Homeschooling Teens with Autism, Interview with Penny Rogers

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Homeschooling Teens with Autism, Interview with Penny Rogers.

Homeschooling Teens with Autism, Interview with Penny Rogers

Homeschooling Teens with Autism, Interview with Penny Rogers

Vicki was so excited for this episode. She has been a long time that she has been trying to connect with Penny Rogers, who is another of our friends from our beloved 2:1 Conference. Penny is an autism advocate, speaker, resource expert and founder of the popular website Our Crazy Adventures in Autism Land.

Penny lives with her husband and two children in southern Arizona (just twenty minutes from the Mexican border). She has been homeschooling for many, many years. Her son, Logan (who has autism), and her daughter have both graduated from homeschooling. However, Penny has been homeschooling her nieces and nephews for years and has graduated one of them. She has years ahead of her since the younger ones are in middle school and elementary school. SO, Penny knows homeschooling…and she knows homeschooling teens with autism.

Logan went to school through second grade. During that year, Penny’s husband looked at her one evening and said, “you are spending so much time making sure the school is adhering to Logan’s IEP! You might as well bring him home and teach him yourself. It will make your life easier!”

Penny thought about it and agreed. So, at the end of second grade, she brought him home for homeschooling. He education for the first two years of homeschooling mostly involved therapies and getting to know each other in the new format. By the time Penny’s daughter started kindergarten, he was ready for more rigorous academics. He truly blossomed academically from then through graduation.

Here is advice that Penny gives families who are homeschooling teens with autism

Penny is frequently giving advice for handling homeschooling and autism through personal interactions, speaking and her website. Here are some things she shares:

If you are bringing your child or teen home from traditional school, give them a year to “de-school”

Kids or teens with autism often have many bad episodic memories about school. It takes time for them to learn that homeschooling is not traumatic like traditional school can be. So relax and help them learn about themselves and have positive experiences for a while.

Find out their developmental age

Many young people with autism might be adolescents by age but developmentally much younger.

Discover their academic level

Many children with special needs have academic and ability gaps. In Logan’s case, he needed time to catch up. Therefore, when his sister started homeschooling kindergarten, Logan did kindergarten with her. However, as the gaps were filled, he soon jumped ahead academically. Remember: Work at their level!

Help them discover that you have something to teach him that he wants to know

Sometimes teens with autism have rigid thinking. When they started homeschooling, Penny’s son was concerned that his mother was not a “teacher”, so she couldn’t homeschool him. Over time their deschooling time, Penny helped him learn that she had something to offer, even if she was not a “real teacher”. Some of the educational activities they did in order for him to learn that she indeed, had something to offer.

Here are some of their educational activities:

  • Cooking together
  • Going for walks and sharing about nature topics
  • Playing games

This is called the “Master/Apprentice” model of education. Penny learned this when she got training in Relationship Intervention Therapy to help her son.

Remember you can think out of the box for courses and credits for your special needs teen.

In adolescence, be mindful of the mismatch between the teen’s developmental age and their physiological changes

Because their bodies are changing, you need to be able to talk to your teens about what they are experiencing. However, you do this little at a time (Penny calls this “scaffolding”.)

Practice patience, patience, patience

Adolescence is difficult for most teens. However, teens with autism tend to need even more support because they will sometime struggle with challenging experiences such as:

  • Challenges with mood management (along with occasional aggression)
  • Feeling like they have no friends

Remember: Behavior is communication

If a teen becomes aggressive, they are trying to communicate something. (They may be in pain or feeling frustrated.) So if your teen has behavior issues, look for the triggers.

Remember: Relationship trumps academics. - Penny Rogers

Also, keep in mind: Relationship trumps academics

Penny’s relationship is more important than a frustrating academic moment. If things get tense, put the books away for now and concentrate on the relationship. Because, in the end, your teen will graduate from homeschooling high school. When they graduate you will want to still have a positive relationship with them.

(This reminds Vicki of our friend, Melanie Wilson of Homeschool Sanity Podcast’s saying: Relationship over rules!)

How to keep the positive relationship going while homeschooling teens with autism

On tough days practice: “Autism Rising Day”. It is a code word for “my teen is having a tough day”. On those days, text or let the family know that it is an Autism Rising Day. This means put away the books and concentrate on figuring out what is going on to stress your teen with autism.

Be willing to push them out of their comfort zone but always bring them back

Stretching their ability to try new things or handling stress is an important life skill. However, give them time to rest and compensate for the stress after the stressor.

Tailor high school to their goals for after high school

Talk gently about goals with your teen. Gradually work on exploring and defining those goals. Then build their curriculum and credits to develop those goals. For instance, Penny’s son was interested in herpetology. Therefore they developed courses to explore those interests, as well as finding courses that generally built scaffolding for those interest (all the Sciences and Maths, which he loved).

