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Melissa Sinclair
10-21-2015, 04:29 PM
Not all children with autism are the same, but perhaps some of you who deal with similar situations can help me.

I'm new to all of this and my son is actually still in the public school, but we will be pulling him out as it's just not working. Biggest issue is his language processing. He "reads", but he memorizes chunks to digest, I think. So, small chunks are visual images in his head that he then analyzes for meaning. This is fine for small chunks, but not good for long conversations, lectures, reading novels. In school, they try to use normal methods of teaching and he is refusing to participate because he simply cannot. He learns by watching and listening - and sometimes repeatedly. How do I approach homeschooling in that very, VERY visual way?

He spells perfectly as that is a picture in his head. He knows grammar rules perfectly. It's taking a story or a conversation and being able to grasp the point of the words that he doesn't understand. He wouldn't be able to retell a story in his own words either. Suggestions of where to even start looking for curricula that would match his learning style?

He knows all the words. He can read anything. UNDERSTANDING the context is where he gets lost and he's extremely resistant to trying to read - especially big chunks of words on a page. That freaks him out completely.

alexsmom
10-21-2015, 05:27 PM
Welcome!
Im sorry I cant help with specific curriculum matches. Hopefully some others will be able to.
Have you thought of not looking for curriculum, but just visual resources? Eclectic homeschoolers are often on the quest for the perfect curriculum, designed specifically for our kid by masters of the subject area and pedagogy. Pretty darn rare.
I like supplementing with videos, and have found for history, especially, that there are far more videos (free, on pbs or similar) than we could ever watch for a given subject. Can you distill the concepts you want your son to learn, have him learn them through videos, and find a way to express his understanding of the topic?
We are studying US history now, and to be honest, we are getting better retention from the videos than from reading the text and discussing. The concepts I want DS to remember are getting through to him in the documentaries and movies (need movies thrown in for explosions and action sequences.... only so much adults yapping can be taken).

I would treat the learning two different ways: 1) the knowledge of the world you want him to have, and 2) developing the skill to parse knowledge out of printed material.
No sense killing his interest in #1 by forcing him to cope with language processing #2.

Melissa Sinclair
10-21-2015, 06:13 PM
Welcome!
Im sorry I cant help with specific curriculum matches. Hopefully some others will be able to.
Have you thought of not looking for curriculum, but just visual resources? Eclectic homeschoolers are often on the quest for the perfect curriculum, designed specifically for our kid by masters of the subject area and pedagogy. Pretty darn rare.
I like supplementing with videos, and have found for history, especially, that there are far more videos (free, on pbs or similar) than we could ever watch for a given subject. Can you distill the concepts you want your son to learn, have him learn them through videos, and find a way to express his understanding of the topic?
We are studying US history now, and to be honest, we are getting better retention from the videos than from reading the text and discussing. The concepts I want DS to remember are getting through to him in the documentaries and movies (need movies thrown in for explosions and action sequences.... only so much adults yapping can be taken).

I would treat the learning two different ways: 1) the knowledge of the world you want him to have, and 2) developing the skill to parse knowledge out of printed material.
No sense killing his interest in #1 by forcing him to cope with language processing #2.

You bring up a very good point. it's not the curriculum, necessarily, but how we approach learning and comprehension. Of course, I want an easy way out of this (and no... I know this isn't easy). I would love there to already be out there in the universe somewhere a computer program that would be geared toward visual learners. I would supplement with more/different things, but it is completely overwhelming to think of creating his entire learning and tailoring his entire learning of everything from scratch without a curricula that already does it "fairly" well.

And I say this as a professional who writes lesson plans (and does administrative work) for a living! If "I" find it daunting, then doesn't everyone?

alexsmom
10-21-2015, 08:03 PM
I see your other introduction post. :)

Daunting, maybe, but easier than you might think. You dont need formal lesson plans when student n=1. I read ahead so I know what our next week's lessons will be (from our history or other subject text), then browse the internet for relevant interesting tidbits. I know there are products which advertise themselves as spines, and list the additional resources you can pick and choose from. (pandiapress.com's history odessey and RSO come to mind).

