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Does it matter if you're smarter than a 5th grader?

autism parenting education positive mindset Sep 28, 2021

Remember the game show, Are you smarter than a 5th grader? Adult contestants attempted to answer elementary school questions with hilariously bad results. 

For me, the show really drove home the point that adults don’t use most of what they learned in school. When was the last time you multiplied or divided fractions, or solved 3x = y at work or, like, ever? 

This fact of life should comfort special needs parents as they try to plan out a meaningful life for autistic children on the severe end of the spectrum. Last week, during our weekly Q&A with Mr. Sims Zoom meeting for Nonverbal Autism Homeschool families, Mr. Sims dropped a truth bomb.

If your student makes just four months worth of progress each year, that equals a 6th grade education. And a 6th grade education opens up a world of opportunities.

No, Mr. Sims explained, they’re not going to be a brain surgeon, but if they can work with fractions and decimals (5th grade standards) they can work at a family business, complete mainstream work training programs or learn a trade. That leads to even more opportunities for independence and fulfillment.

It can be discouraging when your student falls further and further behind their peers, but it’s not the end of the world. Yes, a college degrees opens the door to many high paid careers, but it’s not the only door of opportunity. Success takes many forms.

Even just a 5th or 6th grade education could give your student the tools they need to live productive, fulfilling lives. Isn't that everything a parent wants for their child?

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