HEM’s Questions & Answers - July-August 2011

Socialization for Special Needs Child

I am heartsick. We’ve effectively been banned from the large homeschool activity group we belong to. They’ve instituted ‘behavior guidelines’ which are designed to restrict membership to normal children. I have a neurologically healthy daughter and a son with Aspberger’s. We’ve tried going to group events with a special needs homeschool group and didn’t find it a good fit. Please help! -Ashley

Your responses must meet our deadline of June 15th, 2011. Please recognize that your submission may be edited for length or clarity. Indicate how you prefer your question or answer signed.

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11 Responses to “Socialization for Special Needs Child”

  1. Sandra Wilson says:

    I think it is horrible that you have been banned - that so goes against what I believe homeschooling is all about! Anyway, my suggestion is that you should organize some events or outings for your children, and invite other homeschoolers along stipulating that it is an event/outing for all children. A few of these outings will show you which homeschool families are willing to work with you. Also, you may want to arrange an information night to explain what Aspergers is all about and how to work with it in a social situation, after all, understanding and knowledge is the best way to overcome intolerance.

  2. Janette Walker says:

    Prejudice comes in all forms, and from all groups. It’s a sad reality.

    I agree with Sandra to organize some events fro your children and invite other’s to join in. Are there other special needs families who might be looking for just such an event?

    I also understand the hurt is causes. My son, although very high functioning, has PDD-nos under the Autism umbrella. We began homeschooling after he’d spent seven years in the public schools. It was the best choice for our family. I wish I had really great ideas for you, but all I can say is hang in there. You are the best sorce of support for your children.

  3. Nicole says:

    I’ve also seen this in our homeschool community. My special needs children have been informally shunned by the other homeschooled children and their parents. I would like to be able to start a special needs homeschool group, but with all the time it takes to teach my children, get them to their various appointments and therapies, and run our household, I really don’t have the time right now to start a new group. Instead, I take my children to non-homeschool activities, like scouts and martial arts, where they feel accepted.

    I would like for my children to have the opportunity to make friends with other homeschooled children too, so I might try arranging some events next school year, if time permits. I also like the idea of having an information meeting to explain all types of special needs, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, to the homeschoolers.

    I can’t wait to see what other ideas come up.

  4. Anna says:

    Be encouraged! Your family is the most important part of your children’s lives!

    Don’t give up! Pray! I have prayed for a bosom friend for 8 years and am just now finding her. You may just need that one or two understanding friends to help you get through. And they don’t have to have children the same age. You may find a better connection with other ages, etc. God will provide everything you need. But meanwhile, you grow in patience and love for your family.

    I am a mother of five and have had some very lonely times. Just remember there is a season for every purpose under heaven. And pray!

    And finally, know you are loved by the HEM community.

  5. Maggie says:

    One idea is to seek out or form a social group of families of kids with special needs and their siblings. A place and time where everyone can be themselves and everyone understands. Unfortunately, even people who consider themselves enlightened sometimes - ok, often! - need to be taught what sensitivity and understanding is really all about. If you want to teach your homeschooling circle about special needs, maybe you could have an expert come and give a talk about it.

  6. moudestine says:

    Please don’t give up your child need your love and support. I am having the same problem. No after school progam will take my child because sche has astisum. However, I decided to start my own group. Because my child will never have the same thing, that child who do not have special needs. So I am trying to get all the infomation I need to run one in Boston. I will pray for you and your child. Because it not easy when you only want was best for your child.

  7. Heidi Ahrens says:


    @Anna I think she reminds us of something essential. Try to make close friends who will start to understand your child and your choices. I think we often try to do to many things with too many friends and accommodate our needs all the time.

    I know that you picked to homeschool for a reason but have you thought of finding an afterschool play group for your Asperger son. I know in some large cities their are many to pick from.

  8. Amy says:

    I’m so sorry that you and your kids are having to deal with such harsh rejection. I have similar issues with my 9 yo Aspie dd - we’ve been “encouraged” to leave groups, though not so blatantly. Finding a fit can be tough, but you just have to keep looking. Special needs groups are fine, and if you are able to find one that works for you then wonderful. “Special needs” can mean lots of things and often that label is the only thing my daughter has had in common with the other kids at these functions. We’ve had more success with joining up for inclusive activities my daughter enjoys and then working with the leaders to make it successful for everyone. It’s not always possible, and some folks (adults & kids alike) are more accommodating than others. Keep trying! You can’t let this one nasty group get you down.

  9. Amy says:

    A heart-felt hello from someone whose kids qualify as “normal” but seem like a tremendous handful to others.
    I have many dear young friends diagnosed with one thing or another (Asp, Downs, ADHD, sensory integration disorder).
    A friend whose dd has blonde hair, blue eyes & Down Syndrome wrote a picture book to introduce her to other children. My kids really appreciated being able to read & talk about Downs.
    I don’t know that I can help you with the group that left you out; perhaps this could help with new friends & new groups.
    A big hug.

  10. Angel says:

    I believe this is a great time for others to grow and learn. I would approach the leadership privately and ask to have the new guidelines explained and then share how this would effect your child and family. If there are safety issues at the heart then address those with how you handle it at home and other public places. If it is a disruption issue then again have a time to share how you personally handle it. I do not think that you should just go on without confronting the situation first. You may still be told that your child may not participate but at least you gave them the opportunity to grow in a hard area. It is hard being in leadership and getting critisim fropm everyone. I think it can still be addressed with love and grace and your children will see you sticking up for them.

  11. Mom on the Verge says:

    Me too. *sigh* I have an autistic dd and an aspie son, and the only homeschool group in our town has pretty much shunned my weird, disruptive children. I get the stare that says, “You homeschool, and *this* is the best you can do with them?” I hate them all. Saddest part — this is a Christian group.

    I’m with the “few good friends” suggestion. I have a non-homeschooling mom who understands my dd, and whose son, though public-schooled, likes my Aspie kid.

    Good luck to us all.

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