And you get done what you get done. Sometimes more interesting and compelling things come up. Sometimes someone is sick. You just continue the next week / day where you left off. We are only working on 4th grade now, but we have survived and gotten through a respectable amount of learning with never planning more than a week out. (Plenty of people dont plan ahead at all!)

There are also other families here who work from or away from home and still homeschool. Its definitely doable. Youre not restricted to days of the week or set arbitrary hours. :) I think the most recent thread was *work at home roll call*.

LKnomad
10-21-2015, 09:33 PM
Hi - I started to respond to your other post but figured this was more appropriate forum for curriculum.

I have two kids. My 17 is on the spectrum and doing very very well in public school. My 13 year old with ADHD came home this year for 8th grade. School was just not working for him.

You description of your ASD son's learning style is totally opposite of my ASD son's which is interesting. My son cannot see anything visually unless he is looking right at it. He forgets what people look like once he looks away, causing him to forget faces. He cannot visualize anything. So, like they say, when you've seen one kid with autism, you've seen one kid with autism.

My question is the same as Fastweedpuller's on the intro post. What have they been doing at school at this point. What kinds of assessments have they already done that might help you figure out what works and does not work for your child, or have they done nothing. Unless we know what kinds of things have and have not worked, it will be hard to suggest options. Has he been pulled for RSP services and can you ask the RSP teacher what she has been trying?

Just trying to get the lay of the land before making suggestions.

LKnomad
10-21-2015, 09:37 PM
I also want to add that you might not want to be hunting for the best curriculum but hunting for the most interesting topics. I started out the year with a perfect curriculum and am only using bits and pieces as I discover more and more about what makes my kid tick. A lot of what I am doing is following his interests - at least for social studies and language arts. Math is an online program and science is at a coop. I chucked the language arts and social studies curriculums a few weeks back. Now we plan a week out at a time and I mostly stick with it.

Melissa Sinclair
10-21-2015, 09:53 PM
Hi - I started to respond to your other post but figured this was more appropriate forum for curriculum.

I have two kids. My 17 is on the spectrum and doing very very well in public school. My 13 year old with ADHD came home this year for 8th grade. School was just not working for him.

You description of your ASD son's learning style is totally opposite of my ASD son's which is interesting. My son cannot see anything visually unless he is looking right at it. He forgets what people look like once he looks away, causing him to forget faces. He cannot visualize anything. So, like they say, when you've seen one kid with autism, you've seen one kid with autism.

My question is the same as Fastweedpuller's on the intro post. What have they been doing at school at this point. What kinds of assessments have they already done that might help you figure out what works and does not work for your child, or have they done nothing. Unless we know what kinds of things have and have not worked, it will be hard to suggest options. Has he been pulled for RSP services and can you ask the RSP teacher what she has been trying?

Just trying to get the lay of the land before making suggestions.

I responded a bit in the intro post, but will here as I think it fits better here.

In school he is in all classes - 100% mainstreamed. Their approach has been - let's give him prompts to get him to work... until this year. THis year they started to have someone with him most of the time for behavioral stuff and to help him stay on task.

Now, I have said for eons that he has language processing issues and how it should be approached, but he was "getting by" academically enough. Just today we had a behavioral specialist there who has been observing him and FINALLLLLLY someone there saying what I've been saying, "we need to change his teaching to his needs to alleviate the behavior problems. He is doing avoidance behaviors not because he's trying to be bad, but because he can't do what we are asking of him in the way we are asking him to do it.

So now they are thinking of doing more pull out work... but they seem at a complete loss of how to teach reading... without having him read. They are reading to him (helps a bit) but with no visuals. I suggested he NOT be in a regular class with reading groups unless he is learnign this material in a way he can learn and participate - like letting him watch the movie, or a video or whatever that shows the story (even with words included with the movie)... but that he simply cannot be "coached" in the method they are trying. But I think they are just at a stand still with knowing how to handle a kid who can't process language.

