Originally aired on KLFY-TV
LAFAYATTE, La. (KLFY) – An Acadiana boy living with Asperger Syndrome is paving the way for a unique style of learning – virtual schooling.
11 year old Ben Vaussine is learning through a webcam, conversing with a microphone, asking questions in the class’ group chat and emailing his homework to teachers. It’s the Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy. Ben’s been enrolled since January and his mom Amanda says so far it’s a been good option.
“It was easier to find a solution where I could school him from home but didn’t necessarily have to do the schooling myself,” Amanda Vaussine said.
Ben has Asperger Syndrome, ADHD and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, making focusing in a regular classroom setting pretty hard.
Those with Asperger Syndome can experience hypersensitivities to lights and sounds and have difficulties with social interactions.
“Whenever we had a fire drill it just annoyed me a lot. It made me really angry because if we were in the middle of a lesson because it’s a drill and we should keep continuing,” Ben Vaussine said.
“With Asperger’s it would set him off. It’s anything out of the ordinary, anything out of routine that really throws him off for the rest of the day,” Amanda Vaussine said.
Virtual school itself is both celebrated and criticized, with educational studies saying online students tend to fall behind. But others say it depends on the student and how they best learn.
Through the Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy, Ben is required to complete 30 hours of schoolwork.
“It’s easy and it’s flexible. There’s no interruptions and I usually get my work done before 2 o’clock,” Ben Vaussine said.
As for his socialization, his mom says it’s a bit of a concern. However he does go to a “blended site” two days a week with other kids in the same program.
“Now that we are doing the charter academy, he is so happy. He’s just got a different style of learning than other kids,” Amanda Vaussine said.
Ben says his favorite subject is science and he hopes to be an engineer one day. Less than 200,000 people are diagnosed with asperger syndrome every year.
As of now Amanda plans to keep ben in online school through high school. Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy is free through the public school system.
To learn more about Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy, visit https://lavca.k12.com/