Virtual classrooms helps Michigan students with autism who struggle in traditional schools

Students can do schoolwork anywhere that has WiFi

DETROIT – For students with autism who struggle in traditional schools, virtual classrooms may be the solution.

Chantelle Buckner said she was getting calls from teachers regarding her son, Kaleb, 10, almost daily.

"They were calling me saying, 'Oh, he is under the desk, he just took off running up the hallway,' and I'm like, 'You are all the professionals. Why are you calling me?'" Buckner said.

Kaleb's teachers said he wasn't paying attention, he was missing pertinent information and was falling asleep in class, so Buckner started searching for alternatives and read about students with autism who had success in virtual classrooms.

"Virtual school is s school where you could do school anywhere. You can do school in the park, you can do school at the library, you can do school at the McDonalds. As long as you have WiFi you can do school," she said.

When Kaleb was in fifth grade, Buckner enrolled him into Highpoint Virtual Academy, an online public school where the classes are set up similar to a Skype call between teachers and students from across Michigan.

Kaleb has lessons, then time to do his work. Because it's all done from home, Buckner is there to help him. She said it also reduces the amount of stress on her son.

"They sent the books, they sent microscopes for science, they sent clay for art; they sent everything that we needed," Buckner said. "All he has to do is log on the computer, click on 'class,' connect and he's in class."

Kaleb is doing well in all of his classes and has improved socially.

"I would say to any mother that's struggling with someone else teaching your children the right way to seek alternate schooling. Don't accept what they say at the brick and mortar," Buckner said.

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