Bringing to Light the Beautiful Creativity in Autistic Students (The Perks of Online High School)
Rachel's parents had bigger smiles of pride than they ever wore before, but their smiles paled to the smile that graced their only daughter's face. In her hand she held the paper that announced her biggest achievement to date, her graduation from high school. For many young adults, this is a normal part of growing up, but Rachel's parents weren't sure they would ever see this day. Rachel was born with autism.
Rachel had always tried hard to do her best, but traditional schools became exceedingly difficult as she grew older. Those schools thwarted the one aspect of her personality that shown above the rest. She was an incredibly creative soul who needed to do things her way. One day, after yet another bad day that saw Rachel in tears and her parents frustrated, someone in their support group suggested they look into a top quality online school that focuses a personalized education.
Skeptical about the merits of online high school, Rachel's parents had nothing to lose. They checked into the school and found it was accredited, so they looked further. Before they were done, they were convinced this might be the best path to take for Rachel. They found many points that seemed made for her.
*Individualized program - Each student is given a program that works with their skills and interests. Rachel was often obsessed with one subject to the exclusion of others and it was possible to tailor all the necessary classes to "fit" with that interest so she could achieve her required education and still maintain interest.
*A variety of teaching methods - Creative minds don't always learn best with traditional instruction methods. With the variety of methods employed at CMA, Rachel could utilize the ones that fit with her liking and not worry about failing to learn all she could.
*Easily accessible teachers - Teachers were available at a schedule that fit with her questions. Besides being able to ask questions during class hours, Rachel could send an email as soon as a question popped up, giving her the opportunity to have all questions answered and not forget about one until it was too late.
*An emphasis on creativity and critical thinking - This fit right in with Rachel's best traits. She wasn't forced to sit and do things like the rest of a class, but could work in a way that was comfortable to her, that enabled her to explore all sides of an issue and to learn the why behind what she was being told was true.
*Personal empowerment and purposeful living emphasised - Each student at CMA-SAS is encouraged to reach their highest potential. Rachel was shown that she had the power to achieve whatever she set her mind to. She learned that she had the ability to make a difference in her world as well as the world at large.
*Works with Rachel's schedule - Rachel felt most alive in the evenings. The online format allowed her to do most of the more difficult work at a time when her mind was most alert and her ability to focus was strongest.
Rachel and her parents hugged. All the years of frustration that came before online school paled as they looked into the proud, smiling face of their daughter. More than them knowing, she knew that the world was hers and she could succeed. What greater lesson for a child is there than self-confidence and a sense of self-worth?