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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 PeterPan

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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.

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#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.


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#16 PeterPan

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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.


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#17 PeterPan

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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.


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#18 PeterPan

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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.


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#19 PeterPan

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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.


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#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. 


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#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 17 November 2017 - 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 17 November 2017 - 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, 17 November 2017 - 07:59 PM.

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#24 sbgrace

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 08:55 PM

Thank you all. I"m going to try to reply again with multi-quote. 

 

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.

 

 

 

It is worth trying to figure out these issues about twin-hood. I do know he's very willing to ask for activities without his twin/his own stuff. We've accommodated that. But if ti's playing into the reluctance to try school, I don't think he's aware of it. He thinks his main driver is that he believes the time and flexibility built into homeschooling helps him achieve more in some extracurricular activities. I think he gets that idea because teammates complain a lot about homework and school hours and similar. And I have told him there would be trade offs both directions.

 

I think if he were to go, it would have to be my decision/sort of a no choice for him thing. I don't think he'll chose it himself. That doesn't mean it wouldn't be the right choice for him, though. I don't think it would be catastrophic for him with either decision.

 

One thing we can do in our school system, in high school, is take a certain number of credit hours there without enrolling full time. I don't think a lot of homeschoolers do that, but it is an option. I can also do that dual enrollment in community college in upper high school. My inclination is that he'll benefit from being taught in some kind of classroom situation at some point. I'm just not sure about full time next year, and I *think* it's impossible to enroll as a sophomore or above after being homeschooled. I'm not sure that would be ideal anyway. 

 

Your response about independent work being a worthy goal on it's own is making me think. I've had him start sitting with me for math again, and it's going faster as I can adapt (skip this because it's strong, spot check that, etc). I can also correct in the moment as he makes a ton of inattentive errors. It can be discouraging for him to do the work and then miss most problems. I need to think, though, about continuing to work him toward independence too.

 

I don't think my son would have a good experience in our schools based on past IEP evaluations. I think he would, initially anyway, get mainstreamed with no support. That is what I was told several years ago. But I may re-evaluate just to see if they would handle it differently for high school. Your situation sounds really lovely. I would take good social and emotional experience, particularly if the could try to address the issues he has, for academic results. I don't think it would work that way here, but I could be surprised. 

 

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.

 

You are saying you would enroll the child without issues before you would try to work his curriculum to be more independent? What if it was mostly independent? Well, he needs me still anyway--for thinking through tough math, for perseverance when things are tough, to check understanding/discuss, and definitely to give composition feedback and help. At this point, entirely independent isn't possible for him even if I wanted it. 

 

I don't know what my idiotproof curriculum would look like! I'm still really struggling to figure out what really matters and what would just be nice if we could. I envy (you know what I mean I hope!) that you have a someone to tutor like that. My son did qualify for a disability waiver in our state. It gives him significant services, at least in theory. The actuality is that there aren't enough providers, and almost none in my area (I did find a local behaviorist/but that's 1 hour a week/they wouldn't fund her for what you're talking about). He did, though, get into another program where I actually think he may have the hours for that, at least a couple of days a week, if the agency providing the service was just local. I was thinking today, though, that I may ask if they would or could provide those hours if I transported to them. I am going to ask. 

 

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.

 

Is there another name for Intervention Specialist? Or how would I find such a thing? I don't see that in my state (Indiana). I would love to have someone just help me figure out what I should be doing with him. If can find people who could do that, I would fund them myself. 

 

Our behaviorist is more to deal with behavior issues related to autism. I don't think she has the educational background to help much, and many of his academic issues are more from the ADHD than the autism. I think. She did suggest work x time, break x time (transitions are so hard with this!) and similar stuff. 

 

His autism related therapist strongly suggested, when I asked last week, that I pull back academics and focus on autism related stuff. I don't know think she would know what exactly I should pull back, though. I need education and special needs knowledgeable people for that I think. 

 

In my dream, though, I would pull in all his therapists and just talk about the future and how I should proceed. Maybe I could ask each one the same set of questions about this, even setting appt time just for that. 

 

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.

 

I want to find an IS like you describe! I just can't figure out who that would be here. Would the school know?

 

I did an IEP process with him a few years ago. They gave him nothing (extended time on tests, 1/2 hour with autism coordinator per semester, I think modified homework). Nothing else. And they couldn't even really test him completely due to attention and hyperfocus and all his stuff. They told me I would need to enroll him and let him fail. I think the answer now would be the same. In fact, I have a close friend who is a school psych around here. She tells me that they have to turn down kids all the time who clearly have issues and are struggling but aren't failing.  He does have doctors would request modified school days if needed. I just can't see it being good for him. But maybe the process would be helpful, now that he's older approaching high school. I may ask my friend what she thinks. Or just try it and see. 

 

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

 

Yes. But..it's just hard for a 13 year old to know his own motivations, especially underlying, I think. There is also jealousy between my kids (one way, he gets away with things I don't or, the other kid, he gets to do things that I don't.) 

 

 

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. 

 

I've been kind of disappointed in the therapies we get over-all. I had real hope with SLP, and was really clear with what I wanted (academic and social), and she worked mainly on articulation (really..) and occasionally behaviorist type things that had value, I guess, except her approach was ick. But she would come to me and say things like "We walked past two therapists--one he knew--and he blurted out hi to Tina, interrupting their conversation. This is just basic manners." or "He keeps touching things on my desk during therapy, even though I've clearly told him to stop--he needs to be told to keep his hands to himself." It was like she had no clue about the impulsive side of ADHD or the socially unaware side of moderate autism. She treated everything like a discipline issue, and constantly corrected/scolded. He hated it. I was really disappointed, and finally pulled him out. 

 

I need to find good people. It would definitely help to have someone sort out what he should be doing, academically and special needs wise. But I'm not sure how to find this here. I think everyone on his team would agree (I've asked some actually), that we need to streamline academics and focus on special needs. But I don't know that any of them have ability to help me prioritize/streamline. I don't know who could help. 

 

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. 

 

Good questions! I think the biggest thing is that he tends to give up easily. If something is hard, he tends to wait to talk to me rather than try to puzzle through himself. 

 

He's got good ability to prioritize his time and stay on task to get things done. He starts his independent work (math, grammar, CLE reading, history, and composition assignment if I teach/assign it) and gets it all done without any input from me to get him started or keep him going. Sometimes he rushes, and quality suffers. But generally his work is good, outside of skipping anything that takes too much thinking to "work with you mom." He also gets whatever he needs to do for extracurricular activities stuff done on his own. Sometimes he needs a push to work, but, once he has a plan, he's good to proceed. 

 

So part of the issue is science, composition, Latin, and literature outside of CLE reading are all things that need me....and they just aren't happening--some not at all, others not much.  I don't know how good he would be about self teaching some of this stuff. I mean to learn from a text you have to push/re-read/make sure you understand. That takes an effort that's beyond get it done/check it off. This might or might not be an issue. It's something he needs to learn, if, as I suspect, it's weak.  I don't know. He's matured a lot in the last 6 months, and he does history on his own. But history and science are a different kind of reading. I'm not sure he would do with independent science--it takes more effort to make sure you understand. I know he benefits from my going through new or more difficult Algebra with him, even if the text is supposed to be self teaching. 

 

He loves to read. He likes history. He doesn't like science, but we've been so spotty, that I don't know if that would improve with the right curriculum. 

 

Composition is probably his most difficult area in just natural ability. He generally likes to write, and I am comparing him to his twin who probably naturally excels in that area. But he's got room for improvement for sure. He needs feedback from me and just more writing practice (we've been spotty because the composition ideas I've had need me, and it takes a lot of time to review and give feedback)!  

 

He does a lot of writing as team lead for his robotics team this year. That's been really good for him, as he's motivated to do well.  I've helped edit, and I think he's doing a better job of self editing than at the beginning of the year. But he still needs feedback on his writing, needs to improve in editing/re-writing what he writes instead of being done because it's finished, and he just needs more practice. 

 

He likes to discuss, particularly things where there is some sort of debate or two side. We were doing some of Stanford's free source document history lessons for a while, until time with brother just ballooned. He really liked that. He likes to discuss news or articles in Scholastic magazine, and enjoyed when we were doing fallacies work (also fell out when his brother got hard). I don't know! I just know I want him to have some of that, not all pencil/paper stuff. I want to stretch him. 

 

 

 

 

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. 

 

True. Maybe I have't really dealt with some things fully or properly. I probably haven't. I have a lot of guilt or something in me. His autism therapist suggested maybe I come to see her on my own. Maybe that would help.

 

You're right about now better than 18/19. Is there a way to do that without sending NT kid to school? I mean it's going to happen in terms of driving for sure. I imagine doing community college in high school too. This is so hard for me to think about. I do need to be ready. It's hard to watch kids hurt. 

You have brought up so much in this thread that I didn't consider twin wise. I really appreciate your perspectives on this. I need to process more about it. 

 

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.

 

I think I am going to do the IEP process again with special needs kid. Just to see what they offer now. I wish I could just know ahead of time if I would end up feeling like you or it would be a regret. I have major concerns about special needs kid. 

 

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.

 

 

Ha! That's a good point. It's very likely actually that he wouldn't be as interested as I hope he would. I may just try and see. If I knew it wouldn't work, it would guide me in thinking about curriculum at least! 


Edited by sbgrace, 20 November 2017 - 09:16 PM.


#25 Lecka

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 07:00 AM

On the independent work -- I have mixed feelings. It is a very school-type goal, because they want kids to have more stamina and need less help to stay on task.

But on the side of, not just encouraging kids to be engaged, focus, do the work, etc..... that is separate from really helping with the material. I mean, they go together, but it is one thing to teach material and one thing to be more just handholding for stuff that could be done independently if the child did independent work in this area (if it's a non-preferred area).

So kinda realistically for my son, translating into what my son might have in school.... probably he would get 20 maybe 30 minutes a day of tutoring/help for new material, and then he would have seatwork of recently learned material, and review, but they would be slow to give new material as independent sestwork, and they would be slow to advance him in the curriculum. And then I could help him at home and he would possibly move through the curriculum faster if I sat with him and practiced some newer problems at home. But I wouldn't have to teach new material and I wouldn't have to see that he did independent work.

Anyway that is about how it goes right now with my son who is 9.

I think there are big trade-offs to it, because I do think stuff is covered less quickly. On the other hand independent work is nice too. Independent work on brand new material -- that is not realistic for my son. But things go slower than they could go!

It's more just -- I think if he did to go school, they would make independent work a goal... not that it would be all independent, but if he currently doesn't have independent work in math, he might spend 1/3 or 1/2 of the time doing independent work, the most advanced he could do independently plus review, and just move through the curriculum slower. And then at home I can do more to help.

I don't know if it would be this way, but it is possible.

Another possibility that is not ideal, is if he is supposed to move through the curriculum at the normal speed, is he could get helped too much and not really understand it. This happens sometimes too.

Either one is something to watch out for, or accept as a compromise of school.

And a lot of lovely things my son really needs to have as a priority -- it does come at the expense of time spent on math!!!!!!!

I gave up on keeping up with grade level math at the end of 1st grade -- and it is a pretty depressing thing to do. My son didn't have the number sense he needed to have though, so it was just time to stop. And now he's about 1/2 year to 1 year behind.... and on track to be about a year behind, farther behind with word problems.... It is a pretty depressing kind of decision to make. It sounds like what the autism therapist is mentioning for you as a possibility, but if you do spend more time on autism stuff you may spend less time on academics. At school ime they will still kind-of leave this to parents to decide. I know another parent with a similar situation to me kept her son in grade level math and they help him a lot at home.

Edited by Lecka, 21 November 2017 - 07:16 AM.

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#26 Lecka

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 08:42 AM

Anyway, what I mean is -- I don't necessarily think independent work is so awesome. It is more -- I do think at school it would be a goal or something to do for part of math time, even if it is at the expense of forward progress.

It's also something where at school aides may help too much and so it's a way to make sure kids are doing some things independent, and I think parents are more aware at home, and more flexible, and have a lot less pressure to "make x get done so we can move on to y" and that is stuff that can lead to kids being overhelped at school.

But this is all stuff I think would come up if you talk to people at school, I think they know pros and cons and things to watch out for.

But it's not that I think "oh it's the best." It's just a school thing.

Edited by Lecka, 21 November 2017 - 08:43 AM.

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#27 Terabith

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 09:16 AM

Being able to do some stuff independently is important. But my kids at school are not asked to teach new material to themselves. There is significant help on new stuff. When I sent them to school, I realized that I had been asking them to do more independently than the school asked, because I needed them to work independently while I worked with their sibling. And it was okay, but they were so relieved at school to not have to do that. At school there would be other kids who didn’t understand things, which boosted their self confidence tremendously. And other kids asked questions they had, so it wasn’t always on them when they didn’t understand. It was something I hadn’t anticipated being so much of a relief.
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#28 Lecka

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 01:58 PM

That is a good point! I do think my son benefits that way, too, and I hadn't thought of it that way.

#29 kbutton

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 02:07 PM

kbutton, on 16 Nov 2017 - 1:33 PM, said:snapback.png

 

sbgrace, on 16 Nov 2017 - 09:09 AM, said:snapback.png

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. 

 

I've been kind of disappointed in the therapies we get over-all. I had real hope with SLP, and was really clear with what I wanted (academic and social), and she worked mainly on articulation (really..) and occasionally behaviorist type things that had value, I guess, except her approach was ick. But she would come to me and say things like "We walked past two therapists--one he knew--and he blurted out hi to Tina, interrupting their conversation. This is just basic manners." or "He keeps touching things on my desk during therapy, even though I've clearly told him to stop--he needs to be told to keep his hands to himself." It was like she had no clue about the impulsive side of ADHD or the socially unaware side of moderate autism. She treated everything like a discipline issue, and constantly corrected/scolded. He hated it. I was really disappointed, and finally pulled him out. 

 

I need to find good people. It would definitely help to have someone sort out what he should be doing, academically and special needs wise. But I'm not sure how to find this here. I think everyone on his team would agree (I've asked some actually), that we need to streamline academics and focus on special needs. But I don't know that any of them have ability to help me prioritize/streamline. I don't know who could help. 

 

That is totally frustrating! That's not autism friendly at all!

 

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. 

 

Good questions! I think the biggest thing is that he tends to give up easily. If something is hard, he tends to wait to talk to me rather than try to puzzle through himself. 

