For those strongly entrenched in ABA or OG, or other methodologies, it is unconventional. Most of the conventional approaches are focused on changing who the child is to create a certain behavioral pattern that is consistent with neurotypical thinking. When we have children who learn different, think differently, are wired differently, and OUR focus as parents is on recognizing and embracing who that child is and helping them as they are, then unschooling fits perfectly.Shannon Stoltz
The focus becomes on who our children are their strengths, and how they learn best, and on their timeline. That is unconventional. Yet, when you read or listen to those who are austic, who are dyslexic, who are adhd, or whatever the learning differences or “special needs” are, the message is consistent. Acceptance for who they are, strengths celebrated, lives lived. In the autism world, Danny’s Asperger Experts, Rupert Issacson’s Horse Boy and New Trails Learning (Movement method), and even to an extent Temple Grandin, all focus on the person. Which is consistent with unschooling. In the dyslexia world, the authors who are dyslexic talk about their strengths… which is consistent. If we look at accommodations offered in school for specific learning differences, in an unschooling framework, those are not accommodations, they are just life. they are just part of how our children learn, how they embrace and do life.
One of the biggest concerns many parents have when learning about Unschooling is whether or not it “works” for neurodivergent children. Schools have often focused on early, intensive, and specific “intervention” as the only way for these children to learn. However, generations of Unschoolers, homeschoolers, and others outside the traditional school paradigm have shown that this isn’t true.
Additionally grown Autistics, Dyslexics, & other neurodivergents are now communicating what worked, what didn’t, and offering insight. We work to elevate their voices as much as possible as they are the true experts.
We will Identity-First language but are aware that some prefer Person-First and always encourage being respectful of an individual’s preferences on how to address or describe them. (for more information we found this article from ASAN to be helpful.)
Note: External links are provided for information purposes only, Texas Unschoolers does not endorse, recommend, or make any representations about any products advertised/linked on those sites.
Here are some helpful resources discussing the broad topic of neurodivergence.
Note: We recognize that the language and terminology varies when discussing these topics. Some terms are no longer used or are rejected by members of specific communities. We try take our queue from their preferences and are attempting to be as respectful as possible.
Unschooling Kids with Special Needs page on Unschooling Mom2Mom
Neurodiversity and Self Directed Learning with Naomi Fisher podcast by Rogue Learner
Resources for specific topics/diagnosis