
When it comes to a main con of sending your child to a special needs school and that is the future social struggle that they could experience, stifling their social growth. Another point raised by parents and that is the potential stigma and lack of independence that they may experience. But the biggest point raised and that is the fact that a special needs school may just not be the best suit for your child, with your child being best suited in a mainstream school.
What should be noted and that these are just viewpoints and your child’s experience could vary to the points raised. Each student is individual and has their own unique needs.
One of the biggest decisions that a parent of an autistic child can make and that is deciding on what type of education is best for your child. Whilst it’s essential to be aware of the options available, it’s also important to be conscious of the pros and cons that come with each educational setting.
When it comes to the best schools for Aspergers, there is no wrong option. Each child is unique and requires different priorities in their education. To make the best decision for your child, we recommend taking the time to look around each education setting to get a feel of the place, do your research, and where possible, ask your child for their opinion. At the end of the day, it is their education and if they feel comfortable to view the schools with you, this can help give you a clearer picture of which was the best special needs school for them.
Did you find this article useful? Or perhaps you too have gone through the daunting task of looking for the best type of school for your Aspergers child? We would love to hear from you and discover your experience. Comment below.