You’re afraid your child has given up. She has started making excuses to skip school, and her struggles to make friends and fit in with her peers are resulting in lower grades and distaste for learning. If only you could start the spring semester with a clean slate.
Although many parents are reluctant to enroll their child in a new school, particularly in the middle of the school year, the best time to get help for a child is at the first sign of social or academic difficulties.
In the absence of specialized services, these struggles don’t generally resolve on their own. The spring semester often brings the same frustrations as the fall semester. In many cases, a change of school environment is necessary to establish healthier patterns and achieve greater social and academic success.
Children with autism and Asperger’s who are already discouraged after the fall semester – refusing to go to school and struggling so much socially that they aren’t advancing academically – are not likely to make necessary changes in the spring. If the child follows the same routine with the same classmates, it is likely that the only thing changing is the year on the calendar.
A Smooth Transition
Parents often worry about breaking up the school year with a semester or more at a new school. They say, “My child isn’t good with change. Isn’t a new school just another transition?”
Transitions can be a challenge for teens with autism spectrum disorder, but specialized programs are accustomed to managing transitions and helping students thrive in a new environment. After the initial adjustment period, most teens breathe a sigh of relief when given a chance to start over. They are surrounded by children who are like them and share similar needs, such as small classroom sizes, extra one-on-one guidance, and manageable homework assignments. Specialized schools allow students with autism to feel comfortable just being themselves.
A New School for the New Year
The holidays are a difficult time for parents to enroll their child in a special needs boarding school, but there are a number of benefits to making a change at this time of year.
For teens on the brink of academic failure, attending a specialized school for autism and Asperger’s mid-year gives them the time and space they need to redeem themselves for the next school year. In small classes with plenty of individualized attention, students aren’t at risk of falling through the cracks or failing to get their needs met.
When students with autism receive appropriate support and guidance, they feel less anxious and are able to re-engage in the learning process. As a result, they gain confidence in their academic abilities and make significant progress in their social lives.
Many such programs are flexible. They admit students for only one semester to get them back on track for the following school year or for multiple semesters where each semester builds on the skills developed during prior semesters.
The coming year can be the time when your child is finally able to make dramatic improvements in her performance at school and engage in an active social life. Enrolling your child in a boarding school for teens with autism and Asperger’s is never easy. Making the decision now gives them an opportunity to take the first brave steps in changing their lives.