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Balancing an Aspie and other children?


DawnM
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I have an issue I am not sure how to tackle.

 

My Aspie is almost 12. We have him doing 5th grade work for the most part, although his reading and writing is really more 3rd or 4th grade. That is fine, that is his ability.

 

But I also have a 10 year old who is not Aspie and can academically perform at a 4th grade level without effort.

 

My issue comes with my expectations. My 4th grader feels he has to do more work and gets irritated with that. My Aspie gets upset and frustrated that he can't do what my 4th grader does.

 

I have tried and tried to explain that we all have different abilities (Aspie excells in math where my 4th grader doesn't), but when it comes to actual writing/spelling/reading, my Aspie just LOSES it when he can't perform as well as my 4th grader.

 

What more can I do?

 

Dawn

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I had to completely separate my Aspie from his younger sister - he does his work in his bedroom at a desk, and my daughter does her work at her desk in the kitchen. We no longer do any subjects together, and they use completely different books for school.

 

We tried the "you each have your strengths" thing, but my daughter is the type who is good at everything she tries, and my son has to really struggle with things. So it's more peaceful to separate everyone out. More work on me, but more peaceful overall.

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What curriculum for LA do you use for your Aspie if I may ask?

 

Dawn

 

I had to completely separate my Aspie from his younger sister - he does his work in his bedroom at a desk, and my daughter does her work at her desk in the kitchen. We no longer do any subjects together, and they use completely different books for school.

 

We tried the "you each have your strengths" thing, but my daughter is the type who is good at everything she tries, and my son has to really struggle with things. So it's more peaceful to separate everyone out. More work on me, but more peaceful overall.

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What curriculum for LA do you use for your Aspie if I may ask?

 

Dawn

 

 

The only grammar that has worked for him is Junior Analytical Grammar/Analytical Grammar. I spread it out though, so that there's not so much work in any given day, and because he needs constant review so he doesn't lose concepts.

 

We are still looking for a writing program for him. I tried IEW but he was probably too young for it. That was pre-diagnosis, and I was trying desperately to make him be "on grade level". It may be that it would work better now that he's older and a little better with flexible thinking. We couldn't even make it out of the keyword outlines because he didn't understand "important" words. Can't tell you how many times he chose "the" or "a" as one of his 3 words in a sentence. :(

 

I am going to buy the essay and paper writing programs that Analytical Grammar sells. They are inexpensive and her style seems to work for my son. I'd really like him to be able to write an essay by the time he begins his 'high school' in 2011.

 

As for spelling and vocabulary, I use studied dictation and we discuss vocabulary in his reading. I have tried workbooks over and over and over, but he just doesn't generalize the information from those. We tried Apples at the beginning of this year and he would do all the pages correctly and then misspell the same word in his written narration the very same day.

 

He has language processing problems and his vocabulary is fairly low, but I'm going to try to pull vocabulary out of his reading each week and work on that with him. It's a lot of work, though, but it will be worth it if it helps. He only just realized within the last year or two that you shouldn't just skip over words you don't understand, that there is meaning to be gained from reading, not just checking off a box on your assignment sheet. Just this past Sunday during church he asked me what a word meant that the pastor was using during the sermon. I just about stood up and shouted hallelujiah!! ;) It's my own fault that he saw reading that way, but that's a whole different post there! At least I learned better and haven't made that same mistake with my Autie! ;)

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I would think that separating them would be helpful while they do their school work. And when you go over their work with them.. do each child separately so the other doesn't overhear. I would think using different curriculum for them would be harder for them to compare each other.

 

Thankfully we don't have much competition between our kids, even between our twins. We have more of it coming from our 10yr old who wants to do everything his 14 yr old siblings do. I think this is typical of younger siblings though. The competition thing we started trying to avoid from early on... our twins are our first borns and we read about some twins would get very competitive and jealous of the other. So from day one we tried hard to avoid that competition. The one thing we focused on was that they are individuals and have their own lives to live. We stress that everyone has strengths and weaknesses and that no one is the exact same. We try to focus on improving their strengths and weaknesses based upon themselves and not compare to anyone else. That as long as they are making progress then they are doing well.

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It is the same at our house :grouphug:.

 

I am now mostly separating for every subject. I do have to hand-hold almost every subject for ds making it difficult to schedule time for the others. I am looking into more independent studies for them so that they are not waiting around for me while ds and I go over something. I am also working with ds to be more independent, but whew! That is an ongoing project!

