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View Full Version : Special needs (aspergers), High School-advice requested



Elizabeth
05-27-2013, 03:50 PM
My son is now of high school age (14 1/2). I have been homeschooling him for 4 years now. We started out more formal, merged into eclectic and now border a more unschooling manner. One big issue, he has struggled with math this whole time and I haven't really pressed it. We have focused on practical math- budgeting, coupons, bank account, inventory and grocery shopping. He does great with creative writing (mostly fan fiction and only via keyboard as handwriting has been an issue). We are very interest driven in the various subjects. He has a great interest in science (mostly animal related) and history (various wars, ancient Rome and wherever Doctor Who episodes bring us). He also has a lot of interest in Art. He has friends-local and online (xbox and minecraft) and we periodically attend field trips with a local secular group. The big question I have right now as he sort enters 9th grade is the GED vs diploma issue. He does not fare well with some test conditions and I have been debating about using a program like Clonlara where he can also obtain a diploma. This is the path which my husband would prefer. I could do the homeschool transcript path and know some post secondary programs accept those. I am leaning toward the Clonlara route and will call them tomorrow for general information. I would love to get some feedback from anyone that has used Clonlara or other flexible programs as a means to progress towards a high school diploma. His Asperger's Syndrome really manifests with some quirks and an over reaction to things he gets frustrated with. This can include throwing things. My son has expressed interest in going to pub like school but he would have to start back in a more restricted environment initially (read: special needs school). He wasn't happy about that part. Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

dbmamaz
05-27-2013, 04:31 PM
curious what his future path looks like after high school? Because that should dictate a lot of what you do. Obviously with that little math, he would not have very many college options. If he actually wants to go to some sort of college, you need to sit down and talk about what would need to happen over the next 4 years in order for him to be able to get in to and succeed in college. as for paying a bunch of money to get a diploma . . .i wouldnt do it, but its your money and your husband. GED is not something most homeschoolers do unless they need it for something specific

Elizabeth
05-27-2013, 05:54 PM
I don't know that he even wants college but the college savings plan can be used for technical schools too. I wish they could be used for high school programs. The post high school world is still an unknown. He is very artistic and may learn towards graphic design. My plan is to use Teaching Textbooks over the summer and beyond to get him caught up more with math. You are right, those plans are huge in what path I should take. I will start to research those post high school options. Thank you for the input and thoughts!

murphs_mom
05-27-2013, 08:34 PM
Every state is different, of course, but the ADA laws that apply to high school also apply to college. If your son continues to struggle with math, the college (or community college/tech school) he chooses is legally obligated to help him in any way necessary. This could mean extra tutoring, an assistant in math class, or even waving the math requirement if math isn't critical for his major (ex. art major would be low math vs. pharmacy tech needing advanced math). The school may not make getting the extra assistance an easy path, and you may have to seek legal assistance to nudge the school into complying, but it will get him through a post-secondary degree if that's something he desires. :)

popsicle1010
05-27-2013, 09:11 PM
Will math be required if he wants to pursue graphic design? I know a lot of graphic design is done on computers so I wondered if math will be necessary for that. Mentioning it in case it's something to think about to keep his options open.

Good luck!

dbmamaz
05-27-2013, 09:15 PM
My daughter was a few credits away from a 'graphic communication' degree at community college, and she had to take stat and one math. She took pre-calc. I'm pretty sure that algebra 1 and 2 and geometry are considered remedial and do not count towards a degree, even at the community college level. She then was transferring to a 4-year school but i dont remember if she needed to take more math there or not.

my sister quit a computer graphics class because she couldnt undertand the math . . .that was at least a decade ago, tho, and the programs do get more and more automated. My daughter did a lot of drawing straight in to the computer with a drawing pad, though, too.

art schools might be different?

BarbaraH
05-27-2013, 09:17 PM
For most homeschoolers the GED is not the best option. (http://homeschoolsuccess.com/ged-for-homeschoolers/) The majority of colleges will take an unaccredited/parent issued transcript and that is in fact the option that most homeschoolers choose. There are some states, some state scholarship programs, and some colleges that have a preference or requirement for accredited transcripts however.

I suggest now is the time to look forward to age 18 and consider where he needs to be at that time - academically, emotionally, socially, and in terms of lifeskills. Especially with the concern with low frustration tolerance and throwing things when he's angry, it may be a good time to think about therapy or a social skills program. One thing to keep in mind is that while he's under 18 you still have much more in the way of control than you will when he's legally an adult. This is a good time to work on what needs to be worked on.

If he decides to go to college there are specialized programs available for students with Asperger's. Some of these programs include social as well as academic support.

