Homeschooling Autism And Special Needs:
 Help, Advice And Reassurance

Homeschooling autism and other disabilities can feel daunting so it's great to get reassurance and advice from the largest group of families ever collected together so you can work out how to homeschool in a way that suits your child's individual needs best.

The Courageous Homeschooling Handbook with help and advice about homeschooling with autism.

The Courageous Homeschooling Handbook has real-life stories from families who have transformed their child's lives by homeschooling.

"Homeschooling is the best thing I ever did. My son is 13 and diagnosed with autism. My kids are thriving and happy and I cannot recommend homeschooling enough."

~Jen W., The Courageous Homeschooling Handbook Homeschool Help

Sadly, despite some very good schools and highly committed teachers, overall school can be a thoroughly damaging environment if your child has autism or other special needs.

The stories homeschoolers share of the distress their children have suffered break your heart. Sadly, bullying is always a problem in school and, if your child has special needs, it’s horribly common.

You probably aren't a qualified teacher, so it's a worry that you'll take your child out of school and won't be able to cope. What you need is real-life advice from homeschoolers about the best teaching methods and techniques so you can adapt them to the individual needs of your child.

N.B. The third Courageous Homeschooling Handbook covers how to teach reading, writing and math and is NOT SOLELY about homeschooling autism, but it does have wonderfully helpful reassurance and advice on dealing with challenges like autism, anxiety and dyslexia.

Every child is different so don't expect an A-Z list of suggestions, but the Courageous Homeschooling Handbook will leave you with the conviction that you can do better than school.

Please note that the book links on this page are affiliate links so if you buy I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Part 3


Buy Now button

Part 3


Buy Now button

Part 3


Buy Now button


"All of you who have taken your ASD children out of the school system to let them learn in a more suitable environment: THANK YOU.

Because even as an adult, that environment to me is crippling."

~ Jeni, Courageous Homeschooling Facebook group

  • Find out more about the third Courageous Homeschooling Handbook here
home school quote about the success of homeschooling with autism

Facts About Autism And Education

Here's a couple of facts taken from Ambitious About Autism:

  • 60% of teachers in England do not feel they have had adequate training to teach children with autism
  • Primary school pupils with special educational needs are twice as likely as other children to suffer from persistent bullying

What is Autism?


Let's start by finding out what having an autistic child really means.

There's a brilliant article here which reveals some very important truths like this:

  • “If you have met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”  Every autistic person presents slightly differently.
  • Autism isn’t one condition.  It is a collection of related neurological conditions that are so intertwined and so impossible to pick apart that professionals have stopped trying.

Do read it - it's the best explanation I have ever come across.

If you want to know more about what is autism, there's another good article here.

Stories About Homeschooling Autism

Below are some guest articles about homeschooling autism and other disabilities are by Debbie and Erika Lye. Thank you so much for sharing.

quote marks

Can I just say, I absolutely love this article.  So honest and so striking!  A lovely read!  Very, very well done indeed.

quote marks

~ Simone, Courageous Homeschooling Facebook support group

Homeschooling Stories

"We were the family that had never heard of homeschooling and just blindly believed that sending your children to school was what you had to do." ~ Erika

And so many of us must feel just like Erika; after all school is the place you are meant to send your children to be educated and cared for.

But, especially when it comes to a child with special needs, you may well find that school is NOT the best place for your child.

"Three years ago today we started home education and we have no regrets at all. My daughter is like a different person. I enjoy seeing her thrive, laugh and mature and couldn't be more proud of her determination and achievements.

I cannot wait to see where her journey takes her next."

~ Debbie, Courageous Homeschooling Facebook Group

Debbie's Story

homeschooling with autism

"Today is exactly 1 year to the day that we made the difficult decision to de-register our daughter from school.

My daughter was having upsetting meltdowns in class due to the fact that the schools answer to dealing with her sensory overload was to send her out of lessons for a 2 minute break?? Despite the fact that she would have to return to the classroom chaos.

I tried to communicate with the school, finally spending ages researching the individual teachers email addresses and sending a group email explaining what was going on and the difficulties that my daughter was having. Apart from 2 teachers I never received any other replies.