Penny developed an “Autism Action Plan” to help teens learn to set and develop goals. This plan helps teens set a:

  • Ten-year goal
  • Five-year goal
  • and One -year goal

You can find the Autism Action Plan on her website.

Use tools and compensations for their high school courses

For instance:

  • Penny’s son is a visual learner, so he enjoyed watching some of his classes online
  • They used Google Doc’s speech to text for writing papers

Are you preparing to homeschool a teen with autism?

Penny is a consultant who has worked with many families with autism. She works to help families go through their own autism land with encouragement, hope and frugality.

  • She helps with therapies
  • Not only that, she helps manage the financial challenges of helping teens with autism

Also check out her Special Needs Homeschooling Facebook group.

Join Vicki and Penny for an encouraging chat about homeschooling teens with autism.


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Homeschooling Special Needs 911

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Have you been considering home schooling your child who has been struggling academically or is labeled with ADD, ADHD, Autism, Auditory Processing Disorder or dyslexia? Special Needs Homeschool 911Do you find that your child with unique learning needs has been happy-go-lucky all summer while the pressure of school has been off?  Are you seeing that now the closer to the start of school you come, the more anxious the child is?  Have you been considering home schooling your child who has been struggling academically or is labeled with ADD, ADHD, Autism, Auditory Processing Disorder or dyslexia?  Or, are you just wondering if you have the knowledge to continue home schooling a special needs child? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, this podcast is for you.

You can look forward in this podcast to some interesting information about the purpose of education.  Dr. Jan will encourage you to write your personal goals for the education of your child.  What is really important?  Actually, that is a question all home school educators need to answer.  When you realize what is really important, the stress for you can be reduced, and you won’t be tossed by the wind of the next new curriculum or the next great suggestion from a friend.

The NeuroDevelopmental Approach for Life really does take the guesswork out of your quest to educate your children.  The better the brain functions, the easier life and learning can be.  You might ask, “But aren’t we just born with all the brain power we are going to get, and you just have to work with what you have?”  For many years, educators echoed that understanding, but NeuroDevelopmentalists have known for over 65 years that the brain has plasticity.  This unique feature of the brain, allows it to change with the right kind of stimulation.  Learn how to release your children’s full potential with this and other Brain Coach Tips.

What is CEASE Therapy?

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

What is CEASE Therapy? with Sue Meyer from Homeopathy for MommiesIn this episode, Sue Meyer talks about the CEASE Therapy,  which stands for Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression.  The treatment of autistic children and even adults has become very common place in the homeopathic world, and is called CEASE Therapy. Step by step all causative factors (vaccines, regular medication, environmental toxic exposures, effects of illness, etc.) are detoxified with the homeopathically prepared, that is diluted and potentized substances, that caused the autism.  Yes, a very effective way to treat autism with amazing results!

Sue has recently been awarded her CEASE Therapist Certificate and is very excited to share her experiences.

Tune in to listen to this podcast to learn about this fascinating therapy that is helping so many.

Download Sue’s Notes Here!






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Autism Solutions

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Autism SolutionsThe label of autism can strike fear in the heart of any parent.  One of the most confusing aspects of autism is how the level of functional ability can vary to the extremes. This wide array of the effects has caused people to refer to this as a “spectrum disorder” or refer the individual as being on the Autism Spectrum.

If you are anything like I was when I found out my child was developmentally delayed and had a low IQ, you just want to know how to help your autistic child function better. That was my prayer, “how do I help Jenee’ function better, to unlock her fullest potential and not just accept a label as a “life sentence” of the possibilities for her future?” That prayer brought me to The NeuroDevelopmental Approach.  This approach looks for the root causes of the symptoms of any label.  It equips the parents with a plan of activities to address those root causes at home. The result is that the symptoms diminish and sometime fully disappear. 

Autism is a multi-faceted diagnosis that included such symptoms as processing delays and sensory integration dysfunction, as well as metabolic (chemistry of the body) root causes and more.  This podcast will give an overview of these issues and direct you to resources and information to both inspire and equip you to create positive change for the individual in your life that may be on the autism spectrum.  The good news is that it is never too late to help to change a person’s functional ability.

Don’t miss the handout attached here with key points from the podcast and links to pertinent resources and discounts.

MBFLP 103 – Special Needs Homeschooling – Hope and Help!

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.


MBFLP Special Needs HomeschoolingWe think homeschooling is a great choice for nearly everybody, but what about a family with special needs? Should an “uncertified” parent even think about teaching a special child? Or can they not only succeed but excel at home educating a student with health issues, or developmental delays, or academic gifts, or sensory processing challenges? Our special guests are Chris and Heather Laurie of Special Needs Homeschooling – they’re doing just that, and has a message of practical help and God-centered hope for families with special situations!