What About Unschooling Kids with Special Needs

Unschooling Q & A - Unschoolers with Special Needs

Question:

Does a child with special needs do ok with unschooling?

What if you have a lot of fears about not providing what they need?
So much time was spent fighting for their IEPs - if I walk away and return, we'd have to start those battles all over again.

Answer:

My personal opinion is that school is not the best place for kids.
And that’s even more so for kids with special needs.

So often, families discover a much calmer home life once they’ve removed school from the equation. School environments with stress and pressure can actually create some "school-induced problems... and those fade away or are at least minimized when children aren't in that setting anymore.

Sometimes you have to weigh out the pros and cons for walking away from a bad situation. Yes, if the kids have to return, the IEP process may have to start over. But you will have bought them a little reprieve. And maybe when fear isn't clouding your judgement, you can see more advantages to walking away.

How do people overcome their personal fears? They do the internal work. They read and learn about how it all works. They stop making choices out of fear and begin to make them out of good information. It seems to be a fact of life that good parents are always second-guessing themselves about the decisions they make. Every step we take doesn't have to be perfectly planned out. We'd make so little progress if we operated like this! Sometimes we have to gather as much data as we can, and then wade out into the water. Yes, we'll make mistakes. But becoming more knowledgeable and gathering the support that will help you - that will allow you to pivot and make whatever changes are necessary.

This UM2M website is full of unschooling and deschooling info. It’s work to read, watch, listen to - but it will stop so much of the anxiety and wasted time on your second-guessing.

​Unschooling Every Family:

Embracing Neurodivergent and Disabled Learners

The Unschooling Special Needs group has a lot of members who can speak to specific issues.
They've had a name change (though their URL remains the same.
All are welcome!​

Unschooling Special Needs Facebook Cover Photo
Unschooling Special Needs - Facebook Group
Questions pop up frequently about unschooling kids with Special Needs. Obviously, this encompasses many different areas.
But I want to make sure you have access to the resources you're looking for.
In the Unschooling Mom2Mom Facebook Group, we have been answering questions since 2014. You can use the search box to find past conversation threads and resources that unschoolers have been sharing with each other. If you're feeling isolated, seeing all the other families facing similar challenges may be the reassurance you're looking for!


You're definitely not alone! 

I think unschooling is IDEAL for kids with special needs because they don't have to endure the constant comparison with neurotypical kids.
“Age Appropriate” can be tossed out the window. They can have their own strengths honored and parents can meet them where they really are...helping them grow and develop at the pace that fits them.
I think parents get coerced into thinking that only schools can provide the specialized care. But it may not even be the case.
Some symptoms – if they were brought about or exacerbated by anxiety – are diminished when a child leaves the school setting.
It can have such a demoralizing negative impact on children with special needs.

Another resource:

I Am What I Am by Anne Ohman

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