Montessori education for autism

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

Four major factors have been critical to my son’s remarkable improvement.  First, we refused to place him in a public school setting, with its limited expectations for ASD children.  Second, we  unilaterally created an intensive individualized ABA program at home which restored critical pivotal skills.  Third, we gradually discontinued that program in due time to avoid over-reliance or dependency on ABA-based learning.  Fourth, we then intuitively steered towards a so-called “constructivist” (or “microdevelopmental”) approach to education without knowing either the concept or its scientific basis.  (Note that Maria Montessori was one of the principal contributors to constructivism.)  However, we felt that learning through didactic lectures based on an rigid curriculum would not address our son’s needs.  His skills were too scattered and uneven, and his language still too impaired to succeed in a traditional school with predominantly language-based instruction.  This is how we arrived at the Montessori educational approach.

It was noted in one of my son’s progress reports that he has become “indistinguishable from his classmates” in his Montessori school.  Whereas the parents of typical children want them to stand out, the parents of children with disabilities dream about them being indistinguishable.  I will be forever grateful for the educational approach that has made it possible for him to be “indistinguishable”, and yet unique.


  1. Thank you for sharing your story! My 7 year-old daughter was diagnosed with ASD a year ago and just started at a wonderful Montessori school this fall. I agree that this seems to be the best educational fit for her and she is thriving! I would love to see more Montessori schools, particularly public or Charter, so that a Montessori education could be available for every kid that needs it. Thanks for being part of the solution!

  2. Thanks for sharing your journey. After a year in a public preschool inclusion classroom, we are ready to move on and I’ve wanted to pursue Montessori since before our son was dx. Your dedication and determination are both admirable and a little intimidating (I’m exhausted for you!). I’d love to see Montessori and ABA come together in a way that makes the plan you executed more accessible to everyone — but I fully intend to carve out our own path pulling every resource I can muscle. Thank you for confirming what I’ve long felt in my gut. Would love to connect with you moving forward.

  3. I have enjoyed reading about your journey. I am on a similar path. I am a Montessori Teacher educating my son at home, with Montessori philosophy at my back. Thank you for sharing your insights. I look forward to more.

  4. Your story and entire site is simply amazing. What you have accomplished is awe-inspiring and such a testimony to the much needed reforms in our entire educational system.

  5. Vera,
    The image at the top of the Arduous Journey page says it all. The courage, determination and above all, love, you have for your son shines through the pages of this wonderful web site like a beacon. The site will, in turn, illuminate a much needed alternate path for others, facing a similar situation with their children, to follow.
    Derek Perkins

  6. Your story gives me hope. Mother of an almost 6 year old, struggling with appropriate placement. I am so proud of your family and your son. May your voyage of the past and to come pave the relization that your life had a true purpose.

  7. Indeed it is a great progress and it is good to see that he is going stronger and progressing day-by-day. The best part is sharing your best and worst experience with the world so people can learn from your experiences.

    God Bless him and your family, wish you all the best 🙂

  8. So proud to have been just a small part of this boy’s path to success! He made so many strides during his first year at Montessori, I can’t even begin to name them all. I love that smile, and your family is incredible.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *