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How to teach both kids 8th grade (one special needs) (x-post)


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#1 sbgrace

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 09:01 AM

I have two 8th graders. One has to keep homeschooling due to special needs. The other very much wants to continue. 

 

I want to make it work. It's not working. I would really appreciate help thinking this through. I'm mentally trapped in the everyday of it. 

 

One has special needs that get in the way of school (autism and adhd--so lots of issues with attention/getting started/stamina and "extras" that need focus such as emotional regulation; anxiety; and chronic insomnia--making all the other stuff harder and learning difficult). Teaching him, or trying to, takes a lot of time. 

 

The other child can work independently. He'll do whatever I tell him to do school-wise, but he's not driven for above and beyond. He really enjoys and thrives with discussion and interaction, though. I'm not finding time for that. He's speeding through his independent work, and then just doing whatever until I can find time to work with him. (He does do extracurricular things, and puts time into those interests in and outside the school day; but academics wise he's just getting it done, and quickly). When I find time to work with him is often little quick time pockets when his twin is occupied in the day or in the late evening, and both of us are tired so I end up mostly just checking and going over work for understanding. Blech. 

 

How it's going isn't great for his brother either. I am spending hours and hours with special needs son trying to drag him through what I consider a basic education. But, for example, an Algebra lesson can easily suck hours because he's so inattentive and sleep deprived. My gut is that I need to build significant time for focusing on special needs areas. But he's beat with just the minimum school I do. And focusing on those things takes me too. 

 

Meanwhile I feel like all I do with the kids is school or basic needs stuff. I am spending so many hours, and yet I feel I'm not accomplishing what I want with either.

 

What I think I want:

 

---Curriculum for child A that is solid academically and can be done fairly independently, but ideally would allow for us to interact with interesting material together--discussion or similar. Assuming I can find time/I need to find time. I just don't want an education of him on his own working through curriculum, and that's where we've landed in the last couple of years as his brother has become more complicated. 

 

 Right now he's not doing nearly enough composition/writing--I think I need a curriculum that's clearly laid out in assignments, or a plan that I can easily work with him. He's doing very little science, because the curriculum requires me, and we rarely get to it.  He's working through history, but we rarely find time to discuss anymore. We've never found time for consistent foreign language--I wanted to do Latin, but when I would need to work with him and am concerned about time to be consistent, so....nothing happens. He likes to read. He likes to discuss. We never find much time for that lately as things are now.

 

----A bare minimum academic plan for child B, special needs kid, that allows time to work on those needs too. He just mentally can't attend for long enough to do a full day of school, yet that's what we're doing (yesterday he worked with me from 9 to 5:00, with breaks for food and mental and exercise, and a lot of him avoiding starting and getting distracted......we got probably nothing really accomplished, as he hasn't had a decent night's sleep in over a week and was mentally beyond spent before we even got through Algebra). He really thinks/feels he works the entire day--mostly he's avoiding work the entire day. 

 

Right now he's going to be severely limited by his executive skills weaknesses. I need to streamline the academics so I have space for the special needs work without overwhelming him. He needs a lot of "self" space in his day to feel ok Ideally I would spend a couple of hours on streamlined, focused education with me, focused time on special needs throughout the day, and let him do the few things he can do independently while I work with his twin. He can write well and without medication or my sitting with him. He can do memory work without me too. He likes to read for pleasure, but there are probably issues with close reading/focus for school work. Everything else requires me. 

 

I'm going to post this on general board and special needs. I know this was too long. I would appreciate any thoughts on either kid. 



#2 OhElizabeth

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 01:15 PM

Ok, I'll just ask. I'm not doubting you, but just asking because it's good to think out of the box and all that. Are you *sure* you can't find an option in a school that works for him? My ds is kinda like yours, and my line was he needs to learn to read and do basic math. Like after that, that whole balance of real life and education is kinda vague and could go a lot of directions and have points where we flex and give up one thing to get another. If the kid can't read, we're screwed. Since the ps couldn't have taught my kid to read, ps was a no go. But now that he can read, I'm like not *optimal* but that doesn't mean it's not an *option* kwim? 

 

But I get it if you're saying it's dangerous, a one-room school, something like that. I'm just saying, as someone who has been through the IEP process with my kid, I'm looking at a lot of what you're getting worn out by and thinking what a team approach could do for that. Lots of ways to skin cats here, but it would be good to know if it *could* be on the table.

 

Cuz if it really can't be a team approach in a school, then the rest of the discussion is how you clone yourself 40 times to become that team or hire people to make the team. Because it's actually that complicated to get enough energy and things coming at him. Somebody is gonna get worn out in the process, and it's either gonna be you, cloned 40 times, or Borgs.


Edited by OhElizabeth, 14 November 2017 - 01:16 PM.

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#3 Lecka

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 01:27 PM

Spectrumnews has had a series about sleep lately, maybe it's helpful.

https://spectrumnews...n-the-spectrum/
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#4 Terabith

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 06:06 PM

I'd seriously be looking at schools for at least your kid without special needs.  He's never experienced school, so of course he's nervous about it, but if he thrives on interaction, I think school for him, at least, should be on the table.  Because you really can't do it all. 


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#5 kbutton

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 06:47 PM

We have a tutor for some subjects, and my son's ADHD doesn't sound as severe as your son's. Even then, it can be a slog. The tutor works on remediation/scaffolding composition skills for 5 hours per week, and an SLP does another hour. Everything takes a long time.

 

I assume if you can combine for subjects, you would be doing that. I do combine a few things. History supplements and geography (basically memorizing and some plug-ins to history) are easy to combine. We are combining some literature this year, but my younger kiddo catches on fast. We won't be able to do it forever, but it's nice this year, and it's giving my ASD kiddo a place to start with expressing ideas--his younger brother primes the pump, so to speak.


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#6 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 01:57 AM

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

FWIW, if your special needs child is doing school for that many hours a day (9-5), I think the first thing you need to do is stop.  Just stop.  Have him work for a set amount of time on each subject, keeping the schedule and order of topics consistent, and when that time is up, you stop.  It doesn't matter if he got half a problem done in math or 5 words written on a paper or whatever.  Keeping lessons short really helped my kids stay focused.  Keeping things short keeps me focused, too.  Knowing that things may just drag out for hours can actually cause more anxiety and exhaustion and increase the inability to focus.

 

And since he is in 8th grade and doing Algebra he isn't behind.  He needs to learn and internalize concepts but he has time to do so.  Keep the lessons very, very short.  

 

Focus on things that interest him.  If he has no interests, focus on exposing him to more things that might interest him.  

 

For the son that is whipping through things, what about an on-line class that includes discussion?  Maybe in a subject of interest to him?  DD gets to interact with her classmates in both of her on-line classes.  There are some classes available for the Spring semester through various providers.  Open Tent Academy is one.  I think Excelsior is one.  They cost but both have offered excellent courses in the past.  I think they have a discount right now.  Open Tent definitely does.

 

http://www.opententa...my.com/courses/

http://excelsiorclasses.com/classes/

 

Have you actually looked into the local schools?  For either son?  I could see a possibility of a good fit for one or the other.  DS did better when he was in school, interacting with other kids and teachers daily.  If he could have remained in school he would have been happier.  He used to be very extroverted/outgoing and loved the interaction and stimulation.

 

As for specific curriculum, I think I have some ideas but it is nearly 1am and I need to think to post more.  I will try to get back to this later.  

 

Good luck.


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#7 sbgrace

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 09:09 AM

I feel like I could do this if I could make a plan. I'm ever the optimist in some ways I guess.

 

I just think if I knew x and y should be academic focuses for him--and could find way to be efficient with them--I could then also have time to hit the weak areas special needs wise. If we were streamlined, he'd know what is expected and feel it's doable. He would feel he had margin. Wishful thinking maybe. It just doesn't seem like school should take this long. I will say I told him he has to sit with me (and tones to redirect attention) for all of math. He wants to be independent, but right  now, with the fatigue, this just isn't working. With a promise to revisit, he's accepted sitting with me. It's faster that way, but it's still hard to get work done/he just has little tolerance for it. 

 

I keep thinking if I had a plan for his twin that was mostly independent, there is time in our day for discussion. I just need more direction I think. I want to give him a good education. Ideally, this looks like a lot more interaction than I can give him to me. But I want to do it, even if I have to make it less interactive than I wish it were. Maybe if most of his work was independent we would have time for those richer discussions. 

 

Ok, I'll just ask. I'm not doubting you, but just asking because it's good to think out of the box and all that. Are you *sure* you can't find an option in a school that works for him? My ds is kinda like yours, and my line was he needs to learn to read and do basic math. Like after that, that whole balance of real life and education is kinda vague and could go a lot of directions and have points where we flex and give up one thing to get another. If the kid can't read, we're screwed. Since the ps couldn't have taught my kid to read, ps was a no go. But now that he can read, I'm like not *optimal* but that doesn't mean it's not an *option* kwim? 

 

But I get it if you're saying it's dangerous, a one-room school, something like that. I'm just saying, as someone who has been through the IEP process with my kid, I'm looking at a lot of what you're getting worn out by and thinking what a team approach could do for that. Lots of ways to skin cats here, but it would be good to know if it *could* be on the table.

 

Cuz if it really can't be a team approach in a school, then the rest of the discussion is how you clone yourself 40 times to become that team or hire people to make the team. Because it's actually that complicated to get enough energy and things coming at him. Somebody is gonna get worn out in the process, and it's either gonna be you, cloned 40 times, or Borgs.

 

I get it. I did have the school evaluate him for enrollment a few years ago. The take away was (and I know this still exists) they see his issues (school autism said moderate autism; school psych couldn't get accurate testing due to attention; speech and OT also noted significant attention and hyperfocus issues, etc.) However, they could only offer him extended time for assignments, reduced homework, and 1/2 hour with the autism coordinator every semester. The issue is he is was ok academically due to my one on one teaching. I would need to enroll him and have him fail two consecutive semesters before they could do additional services. As a former classroom teacher....I can't imagine him in a regular class without a one on one aid. As his teacher now, I can't imagine him learning anything in that situation anyway--too distracted, hyperactive, and easily fatigued). I will say his metabolics doctor would work with the school on modifications for the fatigue if I enrolled him--even reduced hours probably. But I think I could do better educationally and special needs at home. I feel even what I"m doing now is better than what would happen with enrollment in our schools for him 

 

He does have a team, kind of. He has therapy with an autism specialist once a week, meets with a behaviorist specializing in autism once a week, and is part of a mental health/skills one on one aid program. He actually qualified for more time with that, but they don't serve locally so I have to travel to her. She is supposed to focus on the ADHD and anxiety parts. She's trying anyway. 

 

 

Spectrumnews has had a series about sleep lately, maybe it's helpful.

https://spectrumnews...n-the-spectrum/

 

I an looking at this. Thank you. 

 

 

I'd seriously be looking at schools for at least your kid without special needs.  He's never experienced school, so of course he's nervous about it, but if he thrives on interaction, I think school for him, at least, should be on the table.  Because you really can't do it all. 

 

I know. I just....he wants to homeschool (better for his extracurricular stuff). He has and does lose a lot, even more than he realizes actually, because of his brother. I don't want him to lose homeschooling, if he wants to do it, because of his brother as well.

 

Plus, my kids enjoy each other. I like that they are close.

 

I also like that I can easily accommodate his food allergies (though I could figure out school wise too/it would be stressful somewhat), and we aren't tied to a school schedule on one hand while I stay home with the other kid on the other hand. I like that he can get plenty of sleep. That said, sometimes I would like to just be a parent and cheerleader more. I don't have space in my life it feels. I'm stressed. I want him to get a good education. I need that to do this well, and it may not be possible. 

 

So we may have to, and he knows this. That's part of why I feel so urgent right now. If we enroll locally, it really needs to be 9th grade. So I need to see in 8th whether this can be doable.

 

Edited/thinking: I suppose I might be able to do online public school for a year next year and still enroll in the high school for 10th. Downside would be the lack of peer and teacher interaction that is the potential upside of school, and we'd still be with the school calendar, and I don't know if the education he would get online would be better than what I could give. But it might ease into it with less chance of it being a bad experience. (He's shy/our local high school is huge--this could work out fine anyway if he found activities and fell in with good kids, but in a big school you don't see the same kids over and over like a smaller school...I don't know). 

 

 

We have a tutor for some subjects, and my son's ADHD doesn't sound as severe as your son's. Even then, it can be a slog. The tutor works on remediation/scaffolding composition skills for 5 hours per week, and an SLP does another hour. Everything takes a long time.

 

I assume if you can combine for subjects, you would be doing that. I do combine a few things. History supplements and geography (basically memorizing and some plug-ins to history) are easy to combine. We are combining some literature this year, but my younger kiddo catches on fast. We won't be able to do it forever, but it's nice this year, and it's giving my ASD kiddo a place to start with expressing ideas--his younger brother primes the pump, so to speak.

 

I theoretically can combine for things like history and science. I"m still theoretically combining science. But when I try....well, special needs kiddo is pooped out if we even get to them at all. We're not getting to them often. I think I'd almost rather our combined time, if we can get to it, to be look at this neat article or video--let's explore that.

 

He qualified for services that sound similar to what you have with his ADHD and anxiety. However, it turns out they were hoping to expand to our area when we applied. That's not going to happen fast, if it does at all. So, instead, he's working with someone once a week for one hour and I'm traveling 45 minutes to get there. What you have sounds really good. 

 

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

FWIW, if your special needs child is doing school for that many hours a day (9-5), I think the first thing you need to do is stop.  Just stop.  Have him work for a set amount of time on each subject, keeping the schedule and order of topics consistent, and when that time is up, you stop.  It doesn't matter if he got half a problem done in math or 5 words written on a paper or whatever.  Keeping lessons short really helped my kids stay focused.  Keeping things short keeps me focused, too.  Knowing that things may just drag out for hours can actually cause more anxiety and exhaustion and increase the inability to focus.

 

You're absolutely right. I just need that too. I just somehow can't get it together to figure out what to do and how, which prompted this post. 

 

And since he is in 8th grade and doing Algebra he isn't behind.  He needs to learn and internalize concepts but he has time to do so.  Keep the lessons very, very short.  

 

I tried this. He lost retention. I think it's partly the program I'm using --CLE Algebra. I love the spiral, but when he goes slowly through the result is he doesn't get much practice daily on new concepts and sees the review concepts far less often than the spiral intends. It failed. I hate the idea of switching. But maybe I should. Sitting with me now, math is faster, but still too long for him. It just takes so much out of him mentally. 

 

Focus on things that interest him.  If he has no interests, focus on exposing him to more things that might interest him.  

 

Good. I just..he has interests. Though they aren't academic as such. I just don't know how to work this to cover what "should" be covered, or even to know what it is that should be covered. I feel lost. 

 

For the son that is whipping through things, what about an on-line class that includes discussion?  Maybe in a subject of interest to him?  DD gets to interact with her classmates in both of her on-line classes.  There are some classes available for the Spring semester through various providers.  Open Tent Academy is one.  I think Excelsior is one.  They cost but both have offered excellent courses in the past.  I think they have a discount right now.  Open Tent definitely does.

 

http://www.opententa...my.com/courses/

http://excelsiorclasses.com/classes/

.

I need to do something like that I think. I posted above--but I don't even feel I know what he should be covering. I am just lost.

 

Have you actually looked into the local schools?  For either son?  I could see a possibility of a good fit for one or the other.  DS did better when he was in school, interacting with other kids and teachers daily.  If he could have remained in school he would have been happier.  He used to be very extroverted/outgoing and loved the interaction and stimulation.

 

I posted above, but the school didn't offer much at all for special needs kid. I don't think he would thrive there. The other kid wants to homeschool, and I'd like to honor that. I just want to do it well, and I need to figure out if that's even possible before next year. 

 

As for specific curriculum, I think I have some ideas but it is nearly 1am and I need to think to post more.  I will try to get back to this later.  

 

I'd love ideas!

 

Good luck.

 

Thank you all for your thoughts. I really appreciate it. 


Edited by sbgrace, 16 November 2017 - 10:37 AM.


#8 Lecka

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 09:53 AM

I think you know I have twins?

 

I try really hard to do what is best for them individually.  Right now they are at separate schools, which really breaks my heart several times a year, in fact I was so relieved that the Halloween parade at both schools were cancelled this year as they were being held at the same time! 

 

But I want to bring up another side I don't think you are thinking of at all.  You are guilty for your son missing out and don't want him to miss out on home school.

 

Well -- do you think your son has any guilty feelings, and maybe doesn't want to go to public school knowing it isn't an option for his brother? 

 

Now maybe he honestly, honestly is not interested.  But he could have some interest but know it's not an option for his brother, and then just feel guilty.

 

My older son has guilty feelings like this off and on, and he has had times of refusing to do things that he really would like, but that I wouldn't take his brother to do. 

 

I don't know how much of this has to do with his age, or his age gap and being older.  He is 3 years older. 

 

My daughter, who is the twin, honestly I have never noticed anything like this with her.  They have just turned 9 and she has never seemed like she felt guilty.

 

But I watch for it and I try to normalize having them do different things, because my older son was guilty when he was younger, and he can still think that way.

 

He is also my son who has a little bit of an anxious personality, and my daughter's personality is different. 

 

I also have some personal experience, I was raised very close with my cousin who has autism.  We didn't live in the same town, but we spent a lot of the summer together and all holidays, and many weekends during the year, too. 

 

It was really hard on me when I got my drivers license and he didn't.  I even got my drivers license late, which was very strange in a lot of ways, because of pressure and some logistics, but with wanting my cousin to get his license before me (he is several months older than me and should have gotten his license before me). 

 

And then it was hard when I went to college. 

 

Just -- it was hard mentally and I think it might be easier to start some of this kind of process for your son while he is still at home.  I was definitely in the process in high school, as things were different between what I did in high school and what my cousin did.  I think it would have been harder to put that off, because there is a lot to think about. 

 

But at the same time -- I don't know that I expect it to be that way for my daughter, as she has a different personality. 

 

I think it helps too for her, my son has been diagnosed with autism for as long as she can remember.  My older son can remember when he was diagnosed.  My cousin was diagnosed much older (as it was the 1990s and it was just a different time period) and so there was a lot to think about all at once, kind-of. 

 

 

 

 


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#9 Lecka

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 10:13 AM

Really -- I think you sound guilty, which I get!  But I think something may have to give, even if it is sad to be in the situation of something having to give.  I've been there, a lot of us have been there. 

 

It sounds like you really desire to do discussions with one of your sons.  Is there a way you can do that while outsourcing maybe?  You can still discuss things with him even while not being the primary teacher.  You can still discuss his thoughts about his assignments and reading even while not being his primary teacher.  I think that is one thought.

 

I also tend to think your son with special needs would get services more quickly if he attended school.  Maybe not in your district, I get that.  But in general -- I think he would get pull-out to a resource room pretty fast.  And to be honest ----- did you know that is often not considered "special education?"  So they may be telling you "we won't do x, y, z for him blah blah" because they are thinking of x, y, z.  But as far as -- pull-out that isn't considered special education, but might be a good fit for him?  That might be easy to do, because it might not be considered "special education." 

 

My older son has had pull-out services where he went in a room with a special teacher and worked in a small group, and there would be kids in there with autism (and other things), but it would NOT be considered special education. 

 

It just makes me wonder, because I have heard this wording before.  I don't know but I wonder! 

 

Because I HAVE heard that you can't be in special education while at grade level, but that is not the case for this small group pull-out stuff, and honestly when my older son has done it it has been good for him.  But it will just depend, too, on who the teacher is and what kids he is with.  If he has friends in there and doesn't miss his friends in the main class then it is all good :)  But he is in all regular classes right now. 

 

I don't know at all on that, I just wonder, b/c it seems like there are a lot of things like that, where to the school they are like "no, this kid absolutely doesn't qualify for special education, etc," and yet the kid is in small-group pull-out or has a 1:4 aide. 


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#10 Lecka

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 10:22 AM

And then, I don't understand all of this, but my son who is in special education, he is not *allowed* to be in RTI services, "academic intervention services," or anything with the reading specialist.

So guess I'm saying -- maybe your son wouldn't qualify for special education; but he might go into some kind of service extremely fast, that other kids with autism and who well academically might also do.
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#11 kbutton

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 10:46 AM

 

 

I theoretically can combine for things like history and science. But when I try....well, special needs is pooped out if we even get to them at all. We're not getting to them often. I think I'd almost rather our combined time, if we can get to it, to be look at this neat article or video--let's explore that. He qualified for services that sound similar to what you have with his ADHD and anxiety. However, it turns out they were hoping to expand to our area when we applied. That's not going to happen fast. So, instead, he's working with someone once a week for one hour and I'm traveling 45 minutes to get there. What you have sounds really good. 

 

Combining for some fun stuff (videos/articles) sounds like it would serve you all well and give you a boost.

 

Any chance you can suggest to the provider that needs to expand that they start with a traveling tutor for your son and others in the area? Our provider works because her tutors go to the family. She has clients all over. The SLP is a little different story, but I have two kids going there, and one of them also gets OT at the same time--it's well worth our time.

 

Do you have access to a co-op for your neurotypical twin? Would that make you feel like you are being more purposeful?

 

Regarding algebra, I am looking at this series for some review/consolidation: http://aplusses.com/...e=index&cPath=1

 

It is mentioned on the high school pinned math thread.


Edited by kbutton, 16 November 2017 - 10:47 AM.

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#12 sbgrace

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 10:50 AM

I appreciate your thoughts on the twin thing. I hadn't thought of that. My instinct is that he hasn't had enough experience yet to feel guilty about his own stuff (he does his own activities, and will say to me that he wants them without his twin). That said, he is very protective and I know it hurts him when he thinks his brother is being excluded. I need to think on what you wrote. 

 

And then, I don't understand all of this, but my son who is in special education, he is not *allowed* to be in RTI services, "academic intervention services," or anything with the reading specialist.

So guess I'm saying -- maybe your son wouldn't qualify for special education; but he might go into some kind of service extremely fast, that other kids with autism and who well academically might also do.

 

That's a thought. I can't imagine that happening at the high school level, but maybe it does. I just...I don't think the school is the right place for his special needs. I don't think he'd get a good education, succeed at a social/interpersonal level (he's extremely interested in people and outgoing/he misses so many cues/add ADHD, he has anxiety, he has obvious tics---even with Ritalin, social stuff is hard and he so wants to be included and liked). I keep thinking I could be more targeted in special needs stuff than any school could, even if he got services. I think he would get services, even if he had to fail first. But I don't think he'd succeed even with them. I'd feel like I'm abandoning him to fail. I do have a lot of guilt about all of it. 



#13 sbgrace

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 10:57 AM

Combining for some fun stuff (videos/articles) sounds like it would serve you all well and give you a boost.

 

Any chance you can suggest to the provider that needs to expand that they start with a traveling tutor for your son and others in the area? Our provider works because her tutors go to the family. She has clients all over. The SLP is a little different story, but I have two kids going there, and one of them also gets OT at the same time--it's well worth our time.

 

Do you have access to a co-op for your neurotypical twin? Would that make you feel like you are being more purposeful?

 

Regarding algebra, I am looking at this series for some review/consolidation: http://aplusses.com/...e=index&cPath=1

 

It is mentioned on the high school pinned math thread.

 

I think fun stuff would, yes. I need to figure out how to do that more.

 

I talked to the director not long ago and she wasn't hopeful for expansion. But maybe I could suggest that. I might. I know his current therapist travels to schools to work with her clients. It's just that those schools are local for her. I think my son is the only one who comes to her.

 

I will look at that Algebra, thank you. 

 

There isn't a coop here. As he hits high school, there will be a couple of class options--biology, advanced biology, and sometimes speech. I actually thought, when he's old enough, we'd do dual enrollment at the community college. I think I'm going to investigate online for a class that might have good discussion. 



#14 Lecka

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 11:25 AM

I don't think it sounds like he would do good in mainstream classes with no support. At all.

But I could see him doing well socially/emotionally in a small group with nice kids.

My son has mild-to-moderate and I see kids who are doing well socially/emotionally in a small group.

I think if you lived where I live, you would be fine with the social/emotional and unhappy with the academics. They also would want him to do more independent work even if working on independent work skills held him back from the progress he could make 1:1. But it is functional to do independent work, that's looking at it positively.

It is trade offs for sure, but I think in a lot of places you would definitely not be throwing him to the wolves.

But homeschool is totally valid, too!

For your other son, it's the elephant in the room; there's no way it doesn't have some bearing on his thought processes. But it might be really minor and not what he's basing anything on.

But knowing my older son he would be guilty to leave his brother home alone, especially if thinking he wasn't allowed to go to school (as that is how my son thinks, even if it's not about being allowed). He would be guilty to do something, and also guilty to not be staying with his brother, like it is double for him.

And then I don't see stuff like this with my daughter. She is also really not protective. They have a good relationship, though.

My older son is less protective than he used to be, he was probably too protective/caretaking for a while for what he should have been for his age. But we had rough times when only my older son could comfort him, too. Like -- to the point that as a parent I thought it was a problem for a while, but it is better now. And I've never had that with my daughter, so it's not like I think it is some definite thing. But I think it's worth considering.

Edited by Lecka, 16 November 2017 - 11:28 AM.


#15 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 12:11 PM

I am leaving town but so wanted to come back to this and send you support.  I will try to post either while I am gone or when I come back.

 

Hugs.



#16 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 01:07 PM

I feel like I could do this if I could make a plan. I'm ever the optimist in some ways I guess.

 

I just think if I knew x and y should be academic focuses for him--and could find way to be efficient with them--I could then also have time to hit the weak areas special needs wise. If we were streamlined, he'd know what is expected and feel it's doable. He would feel he had margin. Wishful thinking maybe. It just doesn't seem like school should take this long. I will say I told him he has to sit with me (and tones to redirect attention) for all of math. He wants to be independent, but right  now, with the fatigue, this just isn't working. With a promise to revisit, he's accepted sitting with me. It's faster that way, but it's still hard to get work done/he just has little tolerance for it. 

 

I keep thinking if I had a plan for his twin that was mostly independent, there is time in our day for discussion. I just need more direction I think. I want to give him a good education. Ideally, this looks like a lot more interaction than I can give him to me. But I want to do it, even if I have to make it less interactive than I wish it were. Maybe if most of his work was independent we would have time for those richer discussions. 

 

I found with my kids it was unfair to shaft the one to help the other. It just didn't work. And I know that's not what you're trying to do, nor was I. I'm just saying that was our physical reality.

 

For me, with my ds, what helped me find that sort of efficient balance was bringing in someone ELSE to do the academics with him. We had to find what would work, and frankly it took so much time for *me* to find all that stuff that I wouldn't have had the time or energy to find it all AND implement. Nuts, I had pnuemonia and then bronchitis twice in a calendar year! We're still mortal! I'm on an antiobiotic AGAIN for lung stuff. I guess you could call it pneumonia. We stopped it fast, but still I've been down and out, like a Mack truck hit me, all week. 

 

Anyways, for me the consistency and predictability and ability to quantify it and to say it's gonna be idiotproof, it's gonna be efficient, and this is what it's gonna be, all came with giving up having ME do it and having someone ELSE do it. Because the person was of that level. As professional homeschool moms, we're all creative and flexible and full of ideas and idealistic and junk. The worker just came in, put the plan on the board, and worked it. So now I have a kid who gets that there is a plan, that we work the plan, that this is how it rolls. I couldn't get there by myself. I can sorta (sorta) maintain it, but I was having a hard time getting there by myself.

 

So it's just a way, just options. Your team gig sounds really good. The next step would be farming the academics. Or farm the non-disability dc. 

 

I'm with Lecka that it doesn't seem like a workable plan to toss him to DE any time soon. 

 

I don't know what you're using, but with my ds it really helps to have very concrete, efficient materials. Like you could go through a mental game and go ok, if I were *going* to hire someone, if I had funding or scholarships or magic fairies or whatever it would take, and if it HAD to be a list and it HAD to be idiotproof, what would it look like?

 

But I wouldn't put the typical dc to independent. I would put him in school first. It's sort of your kobyashi maru, like how do you have a situation where they expect to be equal but aren't equal and yet you'd like to treat them equally. Can't win at that. You have to rewrite the rules somehow so you come out winning. You have to redefine what winning means.



#17 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 01:10 PM

Does your behaviorist ever come in the home and observe academics? Our behaviorist has a good reputation with homeschoolers and she actually comes in the home. She can observe and tell us how to modify things. I think one of her degrees is in education.

 

Will your insurance or something fund an Intervention Specialist? That's the person you could add to your team, if you could make it happen. Even just like once a month or have them come out and consult one time for a couple hours. I've had IS out several times. Some were with the IEP team and some we funded. They're my most fun resource, because they're essentially doing what I'm going but doing it with a different perspective (very practical, this is the list, blah blah). It really pushes my envelope and helps me see where I got off on tangents and what was really key and what was like oh whatever.



#18 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 01:21 PM

I appreciate your thoughts on the twin thing. I hadn't thought of that. My instinct is that he hasn't had enough experience yet to feel guilty about his own stuff (he does his own activities, and will say to me that he wants them without his twin). That said, he is very protective and I know it hurts him when he thinks his brother is being excluded. I need to think on what you wrote. 

 

 

That's a thought. I can't imagine that happening at the high school level, but maybe it does. I just...I don't think the school is the right place for his special needs. I don't think he'd get a good education, succeed at a social/interpersonal level (he's extremely interested in people and outgoing/he misses so many cues/add ADHD, he has anxiety, he has obvious tics---even with Ritalin, social stuff is hard and he so wants to be included and liked). I keep thinking I could be more targeted in special needs stuff than any school could, even if he got services. I think he would get services, even if he had to fail first. But I don't think he'd succeed even with them. I'd feel like I'm abandoning him to fail. I do have a lot of guilt about all of it. 

 

I've been through the IEP process with my ds, because our state has a generous disability scholarship program. If you haven't been through the IEP process, you don't know what they'd do for him. If you walk in with documentation of the ASD and have this paper trail of all the services you're currently using and this long list of supports he requires and issues, they're going to do something. He's going to qualify for an IEP. Until you do that, you don't know where they'd place him or what they'd do.

 

I live in a high poverty rate area, so you would think that would be the kind of thing where people would be iffy about the schools if they had the choice to put in the ps vs. homeschool. I can tell you the good parts. The people are compassionate, are dedicated, and are doing everything they can. When I go in and talk about the stuff I'm researching and getting trained in, they usually know what it is. They might be learning, but some of this stuff is very new! So I think in some ways some of it would be a wash. Some things would be better and some would be worse.

 

That's why I was saying you can think about where the flex is. For me, some aspects of academics have no flex and others do. You could go through the IEP process and just see what would happen. They might be really lovely with him. They might offer him an alternative placement in an autism school and completely fund it. That happens around here. It's one of the big scores, a really $$$$ win. 

 

For me, I've learned a lot even *not* enrolling my ds in the ps. Just going through the IEP process showed me a lot. I got to see what they would do with him, how they would prioritize. It really revolutionized how we work together. It helped me let go of the fanciful and realize what was really, really important and foundational and going to help him go forward. Also, they have fresh eyes and sometimes see MORE function and MORE ability in my ds than I was. It's kinda cool.

 

So it would be something to think about. I'm not saying you have to enroll him. My ds' placement would be in a non-mainstreamed classroom, not with kids of his intellectual ability, and reality is he wouldn't get taught academics. They would try, and certain things about it would be really, really good. But I'm not guessing there. I KNOW what my ds' placement would be, because I've gone through the process. My ds is very aggressive and will leave the building. That means he can't have a mainstreamed placement. It's nice to say he could, and we've made a lot of progress. So I think it's ok to walk up to that line and go nope, not what I want. But it's a free process to go through if you want to *try*. It's sort of a pain in the butt, yes, but it's free and might give you some information or ideas or fresh eyes.

 

At the very least, if you want to reform your academics, like reformulate them, then bring in a good IS. That's the fastest way to get a fresh perspective. You'll have to pay, but that's the way.



#19 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 01:23 PM

Have you asked the twin how he feels about all this? That would be interesting feedback to consider.



#20 kbutton

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 01:33 PM

I feel like I could do this if I could make a plan. I'm ever the optimist in some ways I guess.

 

I just think if I knew x and y should be academic focuses for him--and could find way to be efficient with them--I could then also have time to hit the weak areas special needs wise. If we were streamlined, he'd know what is expected and feel it's doable. He would feel he had margin. Do any of the current therapists work on academics at all? Do they give homework? Would you get more mileage out of, say, an SLP than the current therapies? At least some of what you are doing seems like it needs to translate to acadmics. I am wondering if it does, and if any therapist is really working on this. It needs to be more integrated to lessen your load. It is hard to evaluate and streamline help when you aren't sure what you ought to get or what you could swap out--I am asking more to stimulate some thoughts on this. You shouldn't have to figure out what his academic work should look like by yourself. I think that is where OhElizabeth is coming from with consulting with an intervention specialist. We had a lot of IS work that was kind of treading water. Our current one is making progress, and adding the SLP has been good as well. 

 

Getting some clarity is a priority, and it's hard. I have been in a state of transition with my kiddo with ASD, and it's just difficult to assess at certain stages of the game.

 

I keep thinking if I had a plan for his twin that was mostly independent, there is time in our day for discussion. I just need more direction I think. Can you schedule the discussion times just like you would an appointment? I tend to get time with one while the other is occupied with an appointment (piano, SLP, tutor, etc.). 

 

To get specific about your NT kiddo, what keeps him from being independent right now? What does he like? What are his strengths? We might have some curriculum suggestions if we know his skillset, barriers, and interests. 



#21 Lecka

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 03:57 PM

Overall, I feel like ----- I see the guilt getting worse over the high school years, just because high school gets harder and there get to be more differences in what your kids do, and maybe they don't reach some milestones at the same time.  And that is guilt-inducing and sad in the best of times.  And you are already seeming pretty guilty to go into a time period that could be naturally even more guilty. 

 

So I think try to resolve some guilt over things you would like to do (but it is too much for any one person at a certain point) and a way you would like things to be for your kids. 

 

And try to be realistic on some things and then be positive about it.

 

Look at some things as opportunities instead of as something that is second rate and you wish never had to happen.  That may be true on some level still, but you can also look at the opportunity side. 

 

I think it may come across that you feel horrible about some certain things that are part of your family situation and are seeming difficult to resolve (the time-consumingness of one of your kids) and maybe it is what it is, one of your kids is really time-consuming. 

 

But I think if you wish you had a different situation, but you don't, you can't just gut through as if you had the different situation, and make everything better just through strength of will. 

 

I also think it is going to be hard on maybe both your kids as they get older in the next few years and possibly don't reach the same milestones at the same times, or maybe it is hard on one or the other. 

 

Well, its going to be really hard on you if you are personally sad and guilty, and then one of your kids is ALSO sad and/or guilty, and you are called on to offer support and leadership to that child.  It is almost too hard.

 

So I think  -- try to deal with some of the hard, disappointing things now, and maybe turn things around and look at the bright side, so you are in a better place when/if one/both your kids are sad or feel a lot of conflict. 

 

This also sticks out to me -- saying the twin hasn't had the experience yet to feel guilty.  Now -- it may never come up!  But I think, if it is going to come up, let it come up at home!  Don't wait and have it come up when he is 18/19 and maybe away from home.  It won't be any easier to push it off until 18/19. 

 

Now that is all about me, really, but that is just sharing my perspective.  I don't mean it like -- I think you have to think this way.  I'm just mentioning it for a perspective. 


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#22 Storygirl

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Posted Yesterday, 07:50 PM

I don't have answers about what you should do, but I want to offer :grouphug: .

 

Homeschooling my kids was really, really hard on me for a really long time, and I just became completely spent. I resisted enrolling them in school for years, because I was not convinced that it would be a good fit for them, with their various learning issues. But I became so drained that I knew I could not offer them all that they needed. Trying to meet the disparate needs of four kids was very challenging for me.

 

I really, really didn't want to do it, but we enrolled them in school (not public school yet, but it will be public for high school, because no private school can offer what DS13 needs -- his current school does a great job but ends after eighth grade).

 

I really honestly did not think that school was a good idea for my kids, but it has been good. We've had our share of tough moments and unfun IEP meetings, but overall going to school has been positive for our family, even though I thought it wouldn't be.

 

Not to convince you that you should try school, but to say that I've been in that place of disliking the idea of school in an intense way and feeling like I could give my kids more, so I get what you are feeling. And I also wonder if there are more options with school than you think. It's worth looking into.

 

 


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#23 Storygirl

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Posted Yesterday, 07:57 PM

About those discussions you want to have with the NT son. What is his opinion about that? Is it easy to converse with him? Does he have engaging ideas to contribute?

 

When DD15 was in 8th grade, the other three were in school, so I only had her to homeschool. The discussions that I wanted to have were stagnant, because she didn't contribute much. She would listen but not add her own thoughts. And she didn't really find it fun to sit at home and listen to me trying to draw her out. She decided she wanted to go to school for high school, and so she did. I didn't really want her to, but she has been so much more engaged and happy when she has a classroom of peers to engage with.

 

All kids are different, so your son may be really lovely to have in-depth conversations with about academics. If you aren't sure, because you haven't had much time to do it, it may be something to consider. If the conversations would be flat and stagnant and one-sided, with you spending a lot of energy trying to get him engaged, it may not be as lovely as you think.

 

I hope that is not the case, but I thought I'd mention it, just in case. One of the things that was so discouraging to me about homeschooling was that I had all of these wonderful visions of how things would go. And then it would never go that way.

 

ETA: DD15 is the sweetest girl ever, by the way, so it is not that she was unwilling or had a negative attitude. The one-on-one dynamic just did not suit her.


Edited by Storygirl, Yesterday, 07:59 PM.

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