Similar problems cross subjects for the same reasons. Some of it is too, I think, that they are not getting that it's not that he "decides" he is going to do the work or not but that he sometimes is too anxious or too overstimulated to do the work at that time. So, some days he does his work. Other days he does none. And when that period is over, the work is "done" and he has to move on to the next subject - ready or not.... Like today he got 100% on a science assessment. Yesterday he refused to do anything.

When I sat there listening to this I was thinking, "HOW, besides homeschooling is he ever going to get the type of learning environment he needs? I can get an attorney and all sorts of hassle with the schools, but it won't fix this problem."

Melissa Sinclair
10-21-2015, 09:57 PM
I also want to add that you might not want to be hunting for the best curriculum but hunting for the most interesting topics. I started out the year with a perfect curriculum and am only using bits and pieces as I discover more and more about what makes my kid tick. A lot of what I am doing is following his interests - at least for social studies and language arts. Math is an online program and science is at a coop. I chucked the language arts and social studies curriculums a few weeks back. Now we plan a week out at a time and I mostly stick with it.

But how does that work? Maybe I'm being dense about it. Like, I still have this hope (and maybe I'm being ridiculous about that) that he will go to college and get a degree and be a successful something (probably in math or science). If he doesn't get enough core learning, how can he get to that level?

Or maybe I"m just bonkers and just need to worry about him learning as much as he can in whatever he wants and we will see what that means for him some day for his future and not worry about college and career... as how in the heck will college ever work for him if he can't even handle elementary school work? If he can't process language.... what WILL his future mean?

HawaiiGeek
10-21-2015, 10:21 PM
It seems to me if there is a language processing issue that a complete speech eval would be useful. My DS is totally verbal and was signed out of speech in 3rd grade, but now that he is supposed to write essays things are not working well and we are actually working on another speech eval to help with processing language. Our IEP is next week and I am ready to fight! My friend with multiples on the spectrum had speech going into class with her aspergers son in high school and he is now away in college - so I am ready to fight. I did find Time4 Learning to be helpful for DS when he was homeschooled. It is very visual especially in the middle school years.

LKnomad
10-22-2015, 12:59 AM
But how does that work? Maybe I'm being dense about it. Like, I still have this hope (and maybe I'm being ridiculous about that) that he will go to college and get a degree and be a successful something (probably in math or science). If he doesn't get enough core learning, how can he get to that level?

Or maybe I"m just bonkers and just need to worry about him learning as much as he can in whatever he wants and we will see what that means for him some day for his future and not worry about college and career... as how in the heck will college ever work for him if he can't even handle elementary school work? If he can't process language.... what WILL his future mean?

OK there is a lot to unpack here. So let's do it one step at a time.

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If your child were in high school right now, with his current learning issues, there would be a place for him to go to in college. There are colleges specifically for kids with ASDs who have learning disabilities - 2 of them in fact. there are several programs designed for kids with language based learning disorders. There are colleges with autism programs. This option does not need to ever come off the table. But, we are a long way from there.

Just to give you an idea of what is out there.
For ASDs with some support College options for students with learning differences or disabilities, autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, aspergers, ASD. - LD College Options (http://www.ldcollegeoptions.com/colleges-with-support-programs-for-autism-spectrum-disorders.html)

For more comprehensive support including Landmark and Beacon College which are designed for ASD, ADHD, and LD! College options for students with learning differences or disabilities, autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, aspergers, ASD. - LD College Options (http://www.ldcollegeoptions.com/8203residential-and-comprehensive-college-programs.html)

Now by the time your kid gets to college age, there will be even more support available. So I would not worry about this at this time. You have plenty of time to get him ready for a typical college. But just in case, there are options!