 

I think that I am going to spend the next week making a strict schedule in the hopes I can have more time with the others. I also want to let them choose an elective that no one else does, so there can at least some place where there is no competition.

 

It's a lot of work, a lot of planning.

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The only grammar that has worked for him is Junior Analytical Grammar/Analytical Grammar. I spread it out though, so that there's not so much work in any given day, and because he needs constant review so he doesn't lose concepts.

 

We are still looking for a writing program for him. I tried IEW but he was probably too young for it. That was pre-diagnosis, and I was trying desperately to make him be "on grade level". It may be that it would work better now that he's older and a little better with flexible thinking. We couldn't even make it out of the keyword outlines because he didn't understand "important" words. Can't tell you how many times he chose "the" or "a" as one of his 3 words in a sentence. :(

 

I am going to buy the essay and paper writing programs that Analytical Grammar sells. They are inexpensive and her style seems to work for my son. I'd really like him to be able to write an essay by the time he begins his 'high school' in 2011.

 

As for spelling and vocabulary, I use studied dictation and we discuss vocabulary in his reading. I have tried workbooks over and over and over, but he just doesn't generalize the information from those. We tried Apples at the beginning of this year and he would do all the pages correctly and then misspell the same word in his written narration the very same day.

 

He has language processing problems and his vocabulary is fairly low, but I'm going to try to pull vocabulary out of his reading each week and work on that with him. It's a lot of work, though, but it will be worth it if it helps. He only just realized within the last year or two that you shouldn't just skip over words you don't understand, that there is meaning to be gained from reading, not just checking off a box on your assignment sheet. Just this past Sunday during church he asked me what a word meant that the pastor was using during the sermon. I just about stood up and shouted hallelujiah!! ;) It's my own fault that he saw reading that way, but that's a whole different post there! At least I learned better and haven't made that same mistake with my Autie! ;)

 

Your post made me giggle. I've tried periodically for years and years to get my ds to see the point of a dictionary. He has always had a very precocious vocabulary--to the point where people comment on it to him, which isn't very helpful. He has not come across many words that he doesn't already know, somehow, by osmosis, even if he doesn't pronounce it properly all the time. He also has very good decoding skills, and good comprehension of what he reads. Of course, he can't carry on a normal conversation (classic Aspie encyclopedia-speech), and forget getting him to write more than a 5 word sentence or two that sounds like Dick and Jane. But I wanted him to at least know HOW to look things up in a dictionary. I've never been able to get him to sit through an explanation beyond 'this is a dictionary, it has definitions of words, and the words are in alphabetical order' -- if that much. Over Christmas break, though, he has been reading a library book with short summaries of crimes that were solved through forensic science. It's written very much for an adult audience, and uses a lot of big words and technical terms. After he'd asked me what a couple of words meant, I decided maybe it would behoove me to try again with the dictionary thing. I'd bought him a pocket dictionary and thesaurus at the beginning of the school year (mostly because I wanted to feel like I'd made the effort of having the resources handy at his study station than because I thought he'd actually use them), so I dug out the little dictionary and showed him how to look up the next word he asked about. He still gave me the blow-off, but not until I'd managed to point out guide words at the tops of the pages and how useful they were in finding the word we were looking for. He, of course, got that exasperated here-we-go-again look on his face, listened until I finished reading the first definition of the word he'd asked about, interrupted to tell me he was going to go read up in his room, and disappeared. You might imagine my amazement, then, when about 15 minutes later he reappeared, and pleasantly asked, "Hey Mom, where'd you put that dictionary you were using?" I handed it to him, and he vanished up the stairs again. Two days later I went in his room, and beside his bed were the library book and the dictionary, laid neatly out next to each other (evenly spaced, and precisely parallel). He even commented on how handy a dictionary could be.

 

So I can relate to wanting to shout hallelujah...lol.

Edited by MamaSheep
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Thanks all. It just isn't feasable to separate the kids for school work right now.

 

I posted this after a particular problem yesterday and hope to work on the way I present things in the future.

 

Today was much better.

 

We are using CLE and so far, it has worked out fine. My Aspie LOVES grammar! Patterns, rules, logic.....but writing, spelling, and reading are frustrating.

 

I am actually planning to use CLE for even more subjects in the near future. My vision for Classic Education and Literature based schooling has just caused far more frustration than it has learning. It is just not the way my BOYS are bent. I will still incorporate a lot of good literature, but I vowed not to do workbooks in *MY* homeschool......and here we are incorporating more and more workbooks!

