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Why Autistic Students Thrive in Online High School

20 Oct

Why Autistic Students Thrive in Online High School

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Jordan had trouble concentrating in school. It wasn’t his learning comprehension skills, but it was everything else. The noise in the hallway of lockers clanking shut, children talking loudly in the lunchroom, and the unbearable noise of the school bell ringing through the day distracted him from what he loved doing most. He loved to learn. Math and science were his favorite subjects, but sometimes he just could not focus.

This made Jordan reluctant to go to school in the mornings. And it wasn’t just the noise. His classmates most times did not want him as their partner for classroom projects. And during elementary school he had to deal with bullying almost every day.

His mom Kathleen didn’t know what to do. She wanted Jordan to attend a public school -- mostly so he could have an education, but also to make friends and be with students his own age. When he was younger, school was easier. But as he went into junior high, that’s when things got tougher.

ASD Does Not Prevent Opportunity

Kathleen felt that Jordan’s ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder need not prohibit him from having a full life. And, basically it had not. But she felt that she needed options for high school, something that would foster a good learning environment, and at the same time have a social component to it. She understood that a traditional high school curriculum and all that went with it wouldn’t be best for Jordan.

ASD Diagnosis Increasing

One in sixty-eight children in the United States have ASD. Boys are more prone to this disorder than girls. There are several forms of ASD, a complex brain disorder. The medical community believes that improved diagnosis and environment influences are partial reasons this disorder is expected to grow ten-fold over the next few decades. This means that it’s critical not only to improve medical care, but to improve ASD children’s opportunities in education and other life skills.

Learning in Online School

The state Kathleen lived in recently introduced part-time online high school learning for high school students. Kathleen immediately enrolled Jordan into the online school program.

It worked for several reasons:

  • There were no set hours. Students learn at a pace they are comfortable with. Most live classroom sessions are recorded, so students can listen to them whenever they need to.
  • Social interaction is promoted with among students via online. This became a non-threatening way for social connections. Not all interaction is via the Internet as periodic class trips are planned.
  • External distractions are at a minimum. Learning is fun and interactive. The danger of bullying or being made to feel awkward is eliminated.
  • Unexpected moments of heighten anxiety, anxiousness, illness, or a restless night doesn’t interfere with the learning process. This helps both the parent and the child. It removes the stress of adhering to a specific schedule.

Life on a daily basis can be unpredictable and challenging. Having positive variables for learning helps give children the support they need to succeed.