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So let's talk about the language issues. It sounds like the school district knows something is up but it doesn't sound like anyone has done any evaluations. You can deal with this in two ways. You can ask for a full evaluation for reading and language based disabilities from the school district, or you can go with a full educational eval out of pocket. If you go with the school and they give you an answer you are not pleased with you can make them pay for a better evaluation so there are a lot of options here. If you stay with the public school then you need to work through the SpEd process. Once you leave for homeschool, unless you have an option with a public homeschool (we do in California), then you are on your own. There may be specific laws in DC for homeschoolers but I am not sure what those are. So you probably want to think about what the school district can do for you before you pull the plug. I always feel that you should milk them for everything you can get before you leave. That is what I did. I got every eval possible and then left.

Once you have what you need from the evaluation process, you should have a better idea of what your child needs in order to learn. But if you homeschool it will be a trial and error process - and that is OK! I mentioned that I chucked my curriculum in social studies and language arts and started to follow his lead. This is not as crazy as it sounds. Like you, I have specific language based issues I must deal with, in our case dysgraphia - severe writing issues. My whole year revolves around remediating writing. Writing writing writing writing! But like reading, it is much easier to write about something that is interesting. So he has a lot of choice while I offer guidance. The more I listen, the more I find out what my kids is interested in...turns out he loves politics, and dinosaurs, and doing science experiments. (He is 13.) Lots to work with! So far he has written essays about immigration and religious freedom. He wrote a short story about his Lego minifigures. He created a written timeline about the discovery of a specific dinosaur (he learned how to take notes on his computer from a documentary). And he has done a lot of science at the CA science center and a co-op class. All this was from following his lead. He also has to do math, sorry kid! I also have him reading a novel at all times and doing vocab along with it. He has zoomed ahead because he is learning about what he is interested in but he is still doing what he needs to do to learn. His writing has improved more in these past 8 weeks, than it had in several years. Because he is interested in what he is writing....

Next week he will learn to write and publish a review because he is getting a new video game and well, we need another good excuse to write. He will learn how to write a summary. He has a writing assignment going on at all times.

Now imagine if you allowed your son to read things he was interested in. Doesn't matter if they are books, comics, or milk cartons as long as he is reading, he will improve. That is what I mean by throwing out the curriculum and following his lead. If he has some kind of obsession (my ASD son always did at that age) then use that as his subject! If he is visual use graphic novels or comic books. Use books about Pokemon if you have to. You can turn anything into an opportunity to learn. While you are remediating, it is not necessary to follow specific rules. You do what you can to get him learning.

The important stuff doesn't really come until high school and even then there is time (mine will still need more remediation in 9th grade). Everything kids learn in elementary school and middle school repeats. If he doesn't learn science or history in 5th grade he will learn it in 6th or 7th or 9th. He will always have another chance. So you have time to concentrate on the problems and not worry about the core. That core will still be there next year and the year after.

I hope this wasn't too rambly...

Topsy
10-22-2015, 09:23 AM
Not all children with autism are the same, but perhaps some of you who deal with similar situations can help me.

I'm new to all of this and my son is actually still in the public school, but we will be pulling him out as it's just not working. Biggest issue is his language processing. He "reads", but he memorizes chunks to digest, I think. So, small chunks are visual images in his head that he then analyzes for meaning. This is fine for small chunks, but not good for long conversations, lectures, reading novels. In school, they try to use normal methods of teaching and he is refusing to participate because he simply cannot. He learns by watching and listening - and sometimes repeatedly. How do I approach homeschooling in that very, VERY visual way?

He spells perfectly as that is a picture in his head. He knows grammar rules perfectly. It's taking a story or a conversation and being able to grasp the point of the words that he doesn't understand. He wouldn't be able to retell a story in his own words either. Suggestions of where to even start looking for curricula that would match his learning style?

He knows all the words. He can read anything. UNDERSTANDING the context is where he gets lost and he's extremely resistant to trying to read - especially big chunks of words on a page. That freaks him out completely.

Melissa, definitely check out Time4Learning if you haven't already...I can't possibly express how good of a fit it was for our highly visual learner son on the spectrum. He used it as a main curriculum from 5th grade all the way through graduation.