 

He's got good ability to prioritize his time and stay on task to get things done. He starts his independent work (math, grammar, CLE reading, history, and composition assignment if I teach/assign it) and gets it all done without any input from me to get him started or keep him going. Sometimes he rushes, and quality suffers. But generally his work is good, outside of skipping anything that takes too much thinking to "work with you mom." He also gets whatever he needs to do for extracurricular activities stuff done on his own. Sometimes he needs a push to work, but, once he has a plan, he's good to proceed. 

 

So part of the issue is science, composition, Latin, and literature outside of CLE reading are all things that need me....and they just aren't happening--some not at all, others not much.  I don't know how good he would be about self teaching some of this stuff. I mean to learn from a text you have to push/re-read/make sure you understand. That takes an effort that's beyond get it done/check it off. This might or might not be an issue. It's something he needs to learn, if, as I suspect, it's weak.  I don't know. He's matured a lot in the last 6 months, and he does history on his own. But history and science are a different kind of reading. I'm not sure he would do with independent science--it takes more effort to make sure you understand. I know he benefits from my going through new or more difficult Algebra with him, even if the text is supposed to be self teaching. 

 

He loves to read. He likes history. He doesn't like science, but we've been so spotty, that I don't know if that would improve with the right curriculum. 

 

Composition is probably his most difficult area in just natural ability. He generally likes to write, and I am comparing him to his twin who probably naturally excels in that area. But he's got room for improvement for sure. He needs feedback from me and just more writing practice (we've been spotty because the composition ideas I've had need me, and it takes a lot of time to review and give feedback)!  

 

He does a lot of writing as team lead for his robotics team this year. That's been really good for him, as he's motivated to do well.  I've helped edit, and I think he's doing a better job of self editing than at the beginning of the year. But he still needs feedback on his writing, needs to improve in editing/re-writing what he writes instead of being done because it's finished, and he just needs more practice. 

 

He likes to discuss, particularly things where there is some sort of debate or two side. We were doing some of Stanford's free source document history lessons for a while, until time with brother just ballooned. He really liked that. He likes to discuss news or articles in Scholastic magazine, and enjoyed when we were doing fallacies work (also fell out when his brother got hard). I don't know! I just know I want him to have some of that, not all pencil/paper stuff. I want to stretch him. 

 

kbutton, on 16 Nov 2017 - 1:33 PM, said:snapback.png

 

sbgrace, on 16 Nov 2017 - 09:09 AM, said:snapback.png

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. 

 

I've been kind of disappointed in the therapies we get over-all. I had real hope with SLP, and was really clear with what I wanted (academic and social), and she worked mainly on articulation (really..) and occasionally behaviorist type things that had value, I guess, except her approach was ick. But she would come to me and say things like "We walked past two therapists--one he knew--and he blurted out hi to Tina, interrupting their conversation. This is just basic manners." or "He keeps touching things on my desk during therapy, even though I've clearly told him to stop--he needs to be told to keep his hands to himself." It was like she had no clue about the impulsive side of ADHD or the socially unaware side of moderate autism. She treated everything like a discipline issue, and constantly corrected/scolded. He hated it. I was really disappointed, and finally pulled him out. 

 

I need to find good people. It would definitely help to have someone sort out what he should be doing, academically and special needs wise. But I'm not sure how to find this here. I think everyone on his team would agree (I've asked some actually), that we need to streamline academics and focus on special needs. But I don't know that any of them have ability to help me prioritize/streamline. I don't know who could help. 

 

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. 

 

Good questions! I think the biggest thing is that he tends to give up easily. If something is hard, he tends to wait to talk to me rather than try to puzzle through himself. 

 

He's got good ability to prioritize his time and stay on task to get things done. He starts his independent work (math, grammar, CLE reading, history, and composition assignment if I teach/assign it) and gets it all done without any input from me to get him started or keep him going. Sometimes he rushes, and quality suffers. But generally his work is good, outside of skipping anything that takes too much thinking to "work with you mom." He also gets whatever he needs to do for extracurricular activities stuff done on his own. Sometimes he needs a push to work, but, once he has a plan, he's good to proceed. 

 

So part of the issue is science, composition, Latin, and literature outside of CLE reading are all things that need me....and they just aren't happening--some not at all, others not much.  I don't know how good he would be about self teaching some of this stuff. I mean to learn from a text you have to push/re-read/make sure you understand. That takes an effort that's beyond get it done/check it off. This might or might not be an issue. It's something he needs to learn, if, as I suspect, it's weak.  I don't know. He's matured a lot in the last 6 months, and he does history on his own. But history and science are a different kind of reading. I'm not sure he would do with independent science--it takes more effort to make sure you understand. I know he benefits from my going through new or more difficult Algebra with him, even if the text is supposed to be self teaching. 

 

He loves to read. He likes history. He doesn't like science, but we've been so spotty, that I don't know if that would improve with the right curriculum. 

 

Composition is probably his most difficult area in just natural ability. He generally likes to write, and I am comparing him to his twin who probably naturally excels in that area. But he's got room for improvement for sure. He needs feedback from me and just more writing practice (we've been spotty because the composition ideas I've had need me, and it takes a lot of time to review and give feedback)!  

 

He does a lot of writing as team lead for his robotics team this year. That's been really good for him, as he's motivated to do well.  I've helped edit, and I think he's doing a better job of self editing than at the beginning of the year. But he still needs feedback on his writing, needs to improve in editing/re-writing what he writes instead of being done because it's finished, and he just needs more practice. 

 

He likes to discuss, particularly things where there is some sort of debate or two side. We were doing some of Stanford's free source document history lessons for a while, until time with brother just ballooned. He really liked that. He likes to discuss news or articles in Scholastic magazine, and enjoyed when we were doing fallacies work (also fell out when his brother got hard). I don't know! I just know I want him to have some of that, not all pencil/paper stuff. I want to stretch him. 

 



#30 kbutton

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 02:08 PM

I will comment more later, OP, but I am having trouble with the screen scrolling every time I type in the reply. Grr...


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#31 sbgrace

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 02:24 PM

I so appreciate you all taking time to respond to me in this thread previously. It's really helped. The last few of weeks have been hard in many ways. So I still need to think on all of it. I am going to break on school for a week, we could all use it, and just try to get my head around stuff. 

 

Any thoughts on this plan? 

 

I am going to try work boxes or similar for special needs kid. I think the visual would help him feel less overwhelmed. 

 

For him, I really need to get the "must do" of school down to a manageable amount of time. I also need work in daily special needs focus without overwhelming.

 

Special Needs Work: I think he needs most to work on task initiation and sustained attention (those "travel together" for him I think/improving one improves the other probably--I have interval tones and can work this into his school work) and on emotional regulation (find calming/regulating things that he will willingly do regularly and that work for him as first goal). Flexibility is a major issue. I was doing Unstuck and On Target, but we stopped because we couldn't get the emotional regulation piece.  I do have Mighteor to try to address this, but we need tools too. Mindfulness? Tai Chi (I have a beginners dvd)? Back to Unstuck and On Target?

 

I feel both the focus work and learning to regulate internally would help with the sleep. Yesterday he had a lot of trouble focusing his mind, and he seemed keyed up so to speak. Last night sleep was hard for him--it feels like a continuation of the day.  Today it's the same. Yellow zone in zones talk. You can see it. 

 

I try to do too much sometimes though. But I feel this intense pressure in that I only "have him" for a 4 more years. There is so much that needs addressed.  I'm babbling. 

 

School daily:

 

math (I need to switch to an Algebra that can be stopped when he's off and picked up the next day I think?? He's really capable of learning this--it's just that he makes inattentive errors, and it takes so much focus he fatigues easily, some days he just can't do that focus).

 

composition/writing (I bought EIW for short, doable composition lessons for both kids; I can work in other writing too, but I know I've struggled to be consistent--he likes to write, and is good at it)

 

maybe grammar as often as we can (bought Easy Grammar 8 for him--it looks quick, and I think he could do it without me?? Unnecessary? He's had no formal grammar in probably 3 years. He is doing IEW Fix It, but only editing--grammar talk was just too time consuming for him) I could keep Fix It editing work. He just does it once a week, so it's fit in fine so far). 

 

once a week:

CLE reading (maybe I can work discussion about setting, plot and similar beginning literary stuff into these existing lessons) 

 

I want to work toward a formal literature with him--wait a year or this isn't something to work toward for him? 

 

He can touch type well--I'm really glad we hit that hard before puberty! 

 

He does read in his free time and at night. He reads things like Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia. Should I push certain books he doesn't self select--beginning classics? Listen to them instead? 

 

As we can:

 

Science--I really wanted to have basic science knowledge in his head. We covered Earth Science last year. I was trying to do a conceptual look at physics this year, but we really haven't got to it most days. I'm going to try to make self teaching lessons based on Science Matters from what I have for NT kid. Maybe I could talk through that with special needs child too--or just leave him without good science background for now?  

 

History--I don't know--it's not happening much. He likes it, but maybe I should buy SOTW 4 on audio and just have him listen as he wants?? It's just time. I hate to drop the fun stuff. But he just doesn't tolerate long days of school. We're in early modern/Industrial Revolution. 

 

Drawing. He has some talent in this area. I wanted to give him some formal instruction. But, again, he has low tolerance for school work time/needs downtime. Maybe once a week? 

 

For NT kid:

 

-Keep current Algebra programs (daily)

 

-CLE LA for grammar 8 (daily); FLL Fix It weekly (editing only)

 

-CLE reading (weekly) (I need to adapt so we can hit/practice beginning literature stuff like identifying rising action, resolution, etc?? or should I buy something for that? I want to work toward IEW's Windows to the World, but I think he needs some basic stuff first, and I don't think I have time to do WtW with him right now) 

 

-EIW 8 Composition; I will have him do other writing too I think--I could have him complete end of chapter activities in his history text, for example, with short answers or essays if it calls for that?) I want him to write more. 

 

-Science Matters with my existing science materials if I can make this self teaching for him. I want him to run through the basics of science, but I can't do it with him outside of discussing what he's learned or having some kind of assessments built in that I review. Are there better options?

 

-I'll have him continue with Glencoe's Journey Across Time for history. He's note taking as he works through the chapters, and he's able to summarize for me what he's learning when I ask. So I think it's going ok. I may add answering end of chapter questions in writing?

 

-I have a drawing book I want him to continue to work through. 

 

-Latin....should I just wait until next year? Do another language? I have Getting Started with Latin and the first two books of So You Really Want to Learn Latin. How much would he need me for this? 

 

-Look into signing him up for an online course with discussion. This might replace something or be an add on. I'm exploring options. 

 

Does that seem like a solid 8th grade plan? I could change or add to it. He has time to do whatever I plan. I just need it to be more self directed I think. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#32 Lecka

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 03:01 PM

Does he have self-awareness of his emotional state or state of regulation? Can he tell he is in yellow?

I think some of the materials you are using might assume self-awareness, and then if he doesn't have as much self-awareness, there's more basic type stuff to develop self-awareness.

Can he identify feelings in others (even if easy, like in an easy book), can be identify his own?

If he wasn't ready for unstuck and on target before, is he more ready for it now?

I don't know but I wonder if going back to identifying emotions would work.

There are a lot of materials where my son is in the right age range and very close to the language/cognitive level, but his social awareness and his emotional awareness isn't what they would need to be for him to really use the materials.

Or maybe there is some other foundational skill? That is the one I know more about.

When he is yellow does he have physical signs that could be shown to him concretely? That is a learning strategy to try to teach the awareness.

I hear it called state of arousal, that kids can be taught to notice their physical state of arousal and then that is a clue to their emotional arousal. My son did this with a therapist but he was younger and it was one of those things -- trying to keep him from getting too wound up when he did outside play, calming down after outside play, type stuff.

And since he was changing his state of arousal by running around, it would go down by having him stand still, and then she would talk to him about how he was breathing more slowly and his heart wasn't beating as fast and things like that.

For him once he had that awareness of what people meant he seemed like he made a connection to self-regulation as far as breathing slower and slowing down.

Edited by Lecka, 30 November 2017 - 03:04 PM.

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#33 Lecka

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 03:11 PM

Two other lower-level skills.... verbal protest and asking for a break.

Can he ask for a break and then come back from a break? That is it's own thing and I think you could find stuff for "requesting a break." It does go along with self-regulation. I get like "I don't want him to just take breaks, I want him to do stuff" but really I am a convert and think it is really good.

And then verbal protest -- can be say something is wrong? This is also frustrating as who wants to work on teaching kids to complain (basically) but it is also self-expression and communication, and I think it does go along with self-regulation especially for being able to identify a problem.
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#34 OrganicJen

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 06:25 PM

I can't offer much, but I have a kiddo with adhd, generalized anxiety disorder, Tourettes, and autism and we were using Saxon for math which is spiral, and once we got to prealgebra we started having trouble. So we switched to Math u See which is concept mastery based and he's doing so much better with it and even just today he commented how he loves when he totally gets something in math and the way this math is he feels successful and like he is really getting the math.
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#35 sbgrace

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 07:15 PM

Thank you for taking the time to reply!

 

Does he have self-awareness of his emotional state or state of regulation? Can he tell he is in yellow?

 

He's done a lot of Zones and similar work--in therapy and at home both. Everyone he's worked with zeroes in on the need after a short bit. I would have said yes, he can. But after we started working on Mighteor I realized I"m not sure he really can. Without their signals, I don't think he can tell when he's calm or not calm in their games. He can't regulate his heart beat  when he tries in their system. He thinks he's breathing/calming and he's up and down and up and down in heart rate. It may be that his mind just bounces off the breathing to something more interesting constantly. I know part of it is he's almost never still, and moving makes the heart jump. 

 

He will tell me he's feeling wild or red or yellow, yes. But I am just not sure how truly tuned in he is to the signals he's getting from his body--particularly the build up ones. 

I think some of the materials you are using might assume self-awareness, and then if he doesn't have as much self-awareness, there's more basic type stuff to develop self-awareness.

Can he identify feelings in others (even if easy, like in an easy book), can be identify his own?

Some he can. He's hypersensitive to people's tone of voice--asking coaches if they are mad at him for example. He greeted a teammate at the store a few days ago and, as we were going home, he said she seemed embarrased--like she wished he hadn't greeted her. I asked why he thought that was and he said she's kind of shy and I drew attention to her. So there is awareness. He can tell me he's angry. He doesn't identify anxious well (meaning, he's clearly anxious but thinks he isn't). Most of his emotions are strong-extremely happy, extremely mad. He can identify calm-what his heart is doing in those moments, I don't know. But he'll tell me he's feeling calm. 

 

If he wasn't ready for unstuck and on target before, is he more ready for it now?

 

Maybe I'll pull it back out and look it over again. I know we stalled out because we couldn't find things that were calming and I thought OT might be able to help with that. (More zones work, little to no measurable gains and she finally released him). 

I don't know but I wonder if going back to identifying emotions would work.

 

Maybe. I know OT ran through all the zones and was working on calming. Then she told me she thought he really hadn't got the first part, and went back to identifying emotions/zones. So..maybe it's still not there. Maybe he's emerging or he can talk about it without really having it. I'll have to think on that. 

There are a lot of materials where my son is in the right age range and very close to the language/cognitive level, but his social awareness and his emotional awareness isn't what they would need to be for him to really use the materials.

Or maybe there is some other foundational skill? That is the one I know more about.

When he is yellow does he have physical signs that could be shown to him concretely? That is a learning strategy to try to teach the awareness.

 

This is a good idea. Because I suspect he can identify the red emotions and the blue/green emotions (he says he's mad or frustrated or tired or sedated or calm or alert), but I'm thinking that yellow zone--seeing things coming--is probably weaker. He can't identify anxious. 

I hear it called state of arousal, that kids can be taught to notice their physical state of arousal and then that is a clue to their emotional arousal. My son did this with a therapist but he was younger and it was one of those things -- trying to keep him from getting too wound up when he did outside play, calming down after outside play, type stuff.

And since he was changing his state of arousal by running around, it would go down by having him stand still, and then she would talk to him about how he was breathing more slowly and his heart wasn't beating as fast and things like that.

 

Mighteor should be able to help us with this. I actually thought about buying a different heart rate monitor he could just wear and get data without the tablet--maybe he could see how things change as he goes about his day.

For him once he had that awareness of what people meant he seemed like he made a connection to self-regulation as far as breathing slower and slowing down.

 

I really think he needs a sensory diet of sorts--daily things he does to keep himself regulated. He did this for a while not too long ago after a therapist suggested it, and it did seem to help regulate him (she had him doing body awareness type things--tense, relax each part--those physical type things are most helpful for him). He would visibly calm, even when angry, and always said he felt better after. Then he got resistant to my asking him to do it, and it stopped being calming and became a negative instead. Similarly, he started running. He's pretty good at it and talked about joining the cross country team. He started asking me if he could run to regulate himself--yay! Then he started seeing it as a chore and now he hates it, says it make him tired and distracted, and says it doesn't help him at all. He needs exercise to sleep, so he runs. But it's not positive anymore. And his negative pronouncements--"I'm more distracted after" are pretty powerful in terms of actual effects. 

 

Two other lower-level skills.... verbal protest and asking for a break.

Can he ask for a break and then come back from a break? That is it's own thing and I think you could find stuff for "requesting a break." It does go along with self-regulation. I get like "I don't want him to just take breaks, I want him to do stuff" but really I am a convert and think it is really good.

And then verbal protest -- can be say something is wrong? This is also frustrating as who wants to work on teaching kids to complain (basically) but it is also self-expression and communication, and I think it does go along with self-regulation especially for being able to identify a problem.

 

Oh this is hard for me. I'm glad you wrote it though. A current therapist suggested it to him, and yes he asks for breaks. It's so hard to get him back after though, that I am often let's get this done first or I see it as avoidance in the first place (It can be that for him--he took a long break, he starts math, he wants another break). But I need to make this work. He needs it, and your'e right that it's a good skill to ask for that. I just need him to regulate in that break instead of find something he'd rather be doing and then avoid coming back. And the other part is that I get about 1.5 hours, sometimes a little more, of medicated him with his short acting Ritalin. It's really hard to let him go, knowing I"m probably going to get him back unmedicated. Math is nearly impossible without Ritalin. All school, save writing, is harder without it. His therapist suggested he work 20 minutes, break 5, work 20, break 5, work 20, break 20, etc. But it felt like work 20 minutes, mostly inattentive avoidance and getting settled--accomplish little, break 5--resist coming back--have trouble getting settled, repeat. Task initiation/getting started and focus is a really weak area. That said, he's also tuning out anyway after a while. So I need to change it to something like that probably. I just hate to waste his Ritalin on break time. 

 

He can definitely tell me when something's wrong or he's unhappy. He complains a lot some days! Without sleep, he's pretty negative. 

 

I can't offer much, but I have a kiddo with adhd, generalized anxiety disorder, Tourettes, and autism and we were using Saxon for math which is spiral, and once we got to prealgebra we started having trouble. So we switched to Math u See which is concept mastery based and he's doing so much better with it and even just today he commented how he loves when he totally gets something in math and the way this math is he feels successful and like he is really getting the math.

 

That's interesting that you noticed this too. CLE is also spiral, and it worked great for him until Algebra. I will look into Math U See. Thank you!


Edited by sbgrace, 30 November 2017 - 07:20 PM.


#36 kbutton

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 01:06 PM

I didn't want to quote all the quotes, so this is about post 35. Do I remember that you can't find an XR version of meds that work for him? Just curious--my had a lot of extremes with things that were supposed to help, like breaks leading to more breaks, etc. It was very frustrating, but he was younger at the time. The XR meds have made a big difference for him as has maturity. Your son sounds like he has some self-awareness skills to work with, which is really, really helpful! 

 

Could any of this problem-solving/not sensing a build-up be somewhat a language thing? It is for my son partly, and part of it is that until he experiences the absence of something, he doesn't necessarily realize how bad it is. He is making so much progress, but for a long time, he was pretty much always in yellow as the best. He rarely made it to green. However, he did an amazing job of holding it together in that perpetual yellow state. He could often pull out green behavior and results while being pretty much in yellow. Anyway, I can't remember if the TOPS-3 was mentioned here for testing this language/problem-solving stuff, but even if you can't get that test run, there is a book that works on those skills, written by the author of the test. You might look into that giving him more tools. It sounds like he is really trying.



#37 kbutton

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 01:21 PM

Special Needs Work: I think he needs most to work on task initiation and sustained attention (those "travel together" for him I think/improving one improves the other probably--I have interval tones and can work this into his school work) and on emotional regulation (find calming/regulating things that he will willingly do regularly and that work for him as first goal). Flexibility is a major issue. I was doing Unstuck and On Target, but we stopped because we couldn't get the emotional regulation piece.  I do have Mighteor to try to address this, but we need tools too. Mindfulness? Tai Chi (I have a beginners dvd)? Back to Unstuck and On Target?

 

Regarding task initiation, could you (or he or the two of you) start leaving things "pick-up ready" for the next day? Meaning, leaving his daily to-do's ready to be picked up at a moment's notice? When I do this for myself, it makes life so much nicer--gathering supplies, packing a lunch, laying out clothes, etc. I don't do it as much as I used to. My ASD kiddo started doing this, and it makes him so much happier!!! It's hard to get "ahead" when you already feel scattered and pulled, but it could literally start with one task or subject pre-prepped. It doesn't even have to be a formal plan--just removing barriers to starting that bug him or you personally. What bugs me might not bug you, KWIM?

 

I feel both the focus work and learning to regulate internally would help with the sleep. Yesterday he had a lot of trouble focusing his mind, and he seemed keyed up so to speak. Last night sleep was hard for him--it feels like a continuation of the day.  Today it's the same. Yellow zone in zones talk. You can see it. 

 

I try to do too much sometimes though. But I feel this intense pressure in that I only "have him" for a 4 more years. There is so much that needs addressed.  I'm babbling. You're thinking out loud; it's okay!

 

School daily:

 

math (I need to switch to an Algebra that can be stopped when he's off and picked up the next day I think?? He's really capable of learning this--it's just that he makes inattentive errors, and it takes so much focus he fatigues easily, some days he just can't do that focus). There are some programs I'd not heard of in the pinned high school thread. You might check it out.

 

composition/writing (I bought EIW for short, doable composition lessons for both kids; I can work in other writing too, but I know I've struggled to be consistent--he likes to write, and is good at it)

 

maybe grammar as often as we can (bought Easy Grammar 8 for him--it looks quick, and I think he could do it without me?? Unnecessary? He's had no formal grammar in probably 3 years. He is doing IEW Fix It, but only editing--grammar talk was just too time consuming for him) I could keep Fix It editing work. He just does it once a week, so it's fit in fine so far).  My son likes the Daily Grams, so Easy Grammar seems like it could be good. He doesn't need me for much of it.

 

once a week:

CLE reading (maybe I can work discussion about setting, plot and similar beginning literary stuff into these existing lessons) 

 

I want to work toward a formal literature with him--wait a year or this isn't something to work toward for him? We are using (and so far liking) Mosdos Press a little behind. We also use The Reader's Handbook.

 

He can touch type well--I'm really glad we hit that hard before puberty! 

 

He does read in his free time and at night. He reads things like Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia. Should I push certain books he doesn't self select--beginning classics? Listen to them instead? Does he verbalize what he likes? My son likes biographical and realistic things the best. One of his favorite books ever is a horse biography about a war horse (Korean War). He's kind of all over with levels of self-selected reading. I think it's a social thing to some extent--expect it to be a little behind.

 

As we can:

 

Science--I really wanted to have basic science knowledge in his head. We covered Earth Science last year. I was trying to do a conceptual look at physics this year, but we really haven't got to it most days. I'm going to try to make self teaching lessons based on Science Matters from what I have for NT kid. Maybe I could talk through that with special needs child too--or just leave him without good science background for now?  Ellen McHenry units are very readable, and they have games and things if you wanted to take the time to pre-prep a few things. The games are very conceptual. Either way, it's very high quality instruction in do-able bites, lots of humor, and easy to read.

 

History--I don't know--it's not happening much. He likes it, but maybe I should buy SOTW 4 on audio and just have him listen as he wants?? It's just time. I hate to drop the fun stuff. But he just doesn't tolerate long days of school. We're in early modern/Industrial Revolution. We listen to SOTW, and we will be listening to Mystery of History as well. We also do podcasts. For more formal, he does Notgrass middle school, but he doesn't do the writing and not all of the literature. He loves that it's very cut and dry. He doesn't do a full year of it when we listen to SOTW and MOH. 

 

Drawing. He has some talent in this area. I wanted to give him some formal instruction. But, again, he has low tolerance for school work time/needs downtime. Maybe once a week? 

 

For NT kid:

 

-Keep current Algebra programs (daily)

 

-CLE LA for grammar 8 (daily); FLL Fix It weekly (editing only)

 

-CLE reading (weekly) (I need to adapt so we can hit/practice beginning literature stuff like identifying rising action, resolution, etc?? or should I buy something for that? I want to work toward IEW's Windows to the World, but I think he needs some basic stuff first, and I don't think I have time to do WtW with him right now) The Reader's Handbook could be great for this. There is also a series by the same publisher that basically is workbooks that implement The Reader's Handbook. But it's not the same title. BTW, for Reader's Handbook, you only need the student book. Used copies online are super good prices. They have several levels that span late elem, middle school, and high school. Very good reference for these things. Mosdos is also excellent and has workbooks. 

 

-EIW 8 Composition; I will have him do other writing too I think--I could have him complete end of chapter activities in his history text, for example, with short answers or essays if it calls for that?) I want him to write more. 

 

-Science Matters with my existing science materials if I can make this self teaching for him. I want him to run through the basics of science, but I can't do it with him outside of discussing what he's learned or having some kind of assessments built in that I review. Are there better options? I don't know this curriculum, but you can reference what I said about Ellen McHenry units. She has review, games, and assessments.

 

-I'll have him continue with Glencoe's Journey Across Time for history. He's note taking as he works through the chapters, and he's able to summarize for me what he's learning when I ask. So I think it's going ok. I may add answering end of chapter questions in writing?

 

-I have a drawing book I want him to continue to work through. 

 

-Latin....should I just wait until next year? Do another language? I have Getting Started with Latin and the first two books of So You Really Want to Learn Latin. How much would he need me for this? 

 

-Look into signing him up for an online course with discussion. This might replace something or be an add on. I'm exploring options. 

 

Does that seem like a solid 8th grade plan? I could change or add to it. He has time to do whatever I plan. I just need it to be more self directed I think. 

 



#38 kbutton

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 01:26 PM

 

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. 

 

Good questions! I think the biggest thing is that he tends to give up easily. If something is hard, he tends to wait to talk to me rather than try to puzzle through himself. I think this is pretty typical for his age. 

 

He's got good ability to prioritize his time and stay on task to get things done. He starts his independent work (math, grammar, CLE reading, history, and composition assignment if I teach/assign it) and gets it all done without any input from me to get him started or keep him going. Sometimes he rushes, and quality suffers. But generally his work is good, outside of skipping anything that takes too much thinking to "work with you mom." He also gets whatever he needs to do for extracurricular activities stuff done on his own. Sometimes he needs a push to work, but, once he has a plan, he's good to proceed. 

 

So part of the issue is science, composition, Latin, and literature outside of CLE reading are all things that need me....and they just aren't happening--some not at all, others not much.  I don't know how good he would be about self teaching some of this stuff. I mean to learn from a text you have to push/re-read/make sure you understand. That takes an effort that's beyond get it done/check it off. This might or might not be an issue. It's something he needs to learn, if, as I suspect, it's weak.  I don't know. He's matured a lot in the last 6 months, and he does history on his own. But history and science are a different kind of reading. I'm not sure he would do with independent science--it takes more effort to make sure you understand. I know he benefits from my going through new or more difficult Algebra with him, even if the text is supposed to be self teaching. Can you do these on a rolling schedule? Have some independent, but set aside one or two times per week that you discuss stuff with him, and rotate that discussion through these subjects. That would ensure that all of them get some attention from you.

 

He loves to read. He likes history. He doesn't like science, but we've been so spotty, that I don't know if that would improve with the right curriculum. 

 

Composition is probably his most difficult area in just natural ability. He generally likes to write, and I am comparing him to his twin who probably naturally excels in that area. But he's got room for improvement for sure. He needs feedback from me and just more writing practice (we've been spotty because the composition ideas I've had need me, and it takes a lot of time to review and give feedback)!  

 

He does a lot of writing as team lead for his robotics team this year. That's been really good for him, as he's motivated to do well.  I've helped edit, and I think he's doing a better job of self editing than at the beginning of the year. But he still needs feedback on his writing, needs to improve in editing/re-writing what he writes instead of being done because it's finished, and he just needs more practice. Can you have him do more "practical" writing that provides structure just to get more out of him? (Lab reports, status reports he sends to you, etc.?) Just doing more might help, and if it's very practical, it might be somewhat self-correcting. It either does what it should, or it doesn't vs. writing where you have to really express your thoughts.

 

He likes to discuss, particularly things where there is some sort of debate or two side. We were doing some of Stanford's free source document history lessons for a while, until time with brother just ballooned. He really liked that. He likes to discuss news or articles in Scholastic magazine, and enjoyed when we were doing fallacies work (also fell out when his brother got hard). I don't know! I just know I want him to have some of that, not all pencil/paper stuff. I want to stretch him. We are struggling just a little on our end with this too, but we have a tutor to help. It's hard.

 

 



#39 Lecka

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 01:36 PM

I have two main comments. 

 

One, he has a huge need to identify when he feels anxious.  I think you are seeing that from what you wrote!  This is a harder one to identify for kids, it doesn't have an exact moment of "this is when I started feeling anxious" and it may not be an easy cause/effect to realize "this is why I am feeling anxious."  So it is really normal that recognizing anxiety is harder. 

 

Okay, this isn't my son's profile.  But I have heard about this profile at parent support groups.  In the school district we used to live in, first off kids took anxiety medicine, routinely, as young as 1st grade, and had satisfactory results.  Not like you hear from parents who had extremely good responses to ADHD medication, not like that at all.  But just -- getting kids to a place where they are capable of using their other strategies ---- yes, I hear it helps that.

 

Secondly, they LOVED Kari Dunn Buron for anxiety and autism.  She is kind-of included in Zones and they didn't use Zones (it was new?  they already had a thing going with Kari Dunn Buron that people at multiple schools were familiar with and was working?).  (So -- not to say, it's definitely better than Zones... just sharing.) 

 

I own "When my worries get too big" and ----- it doesn't do anything for my kid at this point.  But I have it because they gave me a free copy, because they like it.  So I can quote some of it:  ""When I am thinking about my favorite things, I am so relaxed.  My worries are at a 1 or 2.  When I know what is going to happen or I really like what I am doing, I am most definitely at a 1 or 2.  But sometimes I worry too much, like when I first get on the bus and I don't know where to sit.  When I worry too much, my worries are at a 4.  Sometimes a 4 makes my stomach hurt.  Sometimes I worry way too much, like when I think I am going to recess and it gets cancelled!  This is a 5.  Now my worries are TOO BIG!"

 

Now -- this is the littler-kid book from her.  But my understanding is they try to write an individualized social story type thing, saying things that make the child anxious, and how they feel (including thoughts and physical symptoms).  They they refer to the individualized book.  Then they have a scale 1-5.  My understanding is that this 1-5 scale correlates with zones -- but it has, like, numbers for "a little yellow, medium yellow, a lot yellow, almost red."  That's my impression. 

 

So ----- they are trying to use it as a teaching tool for identifying anxiety and also identifying how anxious kids are (and are they getting more anxious or less anxious) and then strategies related to how anxious they are.  Like -- do you want to self-calm at this point, or ask for help from a teacher, or tell a teacher you really need help, etc. 

 

So can you get that from Zones, if you focus on self-awareness? 

 

And just for self-awareness, you are looking at a process, probably, where you start by identifying what you think is going on and why you think that ("I notice that.... so I think.....").  Then you do it together, where you might notice the things but he draws the conclusion, or something, and if you identify a number you do it together, and decide on the coping technique to try together.   And only THEN do you go up to wanting him to do this independently from noticing there is a problem, identifying the problem, deciding what to do about the problem, acting on that.  That is VERY advanced.  And anxiety is hard to identify so kids may stay on that step even while they are being more joint on other parts of the process.  For school sometimes they have kids do a self-check and circle a number on a schedule (like -- once an hour).  That is VERY advanced.  A lot of kids would be on that in middle school or even in 2nd grade ----- but many kids aren't on that even in middle school, they are still having frequent teacher check-ins.  And then maybe they go to half teacher check-ins and half self-checks and see how that goes.  Anyway ---- it would NOT be unusual at all for a middle schooler to be having frequent teacher check-ins. 

 

So anyway ----- that is what I have heard about wrt anxiety.   



#40 Lecka

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 01:58 PM

Then on "taking breaks."  Okay, I *absolutely* know what you mean about not wanting this to be just a means of task avoidance.  Right? Right?  I completely get this.  Totally.  To be fully doing a "taking a break" strategy, it DOES include "return to the task."  It does include that step. 

 

My son did a massive, multi-month (getting into multi-year) "taking a break" thing with ABA.  Just ------ it was a massive undertaking. 

 

And it is so frustrating, because when the/a goal is "taking a break," for us -- my son spent a LOT of time taking breaks, and it really seemed to cut into his "time on task."  To me, at least.  I would want to scream, because it is just ----- come on, he is taking a break.  How about some forward movement in his goals, you know? 

 

But then I read a behavior book (maybe this book or the sequel: Stop that seemingly senseless behavior, or Making sense of seemingly senseless behavior, by Beth Glasberg).  She lists "asking for a break" as a *Top Ten* intervention for reducing problem behavior.  That made me take it a lot more seriously, because her other things on the top ten list were things that were obviously very good to me. 

 

Anyway ---- there are ABA protocols for the whole "taking a break" sequence all the way up to "return to the task."  It exists. 

 

It's just ----- for us at least, we didn't get anywhere near that for a LONG TIME.  And in the meantime if the little sequential goal was "request a break in a situation where previously he did an avoidant behavior" then he would be doing a good job just for asking for a break instead of doing one of his avoidant behaviors.  And then it's like ---- okay, he basically just did another avoidant behavior, at that point.  Except ---- we WANT him to ask for a break.  And then ----- they would still manage to get him to complete the task ------ they would make sure their demands were low at this time so that he could definitely complete the task without it being a real "this is too hard" task avoidance kind of thing. 

 

And then the other thing, is that during a break kids are only supposed to do a neutral activity.  They are NOT supposed to do a preferred activity until *after the original task is complete.*  Well -- that was confusing to me for a long time.  I'm still not super-understanding of that concept.  Anyway ----- if it is a break, it is supposed to *just be a break* and it isn't supposed to be a chance to do the preferred activity they would really like to do..... and so that keeps it from being so hard to transition back to work from a break, and keeps the big pay-off for completing the task and getting the preferred activity (or the token or the satisfaction of completing the task, wherever you are on that internal/external rewards for task completion, which again we are trying to be moving towards internal motivation but we aren't there if we aren't there). 

 

Anyway the woman who did this with my son was very highly skilled.  And she did this kind of thing a lot, too.  I think it takes a high skill level, or supervision by somebody with a high skill level, if there are issues on this, because I think it is really hard and really picky.  But I think it is out there and exists. 

 

But the problem, for us at least, was that for us, it was a LONG time before we were hearing "he has gotten to a point with asking for a break, that we can tell him, no, you need to wait until x, y, z, and then you can take a break."  That is what is really functional, with an understanding that sometimes there are times you don't wait even if it is a bad time.  But what is really functional is to finish something or wait for a certain time for a break (when this is reasonable, I mean).  It took a LONG time for us to get to that point for sometimes when it would be reasonable. 

 

And in the meantime, for us, if my son asked for a break then we needed to give positive feedback to him and so he got to take a break.... because we didn't want him to revert back to his other avoidant behavior strategies.... because he would be perfectly happy to do that at the time.... so it is like ------ maybe I don't want him to take a break, or think it's a good time, or think it's necessary, but because I am committed to him becoming proficient with this strategy and not using other avoidant behaviors instead....... well I guess I am going to give a break whenever he asks, and do it according to the current recommendation of the ABA therapist (because she adjusted it to be a little bit harder every 2-3 months). 

 

Anyway it was very frustrating to me, but at the same time, I have seen it be really good for my son.  It really has been good for him.  And it did cut down on other avoidant behaviors pretty early.  Yes he still had avoidant behaviors when it was time to get back on task, but then it is like ---- we go from there to follow the ABA therapist's recommendations for when this happens.  So it isn't like it just solved that issue.  But over time it did help. 

 

And it does go along with independence, task completion, and frustration tolerance, and those were certainly huge goals for us, too, at the same time, and they do all go together. 

 

But I also think ---- you can ask your therapists you see, what is the top goal you see for my son right now?  Or, what is the one area where, if there was improvement, would give the biggest overall boost?  And then, if you get answers for that, you can ask them all what their top strategies to try would be, for him?  Plus getting ideas here.  They know him and it goes a long way. 

 

Edit:  And then the thing is, too, this is a really behavioral approach, and it might not be what you would want for your son who may have anxiety.  There are different things to do with anxiety.  But at the same time ---- maybe you would still like him to be able to take a break and then return to the task, but it is in a way that works more for kids who have anxiety ----- I think however you go from Point A to Point B, if asking for a break is on a Top Ten list of strategies for behavior issues, I just think -- it is probably worth trying.  But at the same time ----- with anxiety it might be different or you might work on it but not using a behavioral method so much. 

 

Edit again:  The other issue is task demand, and for us task demand was reduced while we worked on this stuff (and frustration tolerance).  Because if you can't ask for a break (in my son's case) you probably can't handle too much as far as task demand because of frustration tolerance anyway.  At least my son also had very low frustration tolerance.  Anyway ---- if you have some things you want to get done, you might (I don't know ---- might) get feedback that your task demand isn't appropriate for while you are working on taking-a-break.  Because they will want your tasks to have demands that aren't too high.  Or else they will want you to pair the demands to reinforcement (which we have been able to do for some things my son used to absolutely hate, but again this is pretty time-consuming).  But anyway ------ you might have to think about cutting back on non-preferred tasks to work on some of this.  I mean ---- I don't know, but maybe.  Some combination of cutting back on non-preferred tasks and trying to increase positive associations with non-preferred tasks.  Which ---- one way to do that is to shorten the time and end on success.  Which is nice and everything, but it is SLOW. 

 

Anyway I have conflicted feelings about it even though I think it is good.... it is just hard to make it a top priority, and does it need to be a top priority?  I don't even know.  But if maybe it needs to be a priority, then a lot of other things become things where maybe there are a lot of breaks.  Or maybe "well, we just need to focus on having more preferred tasks while we focus on this."  Like -- I know it is good, but it is just frustrating. 


Edited by Lecka, 01 December 2017 - 02:12 PM.


#41 Lecka

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 07:34 AM

I have been thinking about this, because I understand the "breaks leading to more breaks" comment from another poster. I think that is a really valid comment and I think it depends a lot on where a kid is, what is appropriate.

My son is in a special education placement and so I see what I see. I do know too some kids who are in all regular classes with just a bit of support, but that's not what I would mean right now.

A huge problem I see is when mom regulates the kid, and there doesn't start to be that give-and-take between mom or the aide regulates the kid, and the kid regulates the kid.

And I'm not saying every kid is going to need no support, that's not realistic at all.

But I do think for me, the breaks thing really was a way for us to go from other people regulating my son, to him regulating himself, and having some experience of regulating himself, when the default at the time *really* was him being regulated by others *all the time* or else previously he would not do well and just required, truly required, lots of help to regulate.

I think there are a lot of ways that parents who have legitimately needed to be extremely and appropriately and *beneficially* helping to regulate their kids, to start to have the child do more of the regulating and the parent or aide do less of the regulating.

Now the thing is, for my son it was all the time. It was NOT only academics. I think when it's just academics that is a different situation. Plenty of kids are well-regulated except for academics. That was not my son; and I know other kids too where it is not just academics.

Anyway -- I do see this sometimes with kids who don't self-regulate as well, that they are very used to someone else stepping in to regulate them, and they would need help to move to being more independent in self-regulating. And this can come up at school with it being easier to just have the day go smoothly and have certain items be accomplished.

I think also it is a messy process and it is also hard because it is not something that has the same kind of visible accomplishment as a lot of other things. And then at the same time as there isn't a visible accomplishment, there can also be a slowing down in other areas that do have visible accomplishments.

But I can also see little signs of kids having more self-regulation and it's something I notice now, because I have seen it with more kids and I can tell when they are making progress.

Then the other side is ---- if the child is self-regulating and makes a poor choice, then ---- that is a new thing to deal with. When somebody else is regulating the child then anlot kf poor choices don't happen because the parent or the aide is managing things and the poor choice doesn't happen.

The thing is -- this way of doing things is totally, completely the right way to do things for a lot of younger kids who have autism. It is needed and beneficial.

But I see 8- 9- 10- year olds who have made amazing progress, because of their involved mom, but then now the mom is still running interference constantly and out to prevent every negative experience. I understand that because it is the right way to be with a younger kid and with some older kids and with all kids some of the time.

But I do see kids my son's age now where it is still the mom regulating the kid, and even they expect and want the school to regulate the kid bc that is how they think things will go well for their child.

But the problem is, when others are regulating the child, the child isn't having the same opportunity to regulate himself, and make choices.

And then if there is choice for the child, sometimes the child isn't going to do what they are supposed to do, and then -- that gets into maybe the child has a consequence, and then that is just a whole can of worms that can be somewhat avoided when the child just isn't given the opportunity to make a poor choice.

A lot of teachers and therapists are willing to do the messy thing and really try to look at this and how kids can do more to self-regulate over time.

There is a model where at first adults regulate the child, and then there is a long joint regulation process with kids doing a little more and adults doing a little less over time, and then there is self-regulation at a level that is developmentally appropriate (for a typical peer). Now I'm not saying everyone is able to self-regulate at the level of a typical peer, but just doing a little more over time I think does go a long way. And some kids will fight it because it isn't what they are used to (so it is a change and that can be really hard) or because it comes across like they are receiving less attention (and then they may have to work more on how to receive attention or interact, and that is something that can also be worked around with still doing a lot but in a way where the child self-regulates a little more). Those are things I am aware of anyway.

I also get feedback from other people that I need to do a little less because my son is capable. I think that is easy for other people to say sometimes, and often not accurate. When I hear it from a therapist or teacher where I know they get it -- then I try to see what they see.

It is especially hard when there are pressures from people who don't understand and either are too critical of kids needing support and more parent involvement than other kids the same age, and also when there are people who don't understand that sometimes things will be a little messier with the child doing it more independently, but that doesn't mean that the mom is lazy or uncaring if she doesn't step in and fix things.

But I try to ignore those things and listen to advice from people on the same page as me, which tends to be people working with kids with autism.