 

Dawn

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. I will still incorporate a lot of good literature, but I vowed not to do workbooks in *MY* homeschool......and here we are incorporating more and more workbooks!

 

Dawn

 

It's okay Dawn...if there's one thing we all learn, it's that what we were "never" going to do is sometimes the best way to do it for our children! HA!

 

Kelly

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My former post was somewhat off topic, for which I apologize, Dawn. Your questions touch on some things that have been churning around in my heart and mind recently too.

 

My Aspie is 12, and all over the place level-wise; I would even say his performance level varies not only from subject to subject, but from day to day depending on his mood, whether he's had his meds, how much sleep he's had, what he had for breakfast...I'm sure you know the drill. Writing is the worst, reading is the best. We're still working through a lot of emotional issues about learning in general, and certain quirky specifics, that he picked up at school back in the days I thought experts could do better, and that is frustrating.

 

His little sister is 7. This is her first year home with us after doing K and 1st grade at the neighborhood school. She has been lagging a little in reading and writing (longish story involving new teachers and undiagnosed ADHD), but is doing steadily better with more 1 on 1 instruction at home this year. Looking down the road a little I can see that it's not as long as I'd like it to be before we get to the point where she begins to surpass him in some areas. I am not sure how they're going to react when we get there. How will she feel about getting writing assignments that are twice as long as what I'm asking from her brother who is 5 years older? How will he feel about getting assignments that are not as advanced as his baby sister's? Will it motivate him to do better? Will it convince him he's hopeless? Will she lose some respect for him? (Probably, I'm seeing the beginnings of this already.) Will she make fun of him? (I don't think so based on past behavior and her generally sunshiney, friendly, caring disposition--ds is really blessed in that, even if he doesn't recognize it. I wonder if he will be able to develop the humility to be able to cheer her accomplishments where they exceed his. Because in some areas they will. Soon. Right now they're doing ok with the "everyone has different strengths" bit, but they are both nearing ages/ability levels where they will have to develop a more nuanced way of looking at, and dealing with one another. I wish I knew what that would look like. They're both good people, at core, and I trust them and God to work it out eventually, but I think there could be a few awkward years in there while they have a shift in the dynamics of their relationship, especially in who is the caretaker versus the caretake-ee. This is uncharted territory for me too, and I find it a bit unnerving.

 

I wish I had answers, but I find I'm in the same boat (or nearly so) bailing water.

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I don't have any children of my own who are on the ASD spectrum, but I am a homeschooling mom and I work as an Autism Specialist on the side (special ed background and former full time Autism Specialist.) Happened upon your thread. I hope you don't mind if I offer my 2 cents.

 

I would recommend you start with doing lots of self awareness with your child who has Asperger's re: his diagnosis. Starting where you have with his gifts and talents, then working towards explaining his challenges and why in light of his diagnosis. They really need this information explained to them to sort through all the issues it entails. His age is a good time to start because by the time they are in their teens you want to be working on good self advocacy skills. Self advocacy is very difficult to do if they don't have a handle on self awareness. Most of the time, I find that this process is started way too late often because parents feel the child will use it to manipulate or as a crutch. This is rarely case, especially when presented to them in the right manner. There are some great resources out there to help with this.

 

I noticed some of the other replies mentioned balancing time. First off, my hat goes off to all of you, because I can't imagine the immensity and intensity of the challenges in this area as I have them with my own neurotypical dc. Improving independence can go a long way with the implementation of lots (tons) of visual supports, and visual strategies for information and organization (i.e. written schedules, written cues and prompts, "the work boxes" approach which is simply a very visually oriented and concrete organizational system.) Parents get really good at this and often will do it naturally out of necessity without even knowing they are doing it. But to meaningfully plan it and give purpose to it is key. The temptation is always to wean them away from these supports. Do not do this. Independence means that we are able to utilize the supports required and to blend them into their daily routines. Visual supports and organization are to a person with ASD the equivalent of someone who wears glasses or hearing aids.

 

I probably haven't offered anything new here, but thought I would add it in case someone finds it useful.

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Most of the time, I find that this process is started way too late often because parents feel the child will use it to manipulate or as a crutch. This is rarely case, especially when presented to them in the right manner. There are some great resources out there to help with this.

 

.

 

This was a very helpful post for me, thank you! can you elaborate on self-awareness and also mention the specific resources? (OP, if you would rather I post this in another thread I would be happy to; I don't mean to be a hijacker!)

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