Your Right-Brained Visual Learner - Time4Learning (http://bit.ly/1WHKJ3n)

fastweedpuller
10-22-2015, 09:33 AM
Triple like, LKNomad!!!!!!!!

When I sat there listening to this I was thinking, "HOW, besides homeschooling is he ever going to get the type of learning environment he needs? I can get an attorney and all sorts of hassle with the schools, but it won't fix this problem."

Melissa, it sounds like you're 90% convinced. Not sure how long you have been reading through the archives here but there are tons of posts about working while homeschooling/homeschooling schedules that don't jibe with the school calendar or world calendar or day calendar (like, nightschooling, weekend schooling, 5 weeks on/1 week off schooling, schooling year-round), homeschooling during emergency family situations, etc.... So if you are concerned that your worklife might be sucking too much bandwidth out of your schooling life, there are many ways to do it...it just might require a bit of creativity. And we don't all obsess about getting a full year's work done in a "school" year.

Really, really do a hard search of what you can bleed out of the schools before you make the jump.

Again my situation is not 100% comparable to you or to the situation of everyone with an ASD child but as the guardian of my autistic brother (he's 49)...he needs services, WILL need them the rest of his life. There was very little for him when he was in school, though he did graduate from high school. Once he graduated though he crashed. There was nothing else to hold him up. And that's kind of the way it is: once anyone's 18 unless they have a longstanding history with an institution like school, the pipeline to services is very limited for those "new" to the system. IT COMPLETELY SUCKS.

[It really depends on the degree of ASD doesn't it? Even if my bro had had the extensive help in school that is now available (listen: we're talking 1970s here, we didn't even know any other ASD kids) it's doubtful he could ever have "learned" how to be independent/have a career/hell even drive a car.]

But how frustrating for you: if he truly is just sitting there 7.5 hrs/day and acts out because he's bored/overstimulated/not engaged?

havingamagicalday
10-22-2015, 11:08 AM
LKnomad, that was perfect and incredibly helpful for me to hear. I think you've talked me down from my anxiety ledge I've been walking the past week. I've been stressing about my son's dysgraphia and auditory processing and complete disinterest in reading any books other than those about Minecraft, Muppets, or Mario. It's a process and he's not leaving for college tomorrow so I just need to live in the present and stop panicking about the what ifs. While I'm at it I need to remember to not completely turn him off to learning in my zeal to keep him on grade level or catch him up. That was the reason I started homeschooling in the first place and it was nice to be reminded so thank you!

Melissa Sinclair
10-22-2015, 03:33 PM
It seems to me if there is a language processing issue that a complete speech eval would be useful. My DS is totally verbal and was signed out of speech in 3rd grade, but now that he is supposed to write essays things are not working well and we are actually working on another speech eval to help with processing language. Our IEP is next week and I am ready to fight! My friend with multiples on the spectrum had speech going into class with her aspergers son in high school and he is now away in college - so I am ready to fight. I did find Time4 Learning to be helpful for DS when he was homeschooled. It is very visual especially in the middle school years.

He has had a speech eval within the school and outside. The last time the outside one picked up the nuances of "long" passages being colmpletely not "known" and short ones completely known. He has a very good working memory, so he will repeat word for word what he heard up to 2 sentences. More than that, and he "loses" the image and will say, "I don't know". They only caught the difference with my input. Otherwise they wouldn't have caught that it's the "picture" thing and not just 50% of the time he can X or Y... I know that doesnt' make sense, but so far, no eval has gotten detailed enough to figure out WHAT he can do specifically as the tests aren't geared for specifics to that degree.

Melissa Sinclair
10-22-2015, 03:42 PM
Thank you so much... about schooling - to be honest, that seems so far down the road and overwhelming (college) that I don't even want to start looking at possibilities. Especially private tuition stuff. We simply can't afford it and we would want it to be so that it's not just paying big $ to get him to college. the point of a degree is to be employable (which doesn't necessarily require a degree). Further education without the possibility of resulting in an income, seems like a waste of money and effort and probably that money and effort would be better put elsewhere.

