Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Homeschooling the Child with AUTISM Book Review

When a child is diagnosed with autism, the parents often feel inadequate to intervene and to teach that child. There is a mindset that teaching individuals on the autism spectrum is best left to "professionals", when in fact, to quote Dr Jeannette McAfee in the forward of Homeschooling the Child with Autism,

"...a homeschool environment can be the single most effective place for some children with autism to learn, grow and achieve their maximum potential. In many cases, a child learning at home will acquire far more knowledge and experience in social skills, academic skills, life skills, and executive functioning than he or she would absorb in a typical classroom setting."

Homeschooling the Child With Autism, Answers to the Top Questions Parents and Professionals Ask, by Patricia Schetter and Kandis Lighthall, ($22.95 from JOSSEY-BASS TEACHER, a Wiley Imprint)

McAfee states that,

"Authors Schetter and Lighthall have done an excellent job of debunking the myth that only credentialed teachers can teach academic subjects successfully."

And McAfee is correct.

If you are a parent who is wrestling with the idea of homeschooling a child who has an autism diagnosis, Schetter and Lighthall have pulled together information to help you through the decision. The authors included a great deal of input from five homeschooling moms whose children are on the autism spectrum, allowing readers to peek into their lives and homeschools in a way that reveals the creativity and flexibility that homeschooling allows a family and the opportunities for success at home that were not possible in a school-based setting.

Take a peek: Table of Contents is HERE; Chapter 1 is available HERE.

The homeschooling moms are generous in their descriptions of what they do at home. The authors and the moms provide some troubleshooting and "how to" strategies and they provide resources for more information, as well. In Parent Perspective sections, they offer readers "snapshots" of what they're able to do better or differently to meet individual needs via a home setting.

As a parent using a neurodevelopmental, relationship approach of intervention with my daughter, I disagree with some (not all) of the material devoted to teaching social skills and social thinking. They do offer some really wonderful descriptions of social opportunities (there are quite a lot when you homeschool, which surprises people.)

When I received my copy, I jumped to the back of the book to read the Q&A with the moms and the interviews with the students. I like that section a lot!

If you're new to homeschooling a child on the autism spectrum or are considering homeschooling as an option, this book will be helpful to you. If you're homeschooling a child and are struggling through some challenges, you will find the Parent Perspective sections helpful, as other homeschooling moms share what worked or didn't work for them. School teachers may find some of the strategies helpful in a school setting as well.

Homeschooling the Child With Autism, Answers to the Top Questions Parents and Professionals Ask, by Patricia Schetter and Kandis Lighthall is a solid resource, particularly for newbies and those sitting on the proverbial homeschooling fence.

1 comment:

argsmommy said...

Thanks for this review -- I had not heard of that book yet.


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