Elizabeth
05-27-2013, 10:31 PM
He is actually much better now than he used to be. In fact, after visiting relatives for the first time in three years last month, they remarked on his MUCH improved change in behavior. This is, of course, due to years of therapy (for him, I think mine comes later...). Social skills training has been a huge part of it as well. I have taken seminars and he has participated in some more formal sessions. This is really important now because he is 5ft9 and doesn't look like a teen. This is good and bad. Noone treats him like a child now and they expect him to act like an adult. He does tend to do pretty well with others unless he has not slept well. Enter the many pricey sleep studies, etc... I really love the thoughts here and will have some serious discussions with him on his future.

BarbaraH
05-28-2013, 10:55 AM
He is actually much better now than he used to be. In fact, after visiting relatives for the first time in three years last month, they remarked on his MUCH improved change in behavior. This is, of course, due to years of therapy.

That's great!

Another idea might be to think about the possibility of an internship or volunteering during the high school years. That would be a great way to build on his social skills and help him develop job skills too. It is so important that teens have a way to make a meaningful contribution and it helps them grow in a positive direction.

dbmamaz
05-28-2013, 12:12 PM
My son was once dx'd aspergers but mostly atypical bipolar/tourettes, some executive function stuff . . . one of the evaluators said he'd always be about 2/3 his age, maturity wise . . .now at 17 he's closer to 3/4 . . he's definitely maturing. I will probably enroll him in a community college program which includes an internship so he gets some experience. So far all the volunteering he's done have been at the local homeschool convention and at my (UU!) church auction. He seems to be a pretty good worker as long as he has a clear job to do. We have him doing more and more around the house, too, to work up to that - he mows the grass, he makes gluten free bread in the breadmaker, he took over the evening dog walk when I hurt my knee. He does a lot of the vacuuming, too. Of course, all of those, only when I remind him . . .

Elizabeth
08-01-2013, 09:11 PM
My son was once dx'd aspergers but mostly atypical bipolar/tourettes, some executive function stuff . . . one of the evaluators said he'd always be about 2/3 his age, maturity wise . . .now at 17 he's closer to 3/4 . . he's definitely maturing. I will probably enroll him in a community college program which includes an internship so he gets some experience. So far all the volunteering he's done have been at the local homeschool convention and at my (UU!) church auction. He seems to be a pretty good worker as long as he has a clear job to do. We have him doing more and more around the house, too, to work up to that - he mows the grass, he makes gluten free bread in the breadmaker, he took over the evening dog walk when I hurt my knee. He does a lot of the vacuuming, too. Of course, all of those, only when I remind him . . .

The part about the DX is a lot like my son..the parts about doing things...not so much...

I am just so stressed. Meeting with Spec Ed coordinator next week. I just don't want to do this AT ALL>
. He says he wants more socialization.
I tried to make a deal with him last year. If he keeps up with his work, attends most field trips (local secular homeschool group) and attends the local zoo classes I sign him up for (not $ but still!) then we would go to public school if he wanted. He did go to 2 field trips (1 was great/1 meltdown), he really did not keep up and it has been a struggle (esp. with math) and he didn't go to any of the zoo classes.

He didn't keep his 'side' of the bargin but then I do struggle with 'am I doing the right thing?'. My mom instincts scream against even trying and the logical part of me questions her. '
Then I think about the depression he had when he was in school.


All I can see happening with public school is daily calls, weekly MDT/IEP meetings, truancy, suspension and possibly jail with one of his meltdowns. He is 5ft10 so no longer a little kid.

I like the idea of internships and volunteering. What kinds of internships are even possible at 14/15?
Thanks again everyone. I learn so much here and try to share what I can.

dbmamaz
08-01-2013, 09:24 PM
remember, you can always take him back out of school if its a total failure. And i was talking about internships as a college student. But i have heard of parents of kids with a strong interest finding a local person to let them 'help' with their work sometimes

Elizabeth
08-02-2013, 10:15 PM
While I can always take him out my big fear is the meltdowns and reactions to bullies. He can have some big meltdown and this is why I wanted him to ease into social/academics with field trips and homeschool target classes- not a full, long day starting at 7am. When I said earlier I fear jail, I really mean it. He is better than he was in 4th grade but he is also 5ft 10, not 4ft 10 and about 230lbs. It is less often now than then. I would like to revisit the agreement he and I made and ramp up the field trips and classes so I can see how he adapts....
ok-new edit. I am going to meet with the school and just figure out the options. Meanwhile the local secular group looks like they have a writing club and a lot more events so either way he will get more interaction than previously-assuming all goes well.
I know I am scared but I also know I will be less so once I learn all the facts.

CindiLM
08-22-2013, 04:04 PM
My 14 yr old son also has Apspergers. We made the decision to homeschool vs public/charter school this year. (9th grade). He is very advanced in Math, but he has monumental difficulty generating ideas for writing assignments. We are working with CompuHigh so he can work one on one with a teacher. He can get an accredited college prep diploma through this online program, if need be. I am impressed, so far, with the interaction between teacher and student.