But... right now, we are far from there and we won't know what more he can do and learn in that time. I think he has a LOT of potential.

As far as testing, it's been a couple of years, but he's had it... I detailed in a different post under this thread that they test, but can't get the finer details of what the problem is. Their tests are too general to draw conclusions from.

Melissa Sinclair
10-22-2015, 03:45 PM
Really, really do a hard search of what you can bleed out of the schools before you make the jump.


I'm not sure I'm up for that. I'm not sure I can keep subjecting him to that on their timeline when he is struggling so much? What would testing get me that I don't already know? he's been tested several times. So far all I've seen the testing do is show that he's behind in this, ahead in this, struggles with this, struggles with that. I can see that on my own without the testing. But then, I'm pretty observant.

Melissa Sinclair
10-22-2015, 03:52 PM
Thanks everyone for the responses so far. Today we didn't send him to school as he was running late and I could see he was very anxious. I had to go into the office today, but would be the only one in. So, I offered him a chance to come with me, with the caveat that we would work on some science. He was OK with that.

On the drive to work (40 minutes) we talked about what he is learning in science - molecules. We discuss that for a bit (they are touching on solid/gas/liquid yet). I mention atoms and elements and the periodic table and we talk about all of that.. I mention some simple molecule compounds (NaCl, H2O, CO2) and he remembers CO2 from watching Cosmos from a year ago and told me (accurately) what too much or too little in the atmosphere means. So, we talked about that and about it's what we breathe out and that it's not all we breathe out. We breathed into our hand and I asked him what he felt... water he said, and I said yes, we breathe out water too (explaining H2O) etc.

At work, I printed out a periodic table and showed him about the atomic number and what it meant. We watched a 6 minute video on atoms/elements/molecules and then chose a few simple elements to draw an atom... and he got it.

I spent maybe 1 hour total with him - 40 minutes of it driving. he totally got it, he could repeat what he learned. He was totally interested and in that 1 hour, he probably learned more than he does in a week in school. I'll refresh a bit tonight, etc. and then see where else that leads his interest on that topic.

So, I have hope this will be easy enough... now to decide when to take him out of school.

squares
10-22-2015, 04:39 PM
I'd call that a home run :)

You're going to be able to teach him so much better than the school can. I'm pro-public school, but you just can't beat a dedicated, one-on-one teacher who can create a dialogue (vs. monologue) and respond to interests, needs, skill-levels, learning type, etc. - on the fly, minute by minute. He will not need to spend one second on something he already knows, nor will he need to miss one thing that the class had to move on for.

squares
10-22-2015, 04:41 PM
now to decide when to take him out of school.

You should decide based on what works for you and him. If you have to figure out something work-wise before you can remove him, fine. But I would just like to encourage you to not be afraid to pull him out today, or tomorrow, or Monday, or Wednesday, etc. There is a lot of pressure to finish the school year, or at least finish the semester, and it's honestly pointless.

LKnomad
10-22-2015, 06:31 PM
I'm not sure I'm up for that. I'm not sure I can keep subjecting him to that on their timeline when he is struggling so much? What would testing get me that I don't already know? he's been tested several times. So far all I've seen the testing do is show that he's behind in this, ahead in this, struggles with this, struggles with that. I can see that on my own without the testing. But then, I'm pretty observant.

It sounds like you have hit "the point." I just knew one day that there was no other choice. That was the day that my son's principal emailed me to tell me the he was going to force my son to stay with the same SpEd teacher for another year, even though my son was miserable, not learning anything, the teacher greatly disliked him, and other teachers were telling me it was not working. The principal suggested I find a new school if I didn't like it. I made the choice to homeschool at that moment, well after I cried for about 15 minutes out of helplessness, then I made the choice to homeschool. My only regret was that I didn't decide to do it a year earlier.

