School of Behavioral Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
twice-exceptional, 2e, twice-exceptional autism, Autism, homeschooling, exceptional student services, special education, public school system
Educational Psychology | Psychology
Hartman, Tiffany Brook, "Twice-Exceptional Autism and Home Education: A Phenomenological Analysis" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4488.
It is common for autistic and particularly twice-exceptional (2e) children to be schooled from home at a higher rate than their neurotypical peers. Much of the current research investigating this phenomenon is conducted from the perspective of the public school system. This point of view is generally critical of the curriculum taught in the home, has largely limited parental voices in the literature, and overlooks possible circumstances in the public school system that might have led families to choose to homeschool. This qualitative analysis conducted open-ended interviews of parents with twice-exceptional autistic children who have home-educated or currently educate their children at home. It explored parents’ reasons for choosing to homeschool, and it gathered insight into their experiences as they transitioned from public schooling to the home environment. The data indicated two theories. The first was that parents tend to choose to homeschool their 2e, autistic children because the public schools are in some way not meeting their needs. The second theory was that transitions to homeschool were positive in some households and challenging in others. Those experiencing positive transitions likely benefitted from self-directed learning, one-on-one time, and fewer distractions of home education. Families who experienced difficulty typically had schedule conflicts (such as working parents), and parent burnout. Implications of this study may inform public schools of the under-served 2e population and encourage better accommodations for the students. This cannot be done, however, unless the students are evaluated, and their autism is recognized.