Tips for Helping Your Autistic Homeschooler Focus
Homeschooling your child is a wonderful decision, especially for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It opens up many opportunities, but this at-home approach to learning does have its ups and downs. Parents have to learn how to handle distracted children, and all involved can feel overwhelmed in the process. However, these tips will help both your and your autistic homeschooler focus on the tasks at hand, and you all will have a better outcome!
When your child has special needs, it’s essential to create a cohesive and secure learning environment that removes distractions and helps them focus. When challenging moments do come up, specific coping strategies can help you both feel better and less frustrated.
Using the Benefits of Homeschooling to Your Advantage
Children with ASD see and interact with the world in a unique way. The individualized approach of homeschooling corresponds to this viewpoint, making it a common choice for parents of kids on the spectrum. Plus, there are many benefits of homeschooling children with special needs no matter their age or what specialized help they require.
One benefit that stands out is that homeschooling a child with ASD allows you to avoid sensory triggers and sidestep social frustrations. This makes it easier for them to learn in a more comfortable environment. However, it’s impossible to avoid sticky situations all the time. Episodes of frustration and periods of distraction are bound to come up.
To prevent feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, take advantage of the liberty homeschooling provides. From your curriculum to the hourly schedule and even where you choose to host class, you and your child are in control of their education.
Creating a Sensory-Friendly Learning Environment
Sensory overload and feelings of being overwhelmed often result in reduced focus for children with autism. Your child might experience distractions from visual, auditory, or other stimulations. Create a space where kids can learn with less distraction and receive the sensory input they need using sensory-friendly decorating ideas to create a calm, healthy learning environment.
Tips for Helping Your Austitic Homeschooler to Focus
Getting through the school day and finishing a learning module or completing a task is challenging if a student cannot stay focused. This can be frustrating for you and your child.However, the autistic brain has a fascinating way of processing information and concentrating. You can support your child’s unique way of learning by helping them stay focused with these tips:
1. Use topic fixations to engage their interests.
If your child becomes fixated on a specific topic like cars or dinosaurs, find a way to work it into the lesson plan. Rather than treating it as a distraction, you can use this fixation to engage your child on a hyper-focused level. Along with academics, these topics could also make homeschool socialization easier.
2. Share authority in the curriculum.
When making decisions about their education, involve your child. This gives them a boost of confidence and helps develop decision-making skills. Let them choose topics of interest that appeal to them to encourage deeper concentration. They might also feel more motivated, which can help you through potential obstacles in the future.
3. Practice developing concentration with close-ended activities.
Completing short, simple activities like arts and crafts daily helps develop a child’s ability to concentrate. You can increase the difficulty as they succeed in finishing these activities. Using a timer can help your child visualize how long they have to focus, too.
4. Establish a schedule and stick to it.
Children with autism experience hypersensitivity, which can feel chaotic. Providing them with a structured day is calming. Routine creates an order that fosters a secure environment where they are better able to focus. Keep your daily routine visible, so your child always has a way to see what’s going on. You can also look at sample homeschool schedules for different situations.
How to Handle Frustrating Moments
When tackling challenging moments where your kid feels overwhelmed or experiences a meltdown, be empathetic and acknowledge their struggle. As a parent, your job is to teach your child to express themselves in a healthy way. You should make them feel understood, safe, and loved. Keep sensory tools like toys and therapy dough around for those moments when their mind is overwhelmed.
Finally, once your child is calm, both of you can practice coping strategies and work on regulating those emotions. Physical exercise is a great way to get sensory input into your daily homeschool routine. Yoga, nature walks, and deep breathing are all soothing exercises that help kids with autism cope with overwhelming periods.
Asking for Help
There are no fool-proof plans to prevent overwhelming feelings when homeschooling a child with ASD. Likely, both of you will feel frustrated at some point. However, the more time you spend with your young learner, the more you will understand your child’s unique learning style. If you need additional support, don’t be afraid to reach out and look for helpful homeschooling resources.
Homeschooling mom – 26 years and counting
Movie reviewer/Travel blogger