In your case, if you switch to homeschooling, you can use visual options for things like science, math, and social studies. Movies, videos, hand on learning. They always told me that after kids learn to read, they read to learn. That does not need to be true. There is no law that says everything needs to come from a text book. Then you can tackle reading, without worrying about the other subjects. One problem your may run into is that many of the curriculums depend on reading. This is a reason you may need to go without a specific store bought option and go with the flow. Make this year a big experiment to see what works and what doesn't. You have plenty of time to get it right. Years in fact.

LKnomad
10-22-2015, 06:39 PM
LKnomad, that was perfect and incredibly helpful for me to hear. I think you've talked me down from my anxiety ledge I've been walking the past week. I've been stressing about my son's dysgraphia and auditory processing and complete disinterest in reading any books other than those about Minecraft, Muppets, or Mario. It's a process and he's not leaving for college tomorrow so I just need to live in the present and stop panicking about the what ifs. While I'm at it I need to remember to not completely turn him off to learning in my zeal to keep him on grade level or catch him up. That was the reason I started homeschooling in the first place and it was nice to be reminded so thank you!

When my older son was DXed with autism at age 4 the pediatrician told me to slow down. She said that many parents try to jump in and solve everything in the beginning. But this was going to be a marathon, not a sprint and I need to realize that there is time. My son started in a special day class for autism for k and 1st. We mainstreamed him slowly. Now he is a senior at a giant local high school heading for one of their valedictorian spots, and applying to Harvard and Stanford. A lot can happen and there is plenty of time. Relax and enjoy. One day you will be looking to say goodbye,and send him as an adult, on his way. Don't rush it. Savor Mindcraft, Muppets, and Mario.

Melissa Sinclair
10-23-2015, 08:40 AM
When my older son was DXed with autism at age 4 the pediatrician told me to slow down. She said that many parents try to jump in and solve everything in the beginning. But this was going to be a marathon, not a sprint and I need to realize that there is time. My son started in a special day class for autism for k and 1st. We mainstreamed him slowly. Now he is a senior at a giant local high school heading for one of their valedictorian spots, and applying to Harvard and Stanford. A lot can happen and there is plenty of time. Relax and enjoy. One day you will be looking to say goodbye,and send him as an adult, on his way. Don't rush it. Savor Mindcraft, Muppets, and Mario.

Thank you so much for that reminder. I sometimes think that we get told "therapy, therapy, therapy" and push hard in the beginning, etc. And yes, there is some truth to that, but half of his therapies I haven't agreed with (trying to make him more like a neurotypical kid in how he acts/plays) - I think more for the comfort of everyone else, and not addressing his needs.

I think back 5 years ago and he couldn't do back and forth conversation. He would only eat a few foods, and wouldn't sit at the table with us. Now we have conversations all the time. They are "Weird", but he can communicate, he eats nearly all foods (just not mixed together) and he sits at the table with us quite nicely (with some weird table manners). WHO KNOWS where he will be 5 years from now - definitely further along the line and succeeding in his own way.

I have said for years - his brain is wired differently and he learns differently and some of the stuff he has to reroute the long way around, but it DOES happen.

Melissa Sinclair
10-23-2015, 08:41 AM
Melissa, definitely check out Time4Learning if you haven't already...I can't possibly express how good of a fit it was for our highly visual learner son on the spectrum. He used it as a main curriculum from 5th grade all the way through graduation.

Your Right-Brained Visual Learner - Time4Learning (http://bit.ly/1WHKJ3n)

Thank you - I will... I have looked at it a few times, but wasn't sure if it was good or not.

Melissa Sinclair
10-23-2015, 08:49 AM
It sounds like you have hit "the point." I just knew one day that there was no other choice. That was the day that my son's principal emailed me to tell me the he was going to force my son to stay with the same SpEd teacher for another year, even though my son was miserable, not learning anything, the teacher greatly disliked him, and other teachers were telling me it was not working. The principal suggested I find a new school if I didn't like it. I made the choice to homeschool at that moment, well after I cried for about 15 minutes out of helplessness, then I made the choice to homeschool. My only regret was that I didn't decide to do it a year earlier.

