Online Education Allows Students with Autism to Thrive
About 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and the number of diagnoses continues to increase. In fact, autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the United States.
Autism Spectrum children often have trouble understanding spoken communication, interpreting social cues, adapting to a varied schedule, being exposed to over stimulating sounds and light, being organized, and maintaining attention. These can have a profound impact on how ASD students fare in the classroom.
We have received many stories through our What’s Your Story portal about how switching to an online school has helped autistic students thrive.
Kari tells us that her son, Davyn, had trouble with how long and difficult his days in a brick-and-mortar school were. He was pushed to his limits mentally and physically (such as art projects or loud music classes). He couldn’t sit still in class, couldn’t concentrate because of noisy hallways, and therefore acted out. He began to come home with incomplete work and poor grades.
Davyn is now enrolled in K12 and enjoys school:
“He loves using the computer to learn and not having all of the distractions of other students, school noises, and varying school environments. We can have a consistent daily schedule and breaks which makes him more comfortable. We have been amazed at the change in Davyn. He enjoys school, he wants to participate, he’s trying new things, he’s socializing in online classes and on field trips and he’s learning and mastering his curriculum.”
As if the roadblocks to learning aren’t bad enough, ASD students often have to deal with bullying.
Donna told us her shocking story of how she was the victim of physical violence because of her Asperger’s Syndrome.
“I had a book from the book fair and my book fell out of my binder. Eight boys kicked me in the head one by one every time I bent down to pick up my book. A few teachers I knew were there watching the incident happen and did not help. Another boy has shoved me an average of about five times a day since the beginning of school. He has punched me twice and called me stupid and bigfoot or Sasquatch constantly. Another student punched me, shoved me and called me stupid.”
Even though she told a teacher, there were never consequences for the bully. After experiencing bullying from kindergarten to sixth grade, Donna enrolled in Texas Virtual Academy, where she is now bully-free and happy.
Before enrolling in Agora Cyber Charter School, Dante also experienced bullying in his brick-and-mortar school. He also has trouble working around loud noises, blinking lights, and yelling. He is now in ninth grade and thriving at Agora.
“I finally get to relax and work with people who don’t bully me. I always get to participate without being annoyed by stupid things like some kid behind me shooting paper balls at me in lunch with a straw. I am making progress in controlling my anger problems and staying alert when testing and doing other school/homework. I am feeling more confident than in my previous learning program.”
If you have questions about how K12 might help your special needs child, you can call us at 866.968.7512.
Lauren Martin is a Writer for Learning Liftoff. Previously, she has written for nonprofits as well as marketing agencies. She's covered environmental issues, women's rights, world poverty, and animal rights. With a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from Ithaca College, Lauren enjoys interviewing families about their experiences with online education.