Editor’s Note – The following article is a compilation of information from Bridget Mora, a parent from Chapel Hill, who produced an article that appears on the ASNC website and did a great deal of research and Linda Griffin, Parent Advocate Director. Thanks to both of these ladies for their work to compile, condense, and share this information.
Every parent wants the best education for their children. While the Autism Society of North Carolina does not recommend one particular school or educational model over another, some of our families have found homeschooling to be an appropriate way to educate their child with autism. We have prepared a guide to provide information about homeschooling in North Carolina and to direct parents to resources to help you make an informed decision about whether homeschooling might be the right choice for your child with Autism Spectrum Disorder and your entire family.
If you are considering homeschooling, you probably have a lot of questions. The guide provides answers to a few of the most commonly asked questions about homeschooling in North Carolina like:
- Do I need to be a certified teacher?
- Do I need to follow a specific curriculum?
- Can I work and homeschool my child?
- Is a homeschool exempt from testing?
- How will a homeschooled child be socialized?
- If my child with ASD had an IEP in public school, can he continue to receive special education (EC) services at home?
- Can a homeschooled child attend college?
- How can I get started with homeschooling?
There are many different reasons why a parent might choose to homeschool their child with autism. The specific factors that go into the decision will vary depending on the unique needs of the child, but there are certain considerations that are often at the heart of the matter. These are some of the reasons that families may consider homeschooling and are discussed in some detail within the guide:
- Individualized Education
- Learning Style of the Child
- Safety / Bullying
- Emotional Health of the Child and Family
- Dissatisfaction / Frustration
The decision to homeschool your child is not to be made lightly. While homeschooling can have many benefits, there can also be some considerable challenges involved. The challenges are discussed in detail in our guide.
The Homeschooling guide also includes the legal requirements for starting and maintaining a homeschool. There is also a list of types of homeschools, supplementary educational resources , and a discussion regarding the opportunities for social activities.
Most recently the General Assembly approved an Education Tax Credit for families who homeschool their children. It is important to understand how that works. Families whose child with a disability was previously enrolled in a public school who decide to remove him for homeschooling (or private schooling) may be eligible to claim the Education Tax Credit for Children with Disabilities on their North Carolina state income taxes. The tax credit is for up to $6,000 annually ($3,000 per semester), if you meet the requirements. To qualify for the credit, children must:
- Have been in a public school the previous two semesters (or if in pre-school have been receiving special education services through the public school), and
- Have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and have been receiving special education or related services on a daily basis.
- Be reevaluated by the public schools every three years to continue to qualify for the credit. The cost of the reevaluation will be paid by the public school. Children may qualify through high school, up to the age of 22; the credit does not count for college education.
For more information, please visit our website or contact your tax professional.
There are numerous supports and resources available for families who homeschool, both in North Carolina and on the level national. These are listed in the guide along with contact information:
- North Carolina Homeschooling Resources
- National Homeschooling Resources
- Twice Exceptional Homeschooling Resources
- Christian Homeschooling Resources
- Structured Teaching Resources for Homeschooling Children with Autism
- Distance learning resources
The Autism Society of North Carolina bookstore is an excellent place to find books about autism, education, and homeschooling. There are many helpful book titles listed in the guide.
Additionally our guide discusses how to get back into public school should you later decide that homeschooling is not working out or that it is simply time to move into another educational venue.
An ASNC Parent Advocate may be able to provide you with additional contacts and resources related to homeschooling in your local area. Your local ASNC chapter can also be a place to connect with others who homeschool and gather additional insight.
Linda Griffin can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.Tags: autism, autism education, Autism homeschooling, autism north carolina, autism society of NC