In your case, if you switch to homeschooling, you can use visual options for things like science, math, and social studies. Movies, videos, hand on learning. They always told me that after kids learn to read, they read to learn. That does not need to be true. There is no law that says everything needs to come from a text book. Then you can tackle reading, without worrying about the other subjects. One problem your may run into is that many of the curriculums depend on reading. This is a reason you may need to go without a specific store bought option and go with the flow. Make this year a big experiment to see what works and what doesn't. You have plenty of time to get it right. Years in fact.

Sitting at that interim IEP meeting this Wednesday was very eye opening. I could see the two teachers he has for his regular instruction were at a complete loss. The special ed teacher he has (same as last year) I don't think is a good fit for him, but she is trying... but she doesn't know how to think outside the box (using multi-media). But more, it was realizing that his NEED to be "on" when they need him to be on and the expectation for him to be "on" for 7.5 hours was asking too much of him. The science teacher said, "Today he was ready to learn. He got 100% on his science assessment. Yesterday, I couldn't get him to do anything. He just refused. I never know which Henry is going to show up."

Listening to that made me realize, more than anything, is that he has to have time to turn off... He cannot stay tuned in all day - and especially in an environment that overstimulates him. And forcing him to concentrate on THIS NOW when he is stuck, isn't helping. I can't fix that, especially when he's pretty obviously always in a state of anxiety at school. I know, KNOW we can accomplish in an hour or maybe two everything he's supposed to learn in a day if we do it one on one at home. We can do 15 minute, 30 minute, however long chunks he can tune in for when he is in a good space to tune in. THen he can spend the rest of the day doing things that give him pleasure - which... is other types of learning usually... whereas at school he is just pacing in the back of the classroom or doing inappropriate things.

So yes... I've hit the point. So has my husband (and he's usually a bit slower in making decisions).

CrazyGooseLady
10-23-2015, 02:57 PM
If he were mine...(and I have 3 with their own special needs...) I would focus on the comprehension in reading....as reading. Take some time and research and see what you can find. Maybe get on some special education forums and see what people know. You want something that is scripted or well written out so there is no question what you need to cover. Don't introduce yourself as a homeschooling parent...let them assume you are a peer and they will treat you as such.

RightStart math may or may not be good for him at this point, but does have lots of visual...abacus, tiles, extra hands on things. There are some math programs that use videos. Khan Academy does but may not be the style he needs, but you can try for free. Teaching Textbooks also have videos, and you may be able to see a sample at their website.

Science, history....it would totally be videos. Minute Science, The Brainscoop, History Detectives, Liberty Kids, anything that fits what you want to cover. If you want to "keep up" with school subjects, get the "What Your 5th Grader Needs to Know" book and cover the subjects in there.

There is a program called "Earrobics" that may or may not be helpful. It is for kids with Auditory Processing Issues. My kids used it some...and it may have been helpful...not entirely sure. You have time....spend time researching and see if you can find things that will work.

And in the long run....college will be easier. He can space his classes so he has time in between. (If he wants to go to college.) Maturity will also help. Eventually, he will be able to find a job that works for him....one that he either LOVES or has ebbs and flows so he can adjust how he needs to function.

You have time. He certainly doesn't have to fit the mold for school to succeed in life. An interesting story....a fellow homeschooling mom, turned teacher as her kids aged out....told me how when she was in college her work study was for her to read to a fellow student. (Think 1980s) The student could read short sentences but couldn't comprehend paragraphs. So he had people read all of his college books to him. When they read, he understood and remembered. Now, he is a successful mathematician and runs a contest each year where people recite as many of the digits of Pi as they can. (He can do several hundred.) Point is...don't let anyone convince your son that he can't do what he wants to do either. His way to what he wants may be different than others, but he will get there if you help him believe in himself.