Baxter Wilson-Rul was spending his time in public school frustrated and discouraged. But when he started attending online school at K12 International Academy (iCademy), that all changed.
Baxter has nonverbal autism, which effects his body, mind, and behaviors. While he is an extremely intelligent child, he has a difficult time communicating that.
“For Baxter, his body and mind are out of sync, and he experiences sensory sensitivities,” said Baxter’s mother, Monica Rul. “He has told us through his letter board that his body marches to a different tune than his mind. It is so frustrating to not have control of your body. He has hopes and dreams just like anyone else but is unable to say it with his actual voice.”
In order to communicate his thoughts and feelings, Baxter has been using the Rapid Prompting Method, a teaching method that uses an ABC letter board, since he was 7. Now 12 years old, Baxter has found his voice through this method.
“Rapid Prompting Method has been life-changing for Baxter and countless others who are like Baxter,” Monica said. “He is extremely fluid using it to communicate and demonstrating his high level of intelligence.”
While the letter board was a success for Baxter, his public school was not using the letter board in a way that worked for him, so Baxter switched to online school starting his sixth grade year.
“Every child is unique and he needed one-on-one support in order for him to show his true intelligence,” Monica said. “After a long battle with the public school system, we decided to look at other options, and online school looked like a good fit for him. We enrolled him in K12 International Academy in the fall of 2015 and he has been very happy ever since!”
Online schooling has been a great fit for Baxter. He is able to go at his own pace and work in various areas of his home, which is of great benefit to him.
“Baxter is very active and tends to get up and down a lot when he is working, so being able to attend online school has been the right fit for him,” Monica said. “Baxter is finally getting a full general education, and he loves learning and excels in his studies. He is extremely happy now.”
Since joining iCademy, Baxter has improved immensely. He is now able to sit for longer periods of time and is striving towards his goal of typing.
“His goal is to type and be free from the letter board,” Monica said. “He does type, but it is a slow process for his mind to work with his body, but he is getting better every day and more fluid. He will get there.”
One of Baxter’s favorite aspects of online schooling is being a staff writer for his school newspaper, iGlobe. This gives him the opportunity to express himself and to interact with his teachers and peers.
Baxter’s first article of the school year was titled, “Belief in Independence” and discusses the challenges of being autistic and his journey to finding independence. With the ability to grow with iCademy and his immense amount of improvement, he is on a strong path to gaining that independence.
“Being autistic generates many challenges, heartache and hard chaos ceasing meaning in sense to amend,” Baxter wrote. “There is hope and happiness in my life now inspiring seamless healing with vigorous strength. Primarily, having meaning and purpose delivers less chaos making more learning and peace heading for more growth to live independently.”