When a child gets diagnosed to be on Autism Spectrum, the first thought his parents get is ,
These kinds of thoughts are very obvious for parents of such a child. For children who are on the autism spectrum, settling in a normal school system usually becomes very challenging.
However, if we look around, we can find ample examples, where children on the autism spectrum have achieved exceptional excellence in academics. Let us understand how to make this possible for our children too.
1) These days, a huge number of schools have separate special wings with facilities like Occupational therapy, speech therapy, special education, etc. Although, now a lot of stress is being laid upon inclusive set ups (instead of seperate special set ups) where apart from getting all needed intervention, kids on spectrum get to mingle with NT kids which helps in socialisation and communication. A special parent can approach such schools for their kids. Also, various laws come handy when seeking admission in inclusive set up schools.
2) Despite attending a special/inclusive set up school, it may happen that a child still faces difficulties. In such a scenario, NIOS is a good option. NIOS, National Institute of Open Schooling,is all about facilitating students who are unable to pursue regular studies. The main difference between CBSE, ICSE and NIOS is that NIOS provides flexible learning opportunities to students who are unable to pursue their education through regular schooling. All information regarding NIOS is available on the website www.nios.ac.in.
3) There may arise a situation where the child may not be able to settle with any curriculum. In such a scenario, a parent may decide to homeschool the child who may, at a later stage, appear for an exam, as per his convenience. In Homeschooling, a parent is a teacher as well as facilitator. You may or may not adopt a particular curriculum or make your own curriculum depending on the child's needs and interest. Homeschooling is a very common practice outside India.
In the last few years, a lot of parents (both NT & special kids) specially in south India have opted for homeschooling and have been quite successful in educating their children. There are a lot of parents' groups on Facebook that can be referred for deeper understanding of how homeschooling actually works.
When it comes to educating your child, especially a child on the autism spectrum, it calls for a lot of dedication and hard work ,both by parents and teachers. The First most important factor here is to be a happy and motivated parent. A parent who has a positive approach and faith in himself and his child can make a lot of positive impact on a child's overall development. Secondly, always keep reasonable expectations from your child.
There may be a lot of challenges which your child is facing but unable to communicate. It is very important to understand them and keep the child motivated to keep trying without being shunned down by his failures.Another important point is to always keep a track of a child's academic progress. Even if you are taking the services of a special educator, do not leave it entirely on the teacher.
Be a partner of your special educator, regularly share your inputs and observations with him, keep regular track of your child's progress and stay abreast of all the developments. A parent and special educator, as a team, can make a remarkable difference to a child's academic progress.
The Last most important point is NEVER EVER COMPARE your child with anyone. Every child, whether special or NT, is unique, has his own abilities and weaknesses. Comparing your child with anyone will only distract you. Stay focussed and keep working with the child. You will definitely achieve success.
Shivani is a practicing Chartered Accountant and an Autism Activist. She is passionately working towards creating sensitivity in society for people on the autism spectrum. She is a core member of "Autism Parents Forum" which is a group of motivated individuals who have taken the responsibility of creating autism awareness in our society.