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What are "musts" for 8th grade?


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#1 sbgrace

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 03:04 PM

We're really struggling.

My special needs son (ADHD, autism, OCD) now has chronic insomnia. We've run out of options for insomnia treatment, even through the specialists at the Children's hospital, so it is what it is. Three + months of sleep deprivation have made all the weak executive skills weaker. 

 

Even medicated for ADHD, he struggles to get started on anything, then struggles to stay focused long enough to even complete a single math problem without distraction. I've tried math as a single subject this week (we're coming back to school after about a month off), and he's often taking until 3 or even 4 pm to complete that one subject. Then there are tons of inattentive errors. Math eating up excessive time was an issue before time off too, so this isn't entirely or even mostly due to trying to get back into the swing of school. His sustained attention is just really horrid. 

 

It told him today we need to go back to working together on math like we did when he was younger--with me there to keep him on task. He's resistant. I'm not loving the time suck either. But I have no other options. 

 

What I want to know: 

 

What is the minimum i need to get done with him academically to have an adequate 8th grade education? What are the must subjects and skills? 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#2 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 09:36 PM

I guess the only way anyone can answer that is if we know what your goals are going forward.  Will he be entering 9th grade next year?  Where is he at in skills based knowledge? Can entering 9th grade be delayed?  In other words, can you take 2 years for 8th grade to buy him more time?  Right now it seems to me that the academics just aren't that much of a priority.  Extreme long term sleep deprivation can have terrible consequences.  What do the experts at the Children's Hospital say?  Is there anywhere else you can go for answers?  And do you feel that he is actually retaining anything long term while he is dealing with this?

 

Setting that aside for the moment, lets just talk academics as if the other issues don't exist.  If you really are hoping for him to complete a standard High School diploma in a normal 4 year time frame, and that time frame is going to start after this next academic year, then you need to work backwards from there.  Are you in a state where you have to file anything?  Meet certain guidelines to issue a diploma?  What do you want him to accomplish in High School to graduate?  What does HE want to accomplish?  What are the long term goals?  College?  Vocational training?  Something else?

 

Unless you have strict guidelines to meet for your state, 8th grade doesn't have to be a heavy hitting grade as long as basic skills are there.  General skills that are exceedingly helpful to have in High School include writing.  Solidifying that in 8th grade would be a good goal.  How good is his writing?

 

Math is another biggie. Where is he in math?  Has he done pre-algebra?  If he has not made it to pre-algebra yet then a good goal would be to get him through pre-algebra with a really solid understanding so he can move successfully into Algebra 1 for 9th.  But you have to meet the child where he is at.  If he isn't ready for pre-algebra then you need to work on that instead.

 

Science and History I wouldn't stress over.  Those are usually subjects that start over for High School.  Maybe if he has interest in anything in those subjects let them be interest led and stick with any format he can actually retain something from.

 

Can he type?

 

Can he read well?

 

 


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#3 OhElizabeth

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 02:42 PM

Academically, 8th grade is a pretty flexible year. Personally, I wouldn't consider any academics at that grade an ABSOLUTE. People will sometimes take the year to do something really DIFFERENT, knowing high school is coming. Practically, functionally, it sounds like you might need a grade adjustment, like he might need a year to sort through these issues before he's ready for high school. It could be an option on the table. More bake time can be good.

 

Where are you at with the autism question or using autism strategies? 

 

I really don't remember all your posts, though I see your name a lot. It looks like you've been down a lot of paths, so I'm just throwing out things, running cats up the flag pole, as they say. 

 

-interoception--It sounds like he's struggling with this, so he's not self-monitoring, not realizing when he's tired, etc. The mindfulness component you do as part of working on interoception could bump the overall attention and ability to plan, etc. etc. as well.

-transitions--It sounds like he has difficulty with transitions. Joyce Snow has a really helpful explanation of this in her book Teaching Your Child with Skill and Love. She explains the neurology behind it and why some kids continue to need varying levels of prompts. I didn't understand it until I saw some kids at an autism charter needing prompts (literally a physical touch to the arm) to be able to pick up their arm and strike the key on the keyboard. That's an extreme example, but I realized that we have other levels of that in our house, that sometimes people need a prompt or need supports for transitions.

-whether the ADHD meds are stimulants and making the insomnia worse--I'm just asking, just throwing it out there. My ds is one of those who looks ADHD who actually tests with great attention and normal impulsivity. His body has a lot of movement, and he has a high need for movement. It's becoming harder to GET him that level of movement.

-retained reflexes--Again, you're so thorough, I'm assuming you already checked into this. 

 

I think you might like to look at 360 Thinking, watch their webinar ($39), and see what you can carry over and apply with him. I think it would be a good time to work on your work strategies, your EF supports, how you work together. It would be better to spend 8th grade really working on that and really getting a paradigm that works for him. Then you know you can plug subjects/materials into that paradigm and have it work. 

 

As far as his body, who has he seen to work on that insomnia? It sounds horrible. I assume they've done the basics like checking b vitamins, d vitamins... Interoception, becoming more aware, finding strategies that work for him to calm his body down into a restful state... 

 

My ds finds it almost impossible to go to bed if he hasn't had enough physical activity. So like last night I took him to the Y and he ran laps. He sprinted his laps then would rest while I did core, then he'd sprint more laps ahead of me, hehe. He ran a mile that way, which isn't so much, but which seems like a long way and a lot of laps when you're 8! We also played basketball till he was good and sweaty. With that, he could go to sleep. But we had to do those laps in small amounts to keep him calm. His classes are usually long but have breaks while you wait in line, etc. That's why I had him completely resting while I did core after each set of laps. 

 

You mentioned in another thread he's low tone. Does he shy away from physical activity or fatigue easily? Coconut milk can be good for tone. You could look into the MTHFR thing. My dd is like that, and she just started some methylated folate, thinks it's great stuff.

 

Our ped is telling us insomnia, or at least night owl, is normal to teens. Maybe, but if you've got the teen thing PLUS some interoception or inability for him to feel how he feels or what would make him feel better, then it's a mess! He's old enough to go do weights, use a weighted blanket, and make choices like that if he had some instruction and supports. I'm looking at getting a worker to work out with my ds, because I want to work on that. We need it to move from him doing it because people told him to to him doing it because he's making the choice to do things that make his body feel better.


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