Boarding Schools for Students with Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome is a form of high-functioning autism characterized by severe social deficits. "Aspies" cannot read faces for emotions or tell what others are feeling. They might seem to be in their own world or focused only on what interests them. They obsess about one topic of interest at the detriment of other pursuits.

Although Aspies are of average to above-average intelligence, the majority (over 80%) never grow up to become functioning independent adults. However, new research and methods are improving the outlook for Aspies. Early and intense intervention starting in preschool is helping many Aspies approach normal functioning by their teenage years.

Some therapeutic boarding schools specialize only in Asperger Syndrome. However, it is more typical is for a school to enroll "Aspies" along with children with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder.

PROS
A good boarding school with specialization in Asperger's Syndrome offers intense therapy in social skills. Therapists will work one-on-one to help an Aspie learn to understand and better communicate with others. They will understand the Aspie's need to be protected from bullies, preoccupation with a pet subject, difficulty making transitions, sensitivity to noise and touch, and other symptoms.

Most parents of Aspies have spent years protecting their child, who is often naïve and vulnerable. A year or so at boarding school can help the Aspie learn to function more independently. It also gives the parents a break from driving to and from therapists, keeping the student with Asperger's on track at school, neglecting siblings and spouses.

A boarding school specializing in Asperger Syndrome will use the latest equipment often unavailable in public schools, including sensory integration tools, "social story" materials, software to help the Aspie organize schoolwork, etc. Academics are often superior with small class sizes.

The school's cafeteria should offer foods that do not trigger Aspie symptoms; there should be supervision of the child's prescriptions and other medical needs.

CONS
Aspies should not be placed with children who have severe psychiatric problems.

It can be hard to find a boarding school near your home. The cost is high, although many have financial aid. Sometimes your public school district will make up some of the cost of boarding school.

Most parents wait too long to use a boarding school placement for their Aspies and then the results are less than satisfactory.

Research Boarding Schools for Students with Asperger's Syndrome

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