Homeschooling with Autism: Taking Care of Sensory Needs

Let’s talk about what you originally pictured when you began homeschooling. A vision of children sitting quietly at the table to get their lessons done .  Everyone can stop laughing now.  That doesn’t happen in any house , autism or not. Sometimes I think it’s harder to get Madison,  my typical child to sit still than it is to get her brother with autism to do it.  I employ all these tactics with her when I need her to sit long enough to do a lesson.

Most likely you have a kinesthetic learner.  It seems to be the nature of the autism beast.  Highly visual , hands on lessons will be best.  Most learning will take place during activities not on worksheets.  But there are times when you need the child to sit and do something. It behooves you to take their sensory needs in to account first.  Once their sensory needs are met, their brain can focus on the task at hand.

  • Send him outside to jump on the trampoline or swing on the swing set . 
  • Dance around the living room for a few minutes
  • Let him sit on a giant exercise ball instead of a chair.
  • Give him something to fidget with while you talk.  Just because the child is not looking at you doesn’t mean he isn’t listening.

Hopefully those ideas will help you when you need to get the child to sit down.  I might mention that when we first started homeschooling Logan, we did not require him to sit for more than a few minutes at a time. When I saw his frustration levels rise, we were done regardless  of whether the lesson was finished or not.  We would come back to the lesson later when we were able.  We took the same approach for Madison. That’s the beauty of homeschooling.  You can take as many sensory breaks as you need.  Eventually both of them  were  able to sit longer periods of time and the sensory breaks lessened.  Part of it for Logan was his needs decreased as they were consistently met and the brain made new connections.  Part of it for both of them were  that they  trusted me to stop and give a break when needed. They are  willing to try and stick it out to the end.  Don’t underestimate this trust factor. Once established it will take you a long way in your homeschool journey with your child..


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Penny Rogers
Just a Florida homeschooling mom attempting to navigate autismland with my teenage son with autism and the rest of my goofy family. We love Jesus and live gluten free . One kid with celiac and one gluten free for his autism. We utilize the Charlotte Mason approach mixed with lots of field trips as well as jaunts to Walt Disney World. Just sharing my adventures to make you feel better about your family and maybe learn a thing or two that helps !
Penny Rogers

Penny Rogers

Just a Florida homeschooling mom attempting to navigate autismland with my teenage son with autism and the rest of my goofy family. We love Jesus and live gluten free . One kid with celiac and one gluten free for his autism. We utilize the Charlotte Mason approach mixed with lots of field trips as well as jaunts to Walt Disney World. Just sharing my adventures to make you feel better about your family and maybe learn a thing or two that helps !

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