Child with Asperger's and education: specifically online courses.

Hi all.

I'm the father of a child with ASD (diagnosed as Asperger's). I'll maybe do a full introduction on the other section of forum but I was wondering if there is any advice on online courses for children (in my own childs case sports science)?

Just a little detail: She's 15 and is currently on 150mg of Seretraline (for the past 2/3 years) with Melotonin to help her get to sleep at night. This perhaps isn't ideal long term but for the time being it needs to be carriedf forward.  She was seen by health care professionals around the end of year 6 primary and eventually given the Asperger's diagnosis.  Always popular at primary school and high achieving but as she hit high school/puberty her anxities were fully heightened. 

She's been a school refuser since the first week of high school (Year 7) but she's now in year 10, She had a couple of years in a hospital school for chilren similar to her but by year 10 she wanted a fresh start and to try mainstream again. She was pretty much mute at this school (despite being very vocal at home with the family). This got off to a good start and at one stage the school were looking to help with the addition of TA (she has EHCP).  However, a few weeks in her anxiety levels kicked back in and once again she could't manage school (pretty heartbreaking to see).

However, over the past few months she's joined a local gym and has become (and I don't write this lightly) transformed.  She's gone from a diet of junk food and cans of coke (as a family we're healthy eaters generally but this was a battle we could'nt fight at the time) to eating highly nutritious and healthy food.  She's cut out all junk food (even at the weekend) and doesn't have sweets or any form of fizzy drinks.  She's at the gym (with me!) every evening and has researched everything about training and exercise and nutrition.  Her confidence has grown in strides (she has no fear of training in the male dominated weights room) and her body in turn is in very good shape.  She used to be a very good swimmer and was picked by the Manchester swim team to train with them, but this was around the time her anxities kicked in and she unfortunatey she had to cease doing the sport.

With all in this in mind she feels strongly about pursuing a career in sports science and nutrition.  I've had a look a few online course and also college courses for the future, but acutely aware she hasn't been in school for the past four years and many of these require qualfications. She has the EHCP so could be funded for a course (I've signed up to the InterHigh schooling curriculum).

I guess I'm looking for a bit of guidance for the next stages.  She's considering core subjects (online) but is very keen on the sports science career path.  She has the benefit of having lived through all this but she's a bright kld and has a skill for self learning.

I've probably left a fair bit of details out here (and a raft of spelling/grammar auto spell on this forum! :) ) so apologies in advance!

Kind regards.

  • In your research, did you check out the Open University? I didn't know this (and I was quite surprised!) but they offer diplomas, certificates, and even a BSc in Sport and Fitness. I don't know if the module content would fit exactly what your daughter might be aiming for, but the OU is a great way to get back into education without prior qualifications because no prior qualifications are required to enroll on OU undergraduate courses. Further, as a means of preparation, they also offer courses called 'Optional access modules' which are usually around GCSE/A-Level short courses and can be done part time. In fact, the whole degree could be completed part time while she searches for practical part-time opportunities to build up experience.

    As you might have gathered, I am a huge fan of the OU - I enrolled in a Physics degree at the OU with only a GCSE Grade E in Mathematics to my name, got a first-class degree, and now want to go back to study their MSc in Mathematics! If she is enthusiastic, it could be the perfect route.

  • Hi there,

    As someone who has Aspergers myself I can say that going online can be good but also bad (depending on what you want to do). I use a website called Udemy for my online courses (3D Animation, Coding and a few others) and has a vast range of different courses. They have periodic sales on which lowers the cost of courses from being in the hundreds to being, at max, 50 bucks (the 50 is in Australian dollars as I live in Australia, don't know how much it will be for you but it should be around the same price range). Here is a link to Health and Fitness courses on Udemy if you would like to have a look.

    As Flont also mentioned, Open University is a good idea as well. I don't use it myself (not at that level of education unfortunately) but they might have the course/s you are looking for for your kid. 


  • Hi there,

    I have done an online course through Future Learn in the past - the courses are free (you can also pay to get unlimited access to courses and certification once completed).  It might be a way of your daughter testing out if this sort of learning is for her.  This course might be of interest for example:

  • Brilliant - many thanks - we'll look at that link over the weekend too (just had a quick scan and it looks very much the kind of thing she would be very interested in).


  • Hello, if there is sport your daughter particularly likes, she might be able to qualify as an instructor in that sport.  The coaching badges can be acquired in stages and it's not a full time education.

    My nephew is now at university but from 16 to 18 this is what he did, and it started from being both talented and single minded about his sport. It also helped him mature and be ready to make the bigger decision at 19. 

  • Thanks - she's massively into powerlifting now, She's just joined the British Powerlifting Association and is absolutely single minded about this (as she is with everything she turns her head too). Definitely focusing on sports science and nutrition but is considering becoming a PT when she can too.  Remarkble turn around considering she was mute at the hospital school she went too.
    Then again, a few years ago when she as 12 she gave a speech in church about her Grandmother at a funeral!


  • Carly Jones (MBE) homeschools her autistic children so she may be able to help - @CarlyJonesMBE

    Many local training providers run short sports courses inc PT qualifications

    If she wants a career in sports science many degree courses wouldn't take her without a science background. A quick look on UCAS has revealed she'd need to go to a bricks and mortar uni to achieve this qual, so its going to be key to build her up to cope with these environments 

  • Your end comment reminded me of something!

    I didnt start talking until 3 yrs old...And when i began, it wasnt one was a full sentence.

    There maybe was some cognitive delay, but it seems on my part, that a majority of the delay was down to selective mutism !

  • Thank you - another good avenue for us to pursue.  I'll have a look at @CarlyJonesMBE and maybe commence some dialogue.
    Good advice re local training providers too - I'll have a search around.

    I do hope she's eventually strong enough to attend a full universirty as I think that might be what is required of her.

    Thanks again!