Hello, everyone. I’d like to address the issue of whether it is best for Asperger’s and other autistic children to be educated in regular schools or if it is better for them to have their own schools. I am no expert, as everyone knows. I’m just a mother of autistic children. If my kids were young today, I would be torn about making that choice.
I have one stepson who is autistic and mentally challenged. He attended a private school for special needs children in elementary and junior high school and then went to a very large public school for high school. While he did benefit when he was young from having like peers and avoiding the harassment many of these children face, I must say that his years in public high school were his happiest. He was in a special needs class, but did attend others classes he was interested in. For example, he is a huge history buff. He loved the history class and the other students were very kind to him. Socially, Jack is very outgoing and friendly and he very much enjoyed the social interaction and the pride of attending a “normal” school.
My son attended private schools for special needs children (some Asperger’s, some with other difficulties), as well as a special needs boarding school. I believe he needed to be in a private environment. He was very sensitive to bullying and being “different” and he didn’t feel that way in those schools. The boarding school was a fabulous experience for him. Like many special needs parents, I think I babied him too much and being away from home for high school with other very high functioning kids really raised the bar for him and made him perform at a much higher level.
So, I guess I’d have to say that the selection of a school is unique to the child. I would be concerned, if faced with the choice today, about advocating unilaterally for an “all-Asperger’s” school. My view is that our kids will have to interact with the world one day and the more exposure they have to it, the better. I do believe that they are better equipped emotionally to handle it as young adults of, say, high school age. It is so hard to walk that fine line.