All this time my daughter was calling me from school crying and distraught, eating her lunch some days in the toilets and was wearing ear muffs in class to try to reduce the noise. Kids were shouting down her ears and calling her weird. She lost weight and cried a lot.

Every day my daughter broke a little more, stopped talking and it broke our hearts.

We tried to encourage our daughter. She went to France with the school for the day but sat alone on the coach (which killed us). Nothing was going to change. Her form was so disruptive, the teacher could not cope. You cannot remove noise from a school and the offer to work in the library alone was ridiculous...How was that different to learning at home alone?

The final straw was when my daughter came bursting out of the school gate one Friday afternoon sobbing and in such a meltdown I could not calm her. She had held in her anxiety and stress for so long during a lesson with kids screaming and drawing on plug sockets that she exploded when she got out.

This was the moment I realized that there was something very wrong. My daughter didn't fit into this system and we sent a letter for her to leave. Don't get me wrong, I was absolutely terrified.  Me, teach, I hated school!

This was by no means the easy route to take but I can honestly say that everyday that my daughter shined a bit brighter or laughed, we got a bit more of our happy daughter back. She loves to learn, socialises with many different age groups and is thriving.

Home education is a taboo subject. We are not school haters and the option for my daughter to return to school in the future remains on the table.

Today my daughter is a very happy girl; she is more confident and part of a horsee riding school.

We are just so glad we were able to spot the signs of her issues and halt any further deterioration.

Happy days now and love learning with my daughter."

~ Debbie

Why Homeschool?

This is what Erika says about what pushed her into teaching her children at home:

"We would be sending them back to the place where they were desperately unhappy and we would be right back to the tears, the
anger and destruction and the Sunday night upset stomachs.  The phone calls from school and the meetings with teachers where I'd come away feeling like the worst mother in the world."

After Erika's son was diagnosed with autism age 8 she had a meeting with her son's teacher.

This is how the teacher responded:

"He's just a naughty little boy who doesn't know how to play nice with others.  Now, if you don't mind, I have a class of 30 other children who need my attention.”

"How her words have echoed in my head ever since.  I don't think they will ever leave me." ~ Erika

  • According to the UK National Autistic Society, 63% of children on the autism spectrum are not in the kind of school their parents believe would best support them
  • The Easter Seals Living with Disabilities Study in the US found only 40% of parents think their adult child with a disability received an education that adequately prepared him/her for life

You can see more facts on this page about home education and autism with Emma's story about teaching her autistic son.

Reasons for Homeschooling Autism

"(When) our third son was born..we all knew he was going to be the most autistic of our three boys...(We had) numerous meetings with professionals discussing what our youngest would need in terms of educational provision (a quiet environment, with one-to-one sensory time frequently throughout the day, highly trained staff in the different therapies) and we started thinking there must be some alternative to school.

You see at this point, our eldest (age 12) was being let down and denied these provisions.  Every single day there was some new problem we were being called to the school for.

We also had our middle son who had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, autism and moderate learning difficulties at age 7 he was being moved to a new school into a bigger learning support class because he was seven.

As you can imagine for a child with communication difficulties who hasn't started talking until he was 6, who had barely begun to know
a few names of the 8 classmates he had had for three years, and despite the fact that children with autism need routine and continuity – he was being expected to cope with this upheaval.

And the state viewed this as the best way of meeting his needs???" ~ Erika

The National Autistic Society sites these reasons parents choose homeschooling:

  • Sensory needs that make a school environment noisy, distracting or even painful
  • Not being able to cope with the social aspects of school life
  • Your child's needs not being recognized or adequately supported at school
  • That you can offer a more appropriate education

For Erika the final straw came when:

"One late September morning my husband finds me having a full blown panic attack because I am terrified of going into my eldest son's bedroom because I honestly didn't know if he was going to still with us.

My beautiful boy, who lives for being helpful, thrives on praise and who just wanted friends, had been making plans to end his life as he just couldn't cope any more.  Age 12 and suicidal – this isn't right."

Does Homeschooling Autism Work?

"Our middle son is now 12 and really coming into his own.  Learning is extremely difficult for him as he struggles with retaining information so we have to repeat things (over-learning) but he switches off if he's done it before so I am always looking for new ways and activities to learn the same thing for him.

Giving him time to be himself, he showed us how to encourage his learning.  Comics have been our breakthrough... Lego, YouTube,
stop-animation he is thriving on...

Our youngest son is nearly 9 – where does the time go?  He is still non-verbal and driven by the need to satisfy his sensory needs.  We have had to privately fundraise for an AAC device to help him communicate which he loves using.

He is like a sponge, he loves learning, taught himself to read.  I always feel like I'm running to catch up with him (literally as well as educationally)!"

"There are often times where I wonder did I make the right choice for the kids?  But when you look back at where I was within the school system, there's just no comparison.

Home schooling is such a blessing." ~ Erika

Benefits of Homeschooling Autism

"Our job is to help our children become as independent as possible.  This is the heart of home schooling with autism.  You won't be around forever and you need to help your child to be as self reliant as possible, even if they can never live independently.

When I was asked by a Doctor how I knew I was doing a good enough job teaching my son I replied:

“Who is more invested in my child's future and success?  An overworked teacher who doesn't have the training or the resources to help my child, or his mother who is devoting her life to that goal?"

Thank you so much Erika for sharing your story about homeschooling autism with us.

"Erika it’s things like this that make me so grateful that we never even started with state schooling. My eldest is now 10 and is a carbon copy of me (we are both autistic) and I am still unpicking and piecing back together the trauma that was my own school experience, with the selective mutism and the anxiety sickness and the “otheredness” feeling among a bunch of other stuff. Knowing he didn’t have to go through all that is a good feeling.

Big love to you, and for giving your children this opportunity!"

~Jeni, Courageous Homeschooling Facebook support group

Useful Websites With Autism Resources

Homeschooling Autism And Other Disabilities

"There are many different challenges you face not only as a parent of a disabled child, but when you are homeschooling autism it brings a whole new set of challenges

You have different goals and needs for your children and that can make you feel out of step with other homeschoolers." ~ Erika

I'm sure that's true.

So I asked my Courageous Homeschooling Facebook group with 4,000 members to come up with thie best suggestions for teaching ideas and tips on homeschooling autism and special needs and put them in the third Courageous Homeschooling Handbook.

You will find ideas like sensory learning, the importance of being flexible, and the pros and cons of screen time.

N.B. The book covers how to teach reading, writing and math and is not solely about homeschooling autism and other disabilites, but it offers vital reassurance, tips and techniques to help you homeschool in the way that works best for your child.

The Courageous Homeschooling Handbook: Homeschool Help with reading, writing, math, dyslexia, anxiety and autism.

Please note that the book links on this page are affiliate links so if you buy I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Part 3


Buy Now button

Part 3


Buy Now button

Part 3


Buy Now button


  • Find out more about the third Courageous Homeschooling Handbook here

Love this page?  Please share it....

blue arrow
free homeschool newsletter

FREE Homeschool Newsletter

"Just had a look through your monthly newsletter focusing on math. Thanks so much for all the links and ideas. It's brilliant!" ~ Diana      

"Hi....I totally love all your posts and enjoy reading them....the kids love the activities and enjoy them through and through." ~ Bianka

18,000 Facebook Fans

Enjoy This Page? Please Share It....

Sonya Chappell

Free Newsletter

Homeschool activities monthly newsletter

Homeschool Secrets of Success

Homeschool Secrets of Success
Amazon review
Learn more

"With the education system failing so many brilliant children it's great to be able to have resources like your website for inspiration, ideas and just a sense of belonging. What you are doing for your children is priceless." ~ Natalija

"I really appreciate your time and effort that goes into your posts... It's nice to see that you are a 2nd generation homeschooler." ~ Teresa

"Your newsletters & book have helped us through our journey.  For that I can only thank you.
Please, please, please keep it up, people like you make our home school life so much easier." ~ Kelly

"I have joined paid sites that were not even one percent as great as this site. Really amazing what you are doing and so so helpful thanks so